Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IX). Specialized Areas Workshop

Notes from the Fourth IPID ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium 2009, held in the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, United Kingdom, on September 11-12th, 2009. More notes on this event: ict4d_symposium_2009.

Specialized Areas Workshop
Chairs: Åke Grönlund

What’s “for Development”? Isn’t everything for the development of a community or the world as a whole? Is it “for Development” only what happens in developing countries?

On the other hand, development has to necessarily rely on institutional support and adoption. Though it can be initiated and even fostered bottom-up, governments have to acknowledge and, lastly, actively support any initiative that wants to last and have a long term impact.

Thus, institutional reform is necessary… though it is normally slow everywhere, specially in developing countries.


Social sciences should be providing feedback to Computer Scientists on how things work and how they are used. This means not only providing information about the impact, but taking part in the design itself, to feed innovation back.

We could say that ICT4D is to developing countries what e-Commerce is to the developed world. But e-Commerce is a quickly changing “discipline”: if it’s in a handbook, it’s outdated. So, trying to build relevant and useful content on ICT4D is difficult, as it will soon be outdated too. That’s one of the reasons IT researchers and social scientists just seldom come together in the needs and the solutions.

One of the priorities of developing countries’ governments, is how to make money out of ICTs. So we have to be aware of the priorities, which normally are not that people participate more or have better access to government services.

ICT4D is a means to understand societies and cultures and how they will be using ICTs.

There is a need to go multidisciplinary and try and understand others’ points of view and, more important, to learn something about others’ disciplines, so that mutual understanding happens in a easier way.

We should be able to make money out of some e-whatever projects, so that they are seen useful and, at the same time, to make them sustainable. On the other hand, this is usually a high priority for people in developing countries. For this to happen, some capacity building and digital capabilities development would also be a high priority goal.

Three economic approaches to ICT4D:

  • make money locally, enable cash sources: this is what local beneficiaries want
  • be cost effective, efficiency, efficacy, specially in Health, Government/Democracy and Education: this is normally the agenda of Development Studies
  • ICT sector for international commerce (leapfroggers): which might have or might have not an impact in the domestic economy (but only benefit the plutocracy)


Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2009)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “Fourth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IX). Specialized Areas Workshop” In ICTlogy, #72, September 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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