Conclusion: Tying it all together
By Teaching Fellows Nandan Kamath, Urs Gasser, Isabel
Neto and Rebecca Brackley
The Million-Dollar Question
Time To Share
After four weeks of reading and discussion on ICTs and
Development, you are now familiar with some of the theoretical and practical
issues involved in current initiatives [Architecture, Entrepreneurship,
Learning and Policy].
While there have been some unavoidable, often necessary,
overlaps between the contents of the previous modules, we have largely
attempted to keep each of those modules distinct, for the sake of simplicity.
Now, it is time to understand how these work in relation
to each other. Are the various broad approaches complementary or exclusive?
Does one category of initiative diminish the need for another? Do we
need to pursue any of them with greater urgency? Are some better conceived
of as longer-term approaches rather than near-term ones? What evaluative
framework may we use to prioritize approaches and initiatives?
Unfortunately, the real world gives us little luxury to
experiment. We are unable to pursue every promising initiative that
appears to have some potential; many unavoidable tradeoffs have to be
made in view of limited resources and difficult financial allocation
decisions. Sometimes, the decisions will be made for well-understood
reasons, with empirical data and information as backing. At other times,
tough choices need to be made with little background information; both
theoretical understandings and a well-honed instinct are important weapons
in a decision-makers armory.
In this interactive, concluding, module, we hope to introduce
you to some of these complexities and decision-making processes. First,
we will guide you through a case study. You will role-play as the President
of a developing country who has to make financial allocation decisions
for the country’s forthcoming ICT development strategy. You will
be given background information as well as briefings from various local
ministries. How will you make these decisions and what reasons will
you give to support them? What do you think is the way forward for your
country? This is our figurative “Million-Dollar Question”.
Once you are done with your decision, we will conclude
the series with what we consider one of its most valuable components.
Each of you will be given the opportunity to share your personal and
professional experience with the rest of the BOLD community. We would
like to invite you to write about a particular “ICT for Development”
project that you are involved in, know about, or have recently learnt
something about. We will use the H2O discussion software so that discussion
of your chosen initiative is fostered and encouraged. We hope this will
provide all of us with the opportunity to learn more about the various
initiatives being undertaken all over the world, at a time when much
is to be gained from working together on issues and problems that we
all care about.
Read the DOT Force “Report
Listen to Jonathan
Zittrain's summary of the discussion in this
audio clip (or read a transcript here).
Click here for a couple of
The Million-Dollar Question:
You are Veri Bold, the newly elected President of the
Democratic Republic of Berkmania and you have an important decision
To continue, click here.
Time to share:
up for the H20 discussion group (if not already signed up earlier
in this series). Once you are registered, you will receive notification
when it is time to respond to the following questions.
Share any “ICT for Development” project that YOU have either
been involved in or heard/read about. (Please feel free to select any
of the projects we have discussed or mentioned during the series if
you need some inspiration).
What are the contours of the project? What are its aims
and objectives, and how is it working to achieve them? Are you impressed
by the project and do you believe in its approach? If so, why? If not,
Could you place this project in the context of the approaches this Series
What are the complementary projects, if any, that the success of your
chosen project relies on?
What are the legal, political and cultural hurdles that have been overcome
and still need to be overcome for the success of the project?
Has this series made you reassess the goals and approach of this project?
If so, how?
Do you have any constructive suggestions to make to those running this
Suggested length: 750 to 1000 words (with only 2 rounds