foreverloops – making music with gears

Is it a game? Is it an application? Is it an instrument? A tool maybe? … Well everyone of these answers might be right.
Another question: What is the connection between gears and music?
In this case the answer is simple: foreverloops.

The interface of foreverloops

In September i met Ulrich from foreverloops at the “Play Austria” fair in Vienna. After talking to several exhibitors and game developers, after hours of playing i felt the need to end my visit. One last game caught my eye, at least it seemed to be a game at the first glance. It was the beginning of a really nice half hour of playing and talking to Ulrich, one of two programmers of foreverloops. We decided to stay in contact for a potential workshop.

This workshop took place last week in the Kulturzentrum of “Flucht nach Vorn” in Vienna. We invited young refugees to participate and to spend a few hours of playful beat producing together. Our friend and ICT4D.at member Chloé was also part of the fun. The setting reminded me of a LAN party: One big table with laptops, concentrated facial expressions, headphones. Ulrich and i gave a short introduction about the functions and features. It only took us a few minutes to explain the basics. When you try out foreverloops yourself you know why: It is by all means playful and it is of utmost fun to discover the variety of beats and possibilities on your own. After the first hour we already saw quite complex gear systems on each screen. Ulrich showed some tricks during a coffee break for the participants to dig even deeper into the world of drum’n’gears (might this become the newest genre in the pop music industry?).
What particularly fascinates me of foreverloops is that you can build very complex gear systems with totally simple methods. The concept of loops and adding sound sample after sound sample works almost immediately without reading a handbook or playing an annoying tutorial. You can create very short loops but it is also possible to build really big pieces of music that go on for hours and hours before looping for the first time. Ulrich said that even he doesn’t know by far all the possibilities of this gear system. Fascinating!
Another cool feature is that you can produce even visuals in an intuitive way. Just use video or picture samples out of the sample library. Or use your own music and video pieces. A true source of neverending inspiration for hobby and professional musicians. As well as a potential tool to do awesome live art performances… I admit it…i became a real fan boy.

In the end we presented the brand new creations with a projector and quite powerful speakers. It was great to hear and see all those different audiovisual pieces: Some sounded happy, some dark, some fast, some slow…in a feedback round we discovered that people can use foreverloops as a powerful way to express feelings or dreams. And we all agreed that it is just fun to play with gears to make music.

Thank you Ulrich and Marlene from foreverloops! You brought a wonderful new tool into this world. I hope many will discover your work in the future.

You can get foreverloops via Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/725610/foreverloops/

Or take a look at the youtube channel first:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWZcM997e6oae9iGfJu2lOw

Have fun!

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foreverloops – making music with gears
was published on 18.12.2017 by Georg Steinfelder. It files under Europe
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Erase all kittens! – spending quality time at the European Youth Award Festival 2017

I am no newbie to the EYA. Four years ago Paul, me and two friends of us won the Award in the category “Go Green” with our App/Game Woody. So i already knew the organising team and over the years we kept contact. I was a juror in 2016 for the first time and it was so much fun that i was looking forward to do it again this year…

In my last post i talked about our network as a small and stable yet dynamic family. I can find many of these qualities in the community of the EYA. Although in a different way. It is large and shrill and posh and everyone seems to be busy being the next big Start-Up CEO. In an interesting workshop, conducted by two wonderful friends from Syria, my group amongst others noticed that we all lack a significant resource: Time. For ourselves.
I want to compare the well organised and tight festival program with a river steadily and strongly flowing. Sometimes you can find people floating next to you at the same velocity. I had many such encounters throughout the last two days. And although it sounds stressful, in fact it has always been energetic and pleasurable. As well interesting and demanding. Personal background stories mixed up with social business models. Example: My dear friend Attila and i just met again after one year and had to catch up in a 10 minute coffee break which ended up having a conversation about how the factor “efficiency” can affect design in a very negative way. When the bell rang we were still standing in line for coffee but almost forgot the river running towards the next workshop.

In the afternoon the winning teams presented their projects to the jury and the festival audience. After last year’s experience i knew in advance that our mission to choose the overall winner would not be easy. The rules for each contestant: exactly 3 minutes of presentation time and 3 minutes of Q&A by the jury. 17 projects and about 2 hours later we were all pretty much filled up with inspiring ideas … and we were exhausted. The contestants were free to spend a nice evening in Graz. For the jury the work just started at that point. At around 11pm and after a we discussed the presentations and projects we finally elected the overall winner.

The winning teams and the moderators of the EYA 2017

“Erase All Kittens” confused with it’s name but also won the hearts of many people in the jury and the audience immediately. As they state on their website: “E.A.K. is a revolutionary, online game that provides kids aged 8-14 with knowledge of both computational thinking and professional coding languages, to effectively prepare them for 21st Century degrees and careers.” Not only it was clearly the most innovative project but it was also the best presentation: I had no struggle at all to understand the concept and their goals within the 3 minutes (almost no questions needed). It amazes me how the team combines the logic process of coding with the ease of playing a fun game about kittens.

Here are the winning teams of the 9 different categories.

Erase All Kittens is the EYA overall winner 2017

In a big evening ceremony on the next day the winning teams were honored by officials and celebrated themselves afterwards. We all know how important partying and dancing is. Sometimes it feels like shaking of the weights of hard work. Especially after so many hours of conceptualizing, creating, designing, coding, calculating, marketing etc. I congratulate and thank the teams and the organisers for making it once more a special experience!

The European Youth Award is a wonderful source of inspiration and gives insights into the young social entrepreneur and start-up scene. At ICT4D.at it is nice and helpful to be part of this international network. I talked to several people about our work as an NGO and there might emerge collaborations in the future. What i definitely know though is that i will be happy to spend some quality time at the EYA again next year.

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Erase all kittens! – spending quality time at the European Youth Award Festival 2017
was published on 03.12.2017 by Georg Steinfelder. It files under eastern and central europe, Europe, global, middle east and north africa
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News from #ketascomobile

Our member Margarete Grimus, together with Michael Pollak, a student from UT Vienna, is back in Ghana right now, following up on her previous two workshops at Keta Senior High Technical School. Here’s the links to posts about the two workshops:

This time, Margarete is (more…)

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News from #ketascomobile
was published on 20.06.2014 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo

The ICT4DMZ project is now running quite a while and after three amazing weeks in Maputo we are one big step further to reach our goals. Philipp and I (Paul Spiesberger) tried to bring the students of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo on the right track.

In more than eight workshops we gave them the tools and the knowledge to start programming for their projects. At the beginning we tried to find out on which level their skills are and what we can expect. From that point on we knew that we will have to give them a short introduction to modern software development in a team as well. Up to that day the students were exchanging code with Dropbox and they had almost no structure or/and organisation for their teamwork. At that time we were glad that Florian and Anders did great work a few months ago. They helped them with team roles and project documentation a lot. So it was not necessary to cover that important part too. In order to give them an easy tool to handle their code and the organisation of their projects, we introduced them to GIT and Bitbucket. The students were impressed by the GIT workshop and we were happy to see over the next days that some of them were porting their “Dropbox projects” to their new GIT repositories. Working with Bitbucket-Issues was not that successful at the beginning, but we are sure that this will change over time. From that point on we were ready for programming and we split up the group by the two projects:

Complaint Center

The goal of this project is to create a website which can handle complaints about a company or a product. It should gather information or feedback and help to improve their services. Philipp started with a short tutorial about the PlayFramework and helped to set everything up. After that he assisted with his expertise as much as he could.

Philipp with students

FindUEM

The other group is working on an Android app for students to find POI like lecture rooms, Wifi hotspots or public power plugs at the UEM campus. I started to teach them the basics of Android programming and helped them to set up the project. Since Java programming and developing for Android are quite different, it took a little bit longer to write the first line of code. I tried to explain step by step the important parts and assisted as much as I could.

Paul with students

In total we worked about 27 hours in three weeks with the students. We had some troubles finding the right time slots for all students, since they had different time schedules during their weeks. Especially at the beginning we did some workshops twice, so no one missed the introductions to the technologies. After that, not all students attended to our workshops all the time, but we were never alone.

From now on, we will assist via Skype and e-mail remotely from Austria. We have a good feeling for the outgoing of the projects and hopefully the students keep engaged in the next months as they were during our workshops.

Group picture UEM

During our stay we also helped the UEM to use Moodle for a first test run. We hope that in the future this modern way of IT supported teaching will be expanded to other lectures and faculties to strengthen the teaching abilities at the UEM.

In addition Philipp and I were working hard on our master thesis. Philipp is doing research on big data for emerging countries and for that he conducted some expert interviews. I am interested in user interface design for mobile devices in emerging countries like Mozambique. So I did a survey with students to find out their mobile phone usage and habits.

Of course we also found time to travel and to take a look at this beautiful country. When you talk to people in Mozambique, experience the beautiful landscape and take the time to look behind the curtain, then you get the feeling that this country is moving fast forward. The question is in which direction. The currently discovered massive resources (minerals, oil, gas) can have a positive or a negative impact to the society. There is also a new party growing really fast and it is gaining more and more influence. In the last few months the country was almost slipping into a new civil war. But one week before we arrived, they managed to find a compromise and elections are going to happen in the future. But I think that despite the fact of great poverty, corruption and the lack of education, Mozambique has the ability to find the way to a great and rich future.

3 women

Last but not least I would like to say thank you to Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin. We are lucky to have this partner and friends in Maputo, who are willing to share their valuable time and love with us. Also a big thank you to the students for their great effort and time!

Philipp and I are excited to continue the work and we are looking forward to meeting our friends in Maputo again.

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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo
was published on 03.03.2014 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Keta Project Continued – Second Workshop in Ghana

As proposed after the successful workshop at KETASCO last year (see
http://ict4d.at/2012/10/06/keta-project-looking-back/) a follow up workshop on the topic “Learning and Teaching with Digital Technology had taken place in September 2013 in Keta. The school is still growing and hosts now about 2.800 students, another 15 classes in a new block open next year.

The second workshop focused on development of content for mobile learning with teachers and students and was scheduled for three weeks from 9th to 28th September 2013. The aim was to offer a chance for students to access learning material on their own mobile phones whenever they need it and to produce content particular to local demands:

Schedule: two weeks teacher training and a third week teamwork of teachers and students. Topics of the workshop:

  • Development of locally relevant digitized content and upload to mobile phones. Test and peer-review
  • Use of a Dropbox for feedback and reviews. (possibilities. benefits and challenges)
  • Creation of a personal digital portfolio.
  • Didactical methods: Evaluation of digital learning material e.g. Open Content, OER.
  • Guidelines for Best practice: Mobile phones for learning’.

Initially 20 teachers registered; finally 14 fulfilled the requirements for a certificate. During the third week 13 students participated. For testing 20 mobile phones (Nokia E5-00 smartphone with MicroSDHC 2GB inbox) and 5 eReader (TrekSTor E-Book Reader Pyrus mini, 4,3” Digital Ink) were brought from Europe, together with an additional WLAN router to
support mobile Internet access. Noah, an ICT student of KETASCO assisted in technical and organizational aspects, his
support was highly appreciated and contributed to the success of the workshop.

Students were introduced by teachers in creating a digital portfolio and use of a drop-box. Together they created courses for specific subjects and topics:

  • Social Studies: Adolescence Pregnancy
  • Social Studies: Adolesence Chastity
  • Physics: Projectiles
  • Physics: Atom Physics, Basics
  • English Language: Nouns
  • ICT: Classification of Computer Hardware
  • Business Studies: Law of agency
  • Graphics and Art: Elements of Design
  • Chemistry: Inter Atomic Bonds
  • Economics: Demand
  • Mathematics: SET Theory

The courses were presented from a student accompanied by teacher to the auditorium. Finally four external examiners
(teachers from other SHSS) approved the success of the workshop and the quality of the developed material. They gave feedback to the participants in the three categories:

  • Teachers’ Portfolios (evaluation of reports, structure, achieved learning outcomes, keywords, take home statements, summary
  • Content of developed Courseunits (micro-content) developed by teachers and students units (small groups, 1-2 teachers+ 1-2 students). Assessment of course-structure, -design, suitable for small screens, visualization/images. Output as epub and pdf.
  • Guidelines for good practice, posters. The assessment checked on completedness of relevant facts and if the take in account needs of both parts (teachers and students) to gain better acceptance

Challenges were seen in the frequent power outages, which impair the work in the computerlab. Noah is also the tutor of a team working on robotics. They prepare to participate in a comettion on robotics.

Outcome:

The second workshop led to a better understanding of the issue of mobile devices for learning than theoretical statements A similar acceptance was found in the interview with the headmaster. Teamwork with students offered new insights as well for teachers as for students and can be recognized as a basis for further developments in
teaching and learning. Teachers were encouraged to pass their learned skills on to students and colleagues afterwards.

In the opening ceremony the headmaster reported to all students and teachers about the new trends coming up in education. He addressed that this could help to become critical thinkers, referred to new didactical methods and benefits by integrating mobile devices in learning and teaching. He proposed a reform of the guidelines for the use of mobile devices at school. 14 teachers were handed over their certificates of successful completion of the workshops. Finally 4 laptops from Austrian donors were handed to the school to benefit students and teachers in the new built library.

We hope that the expertise gained in the workshops will affect further developments.

Publications of the project in international journals:

Grimus, M., Ebner, M., Holzinger, A. 2013a. Mobile Learning as a chance to enhance education in developing
countries – in the example of Ghana. In: mLearn 2012 Conference Proceedings. Specht, M., Sharples, M.,
Multisittla, J. (Ed.), Helsinki, Finland, p. 340-345, ISSN 1613-073, Volume 955, http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-955/

Grimus, M. and Ebner, M. 2013b. M-Learning in Sub Saharan Africa Context- What is it about. In . Jan
Herrington et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and
Telecommunications 2013 (pp. 2028-2033). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved 28.10. 2013 from
http://www.editlib.org/p/112251.

Acknowledgments:

The support to the Workshops with mobile devices (mobile phones and laptops) and the provided prices have contributed a lot to the success of the project. This is why I would like to thank Mr. Tom Trauner for assembling of the phones and the donation of lot of material. My thanks address also the Austrian Computer Society which supported the project with pen drives, T-shirts and caps. Many thanks to the anonymous donators who supported the project with laptops via mediation of Dr. Baumer.

Particularly I would want to thank my mentor, Univ. Prof. Dr. Martin Ebner of the University of Technology Graz, who helps me any time with advice and suggestions; his contributions benefit a lot to the success of the project.

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Keta Project Continued – Second Workshop in Ghana
was published on 20.11.2013 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Aftermath

Last Wednesday the World Bank eDevelopment Thematic Group held a workshop on “The Singapore Experience” – how the small country Singapore achieved the transformation to become economically that successful and one of the countries with the most government services accessible by mobile phone or internet.

The notes from the different speakers can be accessed under the following links:

The reason for the whole eTransformation was the desire to attract foreign investment on the one hand, and the will to foster public construction to provide public housing for the citizens. This led to improvements in regulations and the attempt in many sectors to hide the complexity of the government bureaucracy away from the individuals and companies, providing the services of many agencies on an online platform.

The speakers came mostly from the private sector, as Singapore managed its transformation mostly by forming public-private partnerships, with companies providing government services. These companies have gained a lot of experience now, and also consult other nations all over the world on their strategy to implement eServices.

One key aspect of Singapore’s eTransformation was the presence of a long term vision concerning ICT which was in place for 20 years already. The vision was created with changes in technology and administration processes in mind – so these changes didn’t render the vision useless, but were rather absorbed by it.

Another substantial point in Singapore’s eTransformation process was the persistent work with all stakeholders to have everybody on the “same page” of the process. The different agencies involved in the provided services were trained to implement ICT and to share data digitally.

All in all the event gave a complete and interesting insight into the development of the ICT strategy of Singapore and showcased a role model for other nations aiming to focus on the provision of eServices to their citizens. Also it was encouraging to hear about Singapore’s interests in helping and supporting other nations.

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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Aftermath
was published on 08.10.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Part 2

Notes from the World Bank eDevelopment Thematic Group workshop on “The Singapore Experience on 30 September in Washington DC.

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Participants of the workshopSharing on Government Transformation by Crimsonlogic Pte Ltd

Topic: eGovernance to yield greater socio-economic impact

Speaker: Mr. TAN Sian Lip, Vice President

Public private partnership company

  • built by Singapore government
  • run as a private company
  • providing government services

Singapore Trade Facilitation Journey

On the last 20 years

  • Almost everybody in the trade-sector changed their technology
  • Administrative roles changed in the last 20 years
  • The public didn’t experience any change

Tradenet

  • Harmonizing trade admission procedures for companies evolved
  • “TradeNet -World’s First Nationwide Electronic Data Interchange System”
  • Minimizing processing time for admission to 1 minute
  • there exist 2 business case studies, it has been well documented
  • many international partnerships, facilitating trade on ports worldwide

Singapore eJudiciary

LawNet

  • Platform for processing legal information
  • Keeping data digital
  • Less hardcopies
  • Higher clearance rate
  • Cases take shorter time
  • Transparency through online availability of cases
  • good rating in international comparison

Lessons learnt – Principles of eGovernment

  • The application of IT to transform the way governments work, to make them friendlier and more effective
  • It is not (just) a large portfolio of technology projects
  • It is a large ongoing program of activities involving public administrators and technologists in rethinking how government & the public can work together, and then applying technology to effect the changes

Infrastructure: e-things change all the time, there is always something better

  • you should plan carefully so that changes don’t destroy your system, but can be absorbed

Constraints:

  • There are never enough resources to design & build all possible eServices

It’s important to build the eServices which have the biggest impact on citizens and business

Partnerships between governments and private companies in developing and implementing services on a risk-and investment-sharing basis

Q & A:

Is there a legalframework for exchangig data online?

  • electronic transactions act – very broad
  • Computer misuse act
  • In Singapore PKI is not so common
  • Electronic banking has existed for years and transactions not signed with PKI

Participants of the workshopIs there competition for IDA in Singapore?

  • yes, there is international competition, other companies are bidding for contracts too, but so far no success

Who selects what applications have the highest impact on citizens and businesses?

  • The specific agencies decide what the governmental agenda should be
  • Then they have to fight for the budget

Common components for eServices?

  • Governance is primary
  • Architecture is handmade into it
  • Basic network, basic logging mechanism, web service gateways, portal infrastructure should be common

.

Sharing on Government Transformation by NCS Pte Ltd

Topic: Effective Development – Why is there a need for Public Services Infrastructure (PSi)

Speaker: Mr. NG Beng Lim, General Manager

Company: NCS – national computer system

  • providing government services

Key concerns in Singapore:

  • economic growth
  • education
  • utilization of resources
  • making society a better place
  • how to use IT to promote these issues?

Areas to address:

  • governance, administration
  • services for citizens
  • integrating IT into society
  • better management of resources
  • developing economy based on IT – in the long term

Every country has to have a clear masterplan what to do with IT

  • But how to come from the masterplan to an implementation and successful rollout?

Transformation of IT during the 80s and 90s to today

  • Nowadays the prerequisites for successful eServices rollout are ideal
  • In early 2000 – government in Singapore started Public Services Infrastructure
  • Interface for people to interact with the government
  • open infrastructure to more providers – including the private sector

Public Services Infrastructure Components:

  • Government Network
  • Common Data Centre
  • Application Infrastructure
  • Common Desktop Services

Features:

  • Single sign on
  • SMS, email gateway
  • personalisation
  • service delivery framwork
  • ePayment
  • Orchestration
  • multilingual

Results:

  • PSi was started 10 years ago
  • Today: SHINE (Service Wide Hosting Environment) by NCS
  • Billing model: Subscription-based
  • Evens out peak CPU utilisation
  • SHINE: Hosting, services and storing on demand

NCS – in the mean time a lot of experience in eGovernment & National ICT Planning

Participants of the workshopQ & A:

Does the government have a centralised architecture?

  • Yes, in Singapore the government came up with a centralized infrastructure

What about security standards?

  • The IT infrastructure has to come with an own security framework already

Key objecticves in terms of consilidating the data?

  • Make people use the system
  • “Selling” tools to the ministries

Many agencies – one government. Government has to have the oversight, but agencies have to have the freedom to act on themselves.

Is there a trend for re-centralization?

  • It’s technologically possible
  • Is it possible to monitor all local spots where services are running?

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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Part 2
was published on 30.09.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Part 1

Notes from the World Bank eDevelopment Thematic Group workshop on “The Singapore Experience on 30 September in Washington DC.

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Workshop participantsWelcome Remarks by Mr. Deepak Bhatia, Lead ICT Policy Specialist, GICT and Ms. Angela PNG, Deputy Director of International Organisation, International Enterprise Singapore

Knowledge sharing event – how Singapore became a leader in eGovernment

Singapore ranked first in eGovernment ranking in four consecutive years, global competitiveness index: 3rd

One factor for that – policy to utilize ICTs in national development

A lot of problems to overcome – e.g. technophobia

Today: ICT masterplan, holistic

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Opening Remarks by Mr. Sun Vithespongse, Southeast Asia Executive Director and Mr. Mohsen Khalil, Director, Global ICT Department (TBC)

Singapore:

  • small country with no resources
  • therefore it has to be developed in ICTs to become efficient

World Bank group is the biggest sponsor in eGovernment – and has experiences large successes

World Bank should keep on the work, despite the financial crisis

Development in the industry

  • a lot of innovation is happening in the developing world
  • south-to-north and south-to-south developments

What can ICTs be useful for?

  • Powerful transformation forces turning around the way we do business

The integral structure of of governement and important private sectors and their cooperation is very important

Harnessing the power of ICTs is a government and behavioural issue – rather than a technological issue

.

Sharing on Government Transformation by IDA International

Topic: Singapore’s ICT Journey – The Past 30 years and the Next 5 years.

Speaker: Mr. YEONG Wee Tan, Deputy Director

ICT sector in Singapore

  • 40 bn US$
  • 140 000 IT professionals

Six national ICT plans

  • Computerisation
  • Communication
  • Connectivity
  • Convergence
  • Connectedness
  • Creation

It’s necessary to start a dialog on learned lessons – between Singapore and the other nations

Workshop participantsA lot of working with foreign agencies

IDA International – Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

  • partnering with other governments, sharing lessons of Singapore and advising them
  • not a vendor
  • living their lessons
  • helping to integrate ICTs

Sharing lessons on different levels

  • Infrastructure
  • Human capacity – The countries need to have sustainable human capital to carry on with their policies
  • Industry and Government
  • Governance – which legal framework is necessary
  • Outcomes – What are the aims?

Within 15 minutes you can register a Singaporian company around the world

GrBiz – Government to Business open platform

We want to get people used to make everything “e”

  • There are 200 government services available on a handheld in Singapore
  • Also as a tourist you get all these services available
  • A lot of learning devices for schools – “Future schools in Singapore” – to be on the forefront of development
  • Also health care projects

Government must evolve to be an open ecosystem

Together with agencies like the World Bank we can teach also other countries how to integrate ICTs in their services and transform their operations

eTransformation can create a better world through ICT

Q & A:

Question about public trust – everything is digital now, do people trust in the system?

  • Everybody has one number – took quite a while to harmonize that
  • In the beginning of the journey there were problems, but in the mean time people have accepted it
  • There is a lot of public consultation

Infrastructure is important but education too – how to talk to ministries trying to prioritize?

Cross agency information sharing?

  • There always political trouble  – but the important point is communicate, communicate, communicate the overall goal to everbody
  • It’s important to bring the stakeholders together and convince them

What motivates Singapore for international coperation? Typical cooperation between the agency and another country?

  • One strategic plan in the Singapore ICT plan is internationalization
  • It’s also an export industry, not everything for free – but not a typical consultor, we are there to help people get on the IT journey
  • It’s important for us to give back to the world
  • We act like a trusted adviser to the government

Do you have an administrative reform plans for the country and how is it linked to the ICT plan?

  • Definitely, everything is balanced between administrative reforms, governments processes, … to have everybody on the same page, it’s still ongoing

Comments:

It’s very encouraging to see this international exchange, Singapore is currently working on a P2P portal for government transformation

Sometimes you need to break established ways of work and act outside the framework

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Workshop participantsSharing on Government Transformation by novaCITYNETS Pte Ltd

Topic: e-Transformation to a First World City

Speaker: Ms. Joyce WONG, EVP

Singapore in the 1960 had big problems – a developing country

  • GDP per capita: 427$

Several measures to overcome the situation

  • Public housing
  • Attracting foreign investment – to create jobs

Making Singapore a good place for investment

  • Infrastructure improvement – water, electricity, roads, …
  • Well thought our master plan
  • Constant reform
  • Concept plan = blueprint
  • Master plan = vision
  • Construction = concrete measures
  • Twenty years plan

A lot of construction activities

Many issues faced when dealing with construction permits from different agencies

Introduction of COREnet

  • streamline and reengineer the processes in the construction industry
  • e-submission system launched in 2001
  • business re-engineering, project design, training, industry promotion, …
  • Interface for businesses to interact with the government
  • Variety of agencies are hidden behind the online portal – single point of access
  • big success story, companies make use of it, big increase in efficiency

In 2009

  • 16 participating agencies
  • 700 application forms (2001) to 231
  • 30% improvement in turnaround time

Information on eTransformation in Sri Lanka

  • All building blocks for a strong eGovernment solution were not in place – when NCS came to rescue
  • Trying to replicate the experience of Singapore – but adapt it to the situation in Sri Lanka

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eTG workshop on The Singapore Experience – Part 1
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eDevelopment workshop on mobile innovation – Aftermath

Yesterday, 16 September, the workshop Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation: From Pilots to Scaled-up Implementation, initiated by the eDevelopment Thematic Group (eTG) of the World Bank took place.

It was already the 7th workshop we covered on our blog, Twitter and social media since we started our partnership with eTG, and the topic was especially interesting for us – considering the unique role of mobile phones in developing countries nowadays.

The workshop was split in six parts, each having as leitmotif a certain sector where mobile services are used.

There are some photos which Oleg Petrov took during the event on the ICT4D.at Flickr account.

The speakers came from various sectors – the World Bank, private and public sector, the academia and practicioners in the field.

Many of them claimed what I also already heard in several other conferences – the technology is there, now we have to focus on applications and business models. Although several successful projects were presented, there were general complaints that often such projects don’t bypass the “pilot” stage and don’t achieve sustainability. The topic of scaling projects to reach more audience and higher impact was also mentioned several times. More evaluation on impact and sharing information on failures of projects was identified as two ways to overcome this problem. Also the concept of private-public partnerships and searching strong, committed partners for implementing mobile solutions was put forward once more.

More detailed information can be found in the blog posts linked above and on Twitter. Under the hashtag #mobile09 the lively online discussion surrounding the event can be followed – several contributors gave this event quite a drive. The comments there had a more critical viewpoint on mobile phones as the big solution for all problems.

What was interesting for me personally was that obviously there is no real large scale project out there which is profitable so far. M-Pesa is the only one which scratches the border but also has trouble creating revenue. Impressive non-profit examples where projects which used mobile phones for delivering services to the poor and as enhancements in education.

So all in all the event gave a feeling that there is potential for more to come in the mobile sector and several great examples were given – but the “killer application” is obviously still to come, or maybe there’s even no need for it, because it’s so easy to set up an own, localized application.

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eDevelopment workshop on mobile innovation – Aftermath
was published on 18.09.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Notes from the Workshop on Ethics, Roles and Relationships in Interaction Design in Developing Regions

Yesterday, the workshop Ethics, Roles and Relationships in Interaction Design in Developing Regions took place in Uppsala, Sweden and around the world, as people where joining presentations and discussions online including from the UK, Madeira, and Malaysia. The workshop is part of the INTERACT2009 conference, which takes place from 24-28 August.

Eight very interesting papers were presented and discussed during the workshop. For example, Andy Dearden raised the question of how to analyse the risks of unintended consequences; Maira Carvalho investigated different approaches for designing interactive systems at a distance, where researchers don’t have access to the users; Chu Yin Wong presented a user-centred design process for developing a mobile community service addressing the deaf in Malaysia; Eugene Danilkis and Sofia Nunes presented results from their field research on mobile banking in Mozambique; Pam McLean talked about the work she is doing at Dadamac, and how this can benefit researchers.

An important issue that Ida Horner raised in her presentation, and which we have also experienced during our work in Zanzibar, was the importance of doing research in the field and familiarising yourself with the environment, before implementing anything. Ida stressed that it is particularly important to understand how communities are organised. Otherwise researchers run into conflicts before they even started.

Overall, I expected the workshop to focus more on interaction design and experiences regarding methodologies, while most of the discussions that followed each presentation focused on ethical issues, often raising high-level problems that interaction designers might not always be able to solve. These issues were also reflected by the workshop themes, but the questions that remained for me where: what is the role of interaction designers in developing regions, how is it different to their role in more traditional contexts, and what are appropriate methodologies?

An interesting discussion emerged around problem solving, which seems to be a very engineering/technology-driven approach, and whether this approach is appropriate in a developing context. Are interaction designers solving problems? And are researchers bound to only generate new knowledge and understanding, but not supposed to solve problems? Although being an academic I personally don’t completely agree on that, but maybe that is only because I always had one foot in industry projects as well. I would be interested to hear others’ opinions on this.

We also presented our paper Designing an SMS-based application for seaweed farmers in Zanzibar (and why it failed for now) at the Workshop. In this paper we discuss a project that we started, while we were in Tanzania again last year, working on the Hello Africa movie. The project described in the paper was not successful measured by our initial goals. It was successful given the insights that we gained by applying a user-centred design approach in the field. The aim of the paper is to share our conclusions of why the project failed, since we believe that many projects in an African context might experience similar challenges. Below are the slides from our presentation.

All workshop papers are available from here. Many thanks to Andy Dearden and Niall Winters for organising this event! It’s a really valuable step towards better understanding the roles and ethical issues interaction designers need to be aware of in developing contexts.

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Notes from the Workshop on Ethics, Roles and Relationships in Interaction Design in Developing Regions
was published on 25.08.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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