GlobDev Paris – Development

Notes from the workshop on Global Development, December 13 2008 in Paris.

As the sessions were always taking place parallel in two different rooms, I was only able to attend half of the tracks which is a pity as I missed many interesting talks.

Track I – Development:
Session Chair:
Don McCubbrey – University of Denver, USA

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Is it ICT “for development” or “in developing countries”?
Alllen Brown
– University of Denver, USA
In this presentation, Allen tried to “get the stake on the ground” with emprirical research to prove what everybody already thought.
There is a lot of internal critique in the area of ICT4D.
– Extrospective critique:
A lot of discussion about the gap between practitioners and researchers. Who is consuming the research we’re doing? There is a positive, western bias towards the research which is carried out.
– Introspective c.:
The ICT construct is isolated from the development construct.

Why are we questioning ourselves so much? What should be a straightforward research idea?

It seems like there are two different approaches:
One is, that ICT4D is ICT “for development”. The other, that ICT4D is ICT “in developing countries”.
To find out where the focues of current research lies, a landscape study was applied.
The factors:
1. link ICT – development
2. Cross cultureal implications
3. Local adaption
4. Development of marginal groups

In 1 and 4 there’s articles with a dependent variable connecting technology and development.
In 2 and 3 there are less explicitly linked to development countries.
So generally said, articles in the categories 1&4 are “for development”, whereas 2&3 are “in developing countries”.
185 samples of relevant articles also from development journals were chosen and classified.

Results:
71% of the articels focused on research of ICTs “in developing countries”
33% on research of ICT “for development”

The implication = so what?
1. There is a conflation between the two research approaches, the literature can be divided.
2. There’s an emphasis on the “in developing countries” approach and there should be more research focused on the other approach.
Critizism has to be taken one step back – we don’t tackle the “for development” approach too much, so we can’t really critizise the lacking results.

Maybe we can use the same theories for the “in d.c.” approach than in regular IT adoption approaches.

Questions:
What kinds of articles did you find? A lot of economics & government background?
– Yes, same impression.
Is there an emperical difference of data between the two domains?
– No special look at it, but probable
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The Quest for Development – Reviewing ICT4D Research
Karin Hedström & Ake Grönund
– Örebrö University, Sweden
Does ICT4D focus on development? Or is it a more traditional approach? Are case studies on ICT4D in e-government improving?

To answer these questions, 42 articles were classified according to a framework.
– internal vs. external focus
– technology vs. social focus

The results:
There is a big emphasis on internal social focus – which is the more traditional approach. This can be compared to the afore mentioned approach ICT “in developing countries”.
Conclusion: ICT4D = Mainly studies with a social and internal focus.

Questions:
Both studies were using the same two journals (ITD, EIJSDC) – wondering if for conferences it’s the same?
– Can’t really say that
Differences in the 2 journals?
– Huge
In crisis management: big gap between conferences and journals. Maybe researchers practicing the “for development” approach are generally said writing not academic enough? -Maybe that’s also because the research is still developing.
– Agreed
What’s happening in development studies theories?
– IT is almost completely absent, it’s a different discipline.

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IT entrepreneurial strategies in emerging economies – Lessons from a local start-up
Alina Chircu – Bentley University, USA; Flavius Chircu – Consultant
After university education in the USA, the author moved back to Romania to see what’s happening there concerning economy.
Assumption: entrepreneurship has a positive influence on development.
There are many challenges to entrepreneurship and many difficulties for start ups. What are the success factors of startups?
Resources: capabilities & networks
– They are mostly inhibitors in LDCs
Institution: rules and regulations, personal social networks
– Presence facilitates investment, absence constraints strategies
Industry:
– Western world: vertically specialized
– LDCs: in early stages

The research has shown that some factors generally believed to inhibit growth and local entrepreneurship can also foster this development under certain circumstances. Generally, much more research has to be done.

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GlobDev Paris – Development
was published on 16.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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