GlobDev Paris – ICT and Global Development Research

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

Panel discussion – ICT and Global Development Research
Session Chair:
Chrysanthi Avgerou, London School of Economics
Geoff Walsham, Cambridge University
Sajda Qureshi, University of Omaha, USA
Muhammadou Kah
, American University of Nigeria, Yola,
Adamawa State, Nigeria

There has been research in ICT4D for almost 20 years already – we should consider that too, that’s what this panel is about

Geoff Walsham:
Articles: Walsham G., Thompson M. ICT research in Africa: need for a strategic…
Need for sensitivity to local cultural context – local adaption and cultivation
Focus on implementation in particular sectors or aimed at specific groups (health, women, digital divide) – Victor Mbarika
Insightful theoretical perspectives:
Actor-network theory
Institutional theory
Globalization theories

Pressing set of research questions:
How do ICTs contribute to development and what are the policy implications?

Developing / developed countries = bad wording because it is patronizing
What is meant by the word development?

ICTs as enabler for governance, civil society / entrepreneuralism, economic activity / access to global market, resources / public infrastructure

Sajda Qureshi:
Two stories:
Stories which are highly cited: economists
Papers in ITD are referenced in the economics’ literature and by policy makers
There is a need for research by faculty mambers in all kinds of areas – sociology, pulic sector, …
We have to get those papers out there

Appropriate technology?
there is a need for papers that looks at oucomes in terms of accountability

Also: is the technology used in the way we think it is?

Second story:
Omaha, Nebraska with 1 million people
City is very beautiful, large disparities -> divide
Write about things in a way that makes sense

Muhammadou Kah:
Practice has transformed the way to look at research -> “angry reviewer”, very critical to look at papers

It’s a difference to live in Africa than in the Western World
Methodology – question the approaches, western perspective
Data or measurements -> most data from OECD, World Bank, … – not the best data? -> we should make an effort to create own data

Competence – capacity and capability; differences of assumptions to the situation on the ground
free research vs. desktop research
research funding & time

How can our community engage to address issues?
How can collaborative platforms & research partnerships be established to avoid isolated work?
Use your PhD students as extensions by sending them to development communities

Loads of interesting research problems that are completely untouched
Look at usual problems and research them in the context of LDCs
There is a need to go to LDCs and to build theories around what is happening
Currently there are a lot of diasporants who have begun to go back -> it’s important to foster collaborations
European Commission is interested in questions & researach problems connected to ICT4D – meaningful collaborations with sub-saharean Africa
How can we come up with meetings frequently – research trainings / seminars -> establish collaborations

How can you speak of development – culture was destroyed in many regions, drugs, …
Illegal employment brings in more money than legal one
Effects of imperialism: WTO
massive industry -> why is there no discussion about his at all?
– It’s happening everywhere, you can’t address the problems in a too specific context
– Not being in these environments it is difficult to see the negative externalities of WTO, World Bank, …
It is necessary to be in the context
Why is it not covered here?
– Some political scientist go there and then they are able to write about it
Why are we not talking about this today?
– Of course there are different views and theories
Still an issue: it seems that development is always something for others, it’s something abstract
Terms underdevelopment, maldevelopment; it’s not just about the amount

Academic ivory tower” – when you have that kind of situation -> there’s something wrong in the whole thing

What is develpoment for us? are we already developed enough to develop others?
One reason why we are all in this room are our values but there is no discussion about these values
But everyone would say they care about social justice
It’s about the application part as well
Dialog about values and politics is important
Social inclusion in IT -> if you are in the western world you can be as far away as somewhere in Africa
One thing is to talk more explicitely about the values that underpin our work
– If we talk about ICT4D we have to get into politics and all the other areas
– What are we doing for our own development?
– It’s important, we just don’t spend so much time on it
– Critical theory is important
– But very quickly you might end up doing polemics

Whole notion of development – when you’re involved in ICT4D and you realise what you are doing is not impacting because of the structures, also because of international organizations, or crime, local administration
And then it is said that nothing will happen until you involve people
Who is engaging in this discourse?

We need a way in which to create people who can speak from their position with an understanding what needs to be done
We need to create legitimate stuctures in LDCs which will pursue development as a national project
When LDCs have a national project, things work, but often you don’t have these structures or bad-willing structures
Governments will not do anything against losing power

There’s a risk that the values we base our consensus on are not the correct ones
– If you open the discusiion, you argue for the merits of one perception vs. the other, which is legitimate
– We have to maintain a spirit of discourse, that’s the only way to get a political correct discussion
ECIS in Pretoria, South Africa -> IT for Empowerment
One of the biggest struggles with the word “development”
Ideal opportunity – but limited to 350 participants

A lot of challenges are on the development side, though we still have issues on the ICT side
We look on ICTs as something that causes something
We should look at ICTs as a capability

ICT as an enabler – how can ICT be an enabler?
– “Enabler” was chosen deliberately – there is a potential that may be an enabler
– It’s no goal to address only IT
– It could be an enabler with other initiatives
– Mobile phones are not helping the poor -> at least not generally

Would drug money enabling houses/schools to be built – be ICT4D?
– Good question, there’s no easy answer
– There’s no research on that

There’s different applications for mobiles – criminal as well as good things
Structures at various levels have to be in place for ICT4D to be beneficial
If these structures are not there, ICTs are no good

Senior researchers have to provide frameworks – but we won’t solve all the worlds issues with ICT4D
We need to have the focusing issues

Small problem with concept of ICT – it’s not just PC and mobile phones, also spoken language
Some of the issues are just not so new

If it is argued that ICTs support criminal activities, it can also be argued that schools do that, as literate criminals are more effective than illiterate ones

“terrorist views” on ICTs
problem of ICTs is on the application level
the more you realise the problem, the more you feel powerless

Final statements:

Muhammadou Kah:
We’re still stuck in looking at development as economic development
Development is much more complex
We have to look at the amount of work other disciplines have done and begin to revisit our approaches

Development for whom? defined by who?
Development means different things for different people
The goal is not to find the answers – we don’t even agree what ICTs are
There’s a lot of work to do – we have to do it collaboratively, we have to engage constructively
We are not the police of what is good and what is bad
We have to find methodologies & theoretical frameworks

Sajda Qureshi:
We have the power – keep doing research and publishing

Geoff Walsham:
Just because we can’t do everything, we can’t do nothing
If we try social reform then it is a slow process
Anyway slow progress is better than no progress, which is an argument for doing something
We should try to produce synergetic effect

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GlobDev Paris – ICT and Global Development Research
was published on 26.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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GlobDev Paris – Healthcare

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

Track V – Healthcare
Session Chair:
Peter Meso – Georgia State University, USA

The Shifting Legitimation of an Information System: Local, Global and Large Scale
Gianluca Miscione
– International Institute for Geo-Information and Earth Observation; Inger Elise Ostmo, Kristoffer Fossum, Knut Staring – University of Oslo, Norway

Scheme of the article:
Time line vs. relevance of specific places and local settings.
From local (high relevance of specific places) -> to organizational (low) -> to full coverage (middle)

Collecting local information – initial acceptance of own system in South Africa in 1999.

The project crossed the borders and went to Asia. Networks of action were created instead of working patterns in local settings. Shift from local to global.
FOSS worked in every area
Different players evolved in every area, also the field in which the projects were active

International standardization appeared. Information and processing tools showed their own logic and requirements.

Final stage – full coverage:
The bottom up approach (beginning) evolved into a top-down approach (later)
Even if the system makes sense locally, the power remains centrally.
Scalability is the ability to switch legitimation
It’s important to cope with the requirements of policy makers


Fighting Hunger with Information – Mashups in ICT4D Increase Accessibility of Vital Services
Florian Sturm, David Hauer, Thorsten Hampel
and Andreas Hornich – University of Vienna, Austria

Presentation GlobDev08 Paris

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: globdev08 paris)


Depicting the Landscape around Information Flows: Methodological Propositions
Mikko Korpela, Irmeli Luukkonen
– University of Kupio, Finland; Retha de la Harpe – Cape Pensulina University of Technology, South Africa

Depicting the landscape around information flows
Context is essential, especially in healthcare. Suggesting a graphic notation for that -> landscape method
Physical and political structure as the canvas
Flow of services/authority/money/information
More detailed landscape: activity networks and activities
Research in progress -> try the framework, contextualize it, make case studies, transfer to other domains, enhance usability (guidebook)

What purpose do they have? What can one get out of these descriptions?
– The need to depict & describe similar cases and compare cases and focus on substantial factors;
– Also practitioners can benefit & learn from the depictions


E-health readiness framework from electronic health records perspective
JunHua Li, Lesley Pek Wee Land, Subhagata Chattopadhyay
and Pradeep Ray – The University of New South Wales, Australia and The Asia Pacific u-Health Research Center (APuHC), Australia

Part of a WHO project – implementation of e-health records, especially in Asia
A lot of money was invested in these systems but WHO wanted to know which outcome there was

E-health promises a lot, especially in LDCs – but how to create sustainability in the use of these systems?

This research is completely not theoretically based, just collecting the data and getting the most out of it
Aim: introduce a conceptual method to quantify constructs within the framework in order to reveal e-health readiness status

Analyse different frameworks

Components for assessment:

  • Core readiness
  • Engagement = providers’ exposure to ICTs
  • Technological readiness
  • Societal readiness

Framework made out of these factors
Connect and weigh the graph to find out core readiness

This framework can be used to reveal overall e-health readiness before implementing the systems

What is e-readiness and why was it chosen?
– Systems are expensive and complex -> big investment and therefore it should be made right
– Physicians are not the same as IT users, it’s important to know how to fill the different expectations (also patients’)

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GlobDev Paris – Healthcare
was published on 20.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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GlobDev Paris – Education & Knowledge Management

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

Track III – Education & Knowledge Management
Session Chair:
Roy Johnson – University of Pretoria, South Africa

As I talked to several people during the lunch break I was late for the following session, which was:

Technology in the classroom in conditions of infrastructural and capacity constraints: Lessons from Uganda
Laura Hosman – University of California, USA

Due to an initiative of the government of Ugande, work for teachers was increased, but salary or facilities were not. So eventually the government refrained from this aproach again.

Case Study:
School of the Sisters of Notre Dame
Goals: to set up a computer class
Idea: laptops -> were more expensive, especially maintenance
The American NGO Inveneo worked out a solution especially for the circumstances. Local ICT experts were also trained.

Very realistic goals: “in 2010 students can sit for computer science courses”
The whole project turned out to be quite successful.

Why was this case successful:

  • ICT based on existing capabilities
  • ICT trained people were already there and training was not enforced on the teachers
  • Infrastructure allowed for it (solar panels could be installed because the roof had a good position)
  • “Feedback loops” were established
  • Sustainable funding – though this is a questionable claim
  • Realistic goals were established

Lessons learned:

  • The case is not applicable to whole Uganda
  • Government policy matters
  • Realistic assessment of current situation is important

What are the key findings?
– Focus on the teachers – make sure they get paid enough, are well trained and have the right equipment.

– It’s important to have goals and to define ways to reach them


Extending the ICT Technological Culturation Model – The Role of Accessibility and Perceived Socio-Economic Prospects on ICT Diffusion
Peter Meso and Philip F. Musa – Georgia State University, USA

Study in Kenya: extending the Technological Culturation Model by adding two constructs:

  • Accessibility of technology
  • Perceived socio-economic prospects

Do these aspects influence the usage of ICTs?

If individuals have access to ICTs they become culturated = familiarized = comforted with ICT -> impacts the usage of technology.

198 questionnaires

Cellphone technology:
Exposure to technology is not by itself important to usage.

Same results – email use is not related to technology culturation.


  • It pays to have ICTs readily accessible
  • This fosters usage and entrepreneurship
  • Accessibiliy is more important than physical proximity of ICTs
  • Culturation is not as effective as access


Towards a model for national e-learning implementations
Christine Charlton-Laing – University of the West-Indies, Jamaica; Gerald Grant – Charleton University, Canada

Many nations try to implement e-learning programs at a national level. Technology in education has great potential.
Therefore many countries try to embrace e-learning, but without a clear plan and lacking a clear strategy.

National e-learning strategy:
– Government led strategy to transform human capital via e-learning
Research has in this regard the burden to prioritize efforts.
It’s important to include public & private sectors and to conduct trainings on all levels.
Basic characteristics:
– Centralized body
There are national differences

Factors affecting achievements:
led by the government
significant and sustainable funding
– many factors are already identified, but there are still lacks in knowledge (what kind of ICT, how many ICTs, how to convert ICTs in useful assets, governance, time frame, …)

There should be a clear strategy, but it is uncertain which strategy to use.

The presenters approach was, to adapt Soh & Marcuses Model with 3 processes and 4 constructs.

The model is currently carried out as a case study in Jamaica and specific constraints are being addressed. Some problems were encountered and are delaying the whole process.


Assessment of Knowledge Menegement’s Growth in South Africa
C.J. (Neels) Kruger and Roy D. Johnson – University of Pretoria, South Africa

Knowledge Management: many definitions – much research -> is it a waste of time?
It seems the acceptance and usage of knowledge management determine the success.

Still there exists confusion with the expressions in knowledge management -> knowledge, information, wisdom, …
There are also managerial issues.

Approach: a questionnaire was given to companies in South Africa to find out what the true issues are.


KM has

  • grown quickly in 20% of the companies
  • 50% grow
  • 22% don’t grow
  • 5% decline

It seems like we’re using it.

Middle & senior management think we need KM. Education industries are not increasing KM.
Organizational size & availailty of resources is playing a role – but it has more to do with commitment, especially from middle management.

KM is alive and moving beyond information management.

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GlobDev Paris – Education & Knowledge Management
was published on 18.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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GlobDev Paris – Unintended Consequences of ICT4D

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

Plenary session II – The unintended consequences of ICT4D in sub-saharean Africa
Session Chair:
Sajda S Qureshi – University of Omaha, USA
Oneurine Ngwa, Shu John Shu, Daniel Kudi, Victor Mbarika – Southern University and A&M College, Irene Mbarika – AGWECAMS Inc.

The claim that IT will transform lives in Africa has proven true in many aspects nowadays. There are also major issues with these great technologies which are negative and issues which were not originally intended.

Based on interviews, some of the negative consequences were identified.


  • People use cell phones to cheat on their husbands, there is a certain “beeping” code which means “get out of the house and call me”.
  • Cellphones have brought a lot of prostitution, as it is nowadays as easy as sending a picture to potential customers. This is of course promoting HIV. On the other hand, also e-health is promoted (e.g. nurses write an sms to a doctor to get advice).
  • Teenage boys write emails to deceive western people (spam – “Nigeria-connection”). Those people are surprisingly tech-savy.

Advances in IT in Africa:

  • Usage of Internet
  • Cellphones
  • Use of CreditCards, IPods

“mix blessing”:

  • IT for advance fee fraud
  • Nigeria as the country of focus
  • Scam is 3-5th largest industry in Nigeria


  • Internet sex tourism
  • Sex tourism in Africa is advertised
  • Even government can’t stop it because it is such a boost for the economy
  • Internet prostitution
  • Pornography
    Child & adult
    there even exist consultants
  • How to track down these people?
  • The people are even known, government turns their eyes away
  • Child trafficking
  • Identity theft

Advance fee fraud is called the 419 game (419 = the police code for these crimes).

Has it been started in Nigeria? What about the before-after state? How to relate the results to academia?

Factors that facilitate growing criminal activities:

  • Unemployment
  • Greed
  • Desire to travel abroad

Attempts to tackle prevention of these things:

  • Association of all night browsing
  • Nigeria cyber working group
  • Several government initiatives

Questions & Comments:
This whole thing should not be pinned down to Nigeria of Africa, there are collaborators in Europe and other continents, too.

The Nigerian government has done a lot recently to prosecute these crimes.

Suggestion: You should find a way to be part of it to get track of the whole thing.
– This is already happening.

The regional approach are to simplistic, it’s a bigger thing than just Africa.

Biggest problems: sensationalism & anecdotes.

How significant is it for the community? Is crime a substantial source of income?
– A priori the research was done without theoretic approaches, they will appear in time.

Maybe it’s a good idea to present the research in another community (e.g. organized crime researchers).

We can’t speak about differences if we don’t know the initial state.

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GlobDev Paris – Unintended Consequences of ICT4D
was published on 17.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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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


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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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
– 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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GlobDev Paris – Introduction

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

I just today came back from Paris, where the International Conference on Information Systems – ICIS 2008 takes place right now. I attended a workshop on Global Development and presented a paper there.

I took a lot of notes and shot some picures, so my next few blogposts will cover this event. However, my notes are definitely not complete, so I would appreciate feedback and corrections.

Generally the workshop was very interesting, I got an insight view of the academic research undertaken right now in the field of ICT4D and got to know many interesting people. Almost all the people at the event were new for me and although I had thought that I have an overview of the universities where research in the area of ICT4D is undertaken, this event proved me wrong. Also, interestingly, the majority of attendees of the workshop came from Canada, the US, the UK, Scandinavia or Africa, whereas middle and southern Europe was almost not present at all (with the exception of Holland and Austria).


Plenary Session I – Introduction to the workshop:
Session Chair:
Ted Stohr – Stevens Institute of Technology, USA
Program Co-chairs:
Chrisanthi Avgerou – London School of Economics, UK
Muhammadou Kah – American State University of Nigeria, Nigeria

Initial statements:
Chrisanthi Avgerou & Ted Stohr:
There is a lack of qualitative research and lack of training in the ICT4D community, the research should make it to the journals. Also, to be able to tackle research aims collaboratively, a community with regular meetings should be established.
We need to skill up PhD students to be able to create publication in journals – one initiative is for example taking place in Pretoria, South Africa. It’s a two week skilling session for new PhDs to keep people informed on current developments ( – I didn’t find a URL for that, maybe somebody can provide it?).

Don McCubbrey: (Global Text Project)
Everybody thinks textbooks are too expensive, therefore it is necessary to engage collective intelligence of the research community to gather knowledge and provide it to LDCs. This aim is right now tackled with the initiative Global Text Project.
Right now there are two pilot textbooks available for free and some textbooks were donated by the authors. The objective is to provide 1000 textbooks covering the first 2 years of university education on as many subjects as possible.
There exist now two issues to help this project: promotion and scaling. Whereas the iniators think they can manage the scaling, the promotion is up to everybody who likes the project.

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GlobDev Paris – Introduction
was published on 15.12.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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