As we work through the introduction to ICT4D, one main concept we have encountered is the knowledge society, where knowledge is a public good, readily accessible to all members of the community. A program entitled iHub in Nairobi, Kenya, is an example of a real world attempt to promote innovation and sharing of knowledge.
iHub is an open space, both physical and digital, where “technologists, investors, tech companies, and hackers” are able to create and share ideas with the iHub community. The product of this open technological space is meant to be new technologies that will address the most pressing issues in Kenya. The program itself does not establish any new technologies or projects, but simply provides a forum in which bright minds can come work together. Members can post job openings, research findings, blog posts, business pages and upcoming local events on the iHub website.
Projects featured on the website include a data incubator to help the public better understand data relevant to public issues, a database for refugees to reconnect lost family members, and a project to analyze mobile phone usage among poor populations, among other projects. Through these projects, iHub is helping create a knowledge society in Nairobi by way of the innovation of the community itself.
One question to consider, however: Does the limited membership of the program lend itself to a situation where knowledge is open to all? I would argue yes, since only creating and researching through the program is limited to members, while viewing the website and its content is open to the public, regardless of membership .