I was a little put off by the class discussion and some of the blogs we read for Wednesday’s class. I don’t see ICT4D and ICT4$ as black and white, two separate entities with no overlap or gray in between. Maybe I’m thinking of the terms too broadly, but I see it as a scale:
1. ICT4D, strictly non-profit: several class members talked about ICT4D projects/organizations being strictly non-profit, with no revenue or profit. This would be one far side of the scale: a project or organization that operates solely on funding/grants, with no revenue or profit of any kind coming in.
2. ICT4$, sustainable non-profit (hybrid): this would be ICT4D organizations that classified as a 501c3 nonprofit but generate revenues through the selling of services/products. For example: Inveneo (current employer of Wayan Vota). Inveneo is a non-profit “social enterprise” “that aims to get the tools of information communications technology (ICT), such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most — people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world.”
3. ICT4$, social enterprise: this would be an organization that makes a profit, but is driven by the concept of development and focuses on that (example, VC4Africa)
4. ICT4$: this would be companies that sell information and communication technology for profit, without ICT4D as a main mission (ie Google, etc)
In my opinion, types 1-3 should definitely still be considered ICT4D. I see ICT4D as information and communication technology for the benefit of development. Organizations like Inveneo and Ushahidi make a profit, but does that mean they aren’t concentrating on development? The world runs on money, it isn’t something that we can avoid. Non-profits that generate revenues can be even more successful because they can be sustainable and not run on grant money. An organization can be categorized as ICT4D (even if it generates revenue) if its mission is to create a social impact and benefit/increase development, in any country.