Richard Heeks: ICT4D 1.0-2.0

In “ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto”, Richard Heeks explains the development of ICT4D and how changes are propelling the field in a new and improved direction. ICT4D 1.0 is so eloquently described as the baby of new digital technologies such as the internet and development goals such as the MDGs (Heeks 4). Because many 1.0 initiatives’ general inability to survive, expand and be measured, the surfacing of emphasis on sustainability, scalability, and evaluation has occurred, spurring a reprioritizing of ICT4D strategies. In the manifesto, Heeks describes how ICT4D 2.0 has created new technological priorities, new innovation and implementation models, and new worldviews for action.

Technological priorities:

-More emphasis on application and use of existing technologies (mobiles, radio, tv) and less on introduction of new technologies (internet, PCs)

-finding ways to incorporate internet into mobiles, tv and radio in areas that already have these technologies, but not PC internet capabilities

-appropriate localized content, increased community interaction, per-poor production to increase income and employment

New innovation models:

-Passive innovation (market, private firms’ desire for profit and the poors’ search for value will lead to spread of ICT’s) vs Active innovation (market alone will not bring development to the most needy, intervention is needed)

-while ICT4D will show an increase in passive innovation, active innovation is still needed, and how it is implemented is of the upmost importance

Evolution of active development:

-Laboratory, pro-poor innovation: done by outside actors on behalf of the poor (i.e. telecenters). Potential for large design-reality gaps

-Collaborative, para-poor innovation: done alongside poor communities. Emphasis on who participates (Elites? Lower class? Whole community?)

-Grassroots, per-poor innovation: done by the poor communities themselves. Adapting and creating technology to meet local needs. Challenge of 2.0 is to organize and capitalize on this per-poor innovation.

New implementation models:

-While ICT4D 1.0 was mainly funded by a small group of intl. organizations and NGO’s, 2.o is shaping to be funded by a variety of donors from the private sector, southern governments, new actors such as China and India, as well as international organizations. The challenge of ICT4D 2.0 is to not repeat the same sustainability and coordination issues of 1.0 funding.

-emphasis on private-public an multi-stakeholder partnerships

-Process approach instead of blueprint approach:

-Inclusion of beneficiaries in design and construction, flexibility during implementation, no strict adherence to a specific model

Worldviews for Action:

-Combination and cooperation of the three fields of computer science, information systems and development studies.

-See the poor as active contributors to ICT4D

Table 1: Summary of ICT4D Phases Issue / Phase  ICT4D 0.0 

(1960s – mid-1990s)

ICT4D 1.0 

(mid-1990s – mid-/late-2000s)

ICT4D 2.0 

(mid-/late-2000s onwards)

Iconic Technology  PC Database Telecentre Mobile Phone
Key Application  Data Processing Content (& Interaction) Services & Production
The Poor  Who? Consumers Innovators & Producers
Key Goal  Organisational Efficiency MDGs ?Growth & Development?
Key Issue  Technology’s Potential Readiness & Availability Uptake & Impact
Key Actor  Government Donors & NGOs All Sectors
Attitude  Ignore –> Isolate Idolise –> Integrate Integrate –> Innovate
Innovation Model  Northern Pro-Poor –> Para-Poor Para-Poor –> Per-Poor
Dominant Discipline  Information Systems Informatics / Development Studies Tribrid of CS, IS and DS
Development Paradigm  Modernisation Human Development ?Development 2.0?

Table 1 from ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto by Richard Heeks


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