Designing Institutions that Foster an Information Society

In beginning to study information societies and what contributes to their functionality, the issue of infrastructure continued to show up as a confining factor. A country can have access to highly developed technology, but if it lacks a sufficiently developed electrical infrastructure the functionality of this technology will be compromised. Social and political environments can contribute to the success or failure of ICT4D as much as anything else. A blog post from describes what the author, Ismael Peña-López, states are necessary precursors to a successful information society.

In his post, Peña-López argues that the nature of an institution that fosters the development of an information society is crucial to its functionality. Such an institution should have a multidisciplinary approach and be independent in political and economic terms. This means that it should not be placed under the control of another ministry or department (to avoid bias) and that it should not receive revenue solely from a particular party or lobbying interest. This makes sense when considering how these outside interests could affect unequal accessibility and widen the digital divide within a country.

Peña-López goes on to lay out a set of three important issues that an institution foster ICT4D should consider. One is stressing the importance of context, or understanding the meaning of each data set. This means close analyzation of the state of development of the information society is required. The second is that the institution should provide policy advice, including monitoring and measuring the impact of these policies. The third states that an institution should set up and execute programs that support ICT for development. The format of these programs will rely heavily on the understanding and data previously gathered. The combination of these three things set up a basic framework for an information society that minimizes the digital divide and fosters the development of the society as a whole.


One response to “Designing Institutions that Foster an Information Society

  • laurag063

    Based on the blog post that you read, it seems as if Pena-Lopez has a very distinct notion of how an information society is born and maintained. Did she ever mention the concept of a knowledge society? What do you think she’d have to say about the possibility of such a society, or how it is correlated with an information one?

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