New surveys reveal dynamism, challenges of open data-driven businesses in developing countries

Open data for economic growth continues to create buzz in all circles.  We wrote about it ourselves on this blog site earlier in the year.  You can barely utter the phrase without somebody mentioning the McKinsey report and the $3 trillion open data market.  The Economist gave the subject credibility with its talk about a ‘new goldmine.’ Omidyar published a report a few months ago that made $13 trillion the new $3 trillion.  The wonderful folks at New York University’s GovLab launched the OpenData500 to much fanfare.  The World Bank Group got into the act with this study.  The Shakespeare report was among the first to bring attention to open data’s many possibilities. Furthermore, governments worldwide now routinely seem to insert economic growth in their policy recommendations about open data – and the list is long and growing.

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Open Innovation Tackles NCDs in Africa

The Devex Impact website reported that to understand more about Africa’s increasing noncommunicable diseases (NCD) threat, we need to bring together the brightest scientific minds to work as a team rather than struggling alone to find answers. No single country in the region has enough researchers with the appropriate mix of skills required to tackle this challenge. GlaxoSmithKline is drawing on its research expertise to help kickstart the discovery of new and better treatments for NCDs. But its approach to tackling these diseases in Africa is turning the usual model of closely guarded research and development on its head with the establishment of the world’s first R&D “Open Lab” for NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa.

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All things to all people: what the Internet means to our lives

It is difficult to imagine our world without the Internet. Apart from online social media, cat videos, online banking, and Wikipedia-fueled homework assignments, the Internet underpins financial transactions and economic activities around the world. Without it, airlines, banks and stock markets would be unable to coordinate in real-time their global or — in many cases — their national and local interactions. However, like many global concepts, the Internet is sometimes too large and too complex an idea and infrastructure; it is all things to all people.

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Local innovation for improving primary care cardiology in resource-limited African settings: an insight on the Cardio Pad(®) project in Cameroon.

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Local innovation for improving primary care cardiology in resource-limited African settings: an insight on the Cardio Pad(®) project in Cameroon.

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Local producers of solar-powered school bags featured on CNN

A Rustenburg-based company that converts upcycled plastic bags into solar panel school bags that charge while children walk to school and act as a light source to enable them to to study at night has been featured on international news organisation CNN’s ‘African Start-Up’ programme. Rethaka cofounders Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane, who won third place in the 2013 South African Breweries Foundation Social Innovation Awards, receiving $30 000 to kick-start their business earlier this year, outlined that the repurposed school bag had been designed to meet dual education and energy-related needs.
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The impact of R&D teams’ gender diversity on innovation outputs

The impact of R&D teams’ gender diversity on innovation outputs
Juan Fernández Sastre
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2015) pp. 142 – 162
Drawing from a sample of Spanish manufacturing firms, this paper examines the effect of R&D teams’ gender diversity on different innovation outputs: products, services, process and organisational innovations. The paper argues that some innovations are best positioned to capitalise the benefits of gender diversity, because of the greater relevance of market insight and personal interactions. Allowing for systematic correlations among the different innovation outcomes, results indicate that, although the relationship between gender diversity and innovation outputs has always the shape of an inverted-U, gender diversity produces a greater impact on service and organisational innovation than in process innovation, while its greatest effect is on product innovation. Results also indicate that having R&D teams with diverse functional expertise has more potential than having a gender diverse R&D labour force, except for service innovation for which gender diversity is as relevant as functional diversity.

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Top Highlights from the #ICTchat Twitter Discussion on Digital Payments

Yesterday’s #ICTchat Twitter Chat was a huge success! Our #ICTchat hashtag brought in over 2.5 million impressions on Twitter with 839 tweets and 135 contributors. Our participants were from The United States, Uganda, and Nigeria to name a few. Thanks to everyone who participated, especially to USAID, NetHope, Better Than Cash Alliance, GBI, UNCDF, and GSMA.

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Ancient wisdom boosts sustainability of biotech cotton

Combining computer modeling and field research on cotton pests, a UA-led study suggests that biotechnology and traditional agriculture can be compatible approaches toward sustainable agriculture.

Advocates of biotech crops and those who favor traditional farming practices such as crop diversity often seem worlds apart, but a new study shows that these two approaches can be compatible. An international team led by Chinese scientists and Bruce Tabashnik at the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences discovered that the diverse patchwork of crops in northern China slowed adaptation to genetically engineered cotton by a wide-ranging insect pest. The results are published in the advance online edition ofNature Biotechnology. Read more

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Men and women in IT entrepreneurship: consolidating and deconstructing gender stereotypes

Men and women in IT entrepreneurship: consolidating and deconstructing gender stereotypes
Martina McDonnell; Chantal Morley
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2015) pp. 41 – 61
Information technology (IT) plays a major role in entrepreneurship as a source of innovation and for the development of e-business activities. Recent initiatives, namely in Europe and the USA, encourage women to develop IT and web businesses. However, the gender imbalance remains, mainly due to persistent stereotypes (Clayton et al., 2012; Gupta et al., 2013). The main purpose of our research is to investigate whether stereotypes concerning gender and IT entrepreneurship are perpetuated or undermined amongst generation Y. Assuming that social differences between women and men are socially constructed, we adopted a constructionist and structurationist view to explain how gender stereotypes are broken down or reinforced. We conducted empirical research with male and female students participating in an entrepreneurial competition for entry into a business incubator. Our study suggests that subtle gendering processes, which we term ‘gender stereotyping moves’, can affect the stability of gender stereotypes. A typology of consolidation and deconstruction moves is provided, and two illustrations of structuring moves in practice are discussed.

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