Will Google and Facebook Drive the Drone Agenda in International Development?

google-drone

Working in ICT4D, you are reminded again and again that there is no “magic bullet” of development. Yet as each new technology emerges there is a flood of programs designed around it. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are no exception. Drones are the newest cool gadget to quickly appear in programs. However, we are not alone in our excitement over drones. Read more

Tags: , ,

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.
Go to Source

No tags for this post.

The differentiated impacts of organizational innovation practices on technological innovation persistence

European Journal of Innovation Management, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2015.

Purpose This article tests the major determinants of technological (product and process) innovation persistence and provides evidence of the significant role of organizational innovation. Design/methodology/approach Data came from two waves of the Luxembourg Community Innovation Survey (CIS): CIS2006 for 2004–2006 and CIS2008 for 2006–2008. The longitudinal data set resulted in a final sample of 287 firms. A multinomial probit model estimates the likelihood that each firm belongs to one of three longitudinal innovation profiles: no, sporadic, or persistent innovators. Findings The determinants have differentiated impacts on process and technological innovation persistence. Organizational innovation influences technological innovation persistence. In the analysis of detailed organizational practices, strong evidence emerged that knowledge management exerts a crucial effect on product innovation persistence; workplace organization instead is associated with process innovation persistence. Research limitations/implications The relationships of innovation persistence, organizational innovation, and firms’ economic performance demand further exploration. The different persistence patterns of complex (process and product) and simple (process or product) innovators also are worth investigating. Practical implications Organizational innovation matters for technological innovation persistence. However, the effects of non-technological innovation differ depending on whether the firm wants to innovate in processes or products. Managers must acknowledge these various effects and select appropriate strategies. Originality/value Few works account for the impact of organizational innovation strategies on technological innovation. This study is the first, based on recent CIS data, to address the role of organizational innovation practices for technological innovation persistence, which appears necessary for the sustainable dynamics of firms, industries, and regions.
Go to Source

No tags for this post.

Balancing diversity in innovation networks: trading zones in university-industry R&D collaboration

European Journal of Innovation Management, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2015.

Purpose Although the potential of innovation networks that involve both university and industry actors is great variances in cultures, goals and knowledge poses significant challenges. To better understand management of such innovation networks, we investigate different strategies for balancing diversity. Design/methodology/approach In this multiple case study, we draw on network and trading zone theory to examine the strategies of four research centers that govern university-industry innovation networks. Findings We (1) provide empirically grounded descriptions of strategies for balancing diversity in innovation processes, (2) extend previous theorizations by suggesting two types of trading zones (transformative and performative), and, (3) identify four strategy configuration dimensions (means of knowledge trade, tie configuration, knowledge mobility mechanisms and types of trust). Research limitations/implications Further research is needed on transferability of results when e.g. cultural collaboration and communication patterns change, and, performance implications of different configurations. Our research provides conceptual tools for future research on the impact of different diversity strategies. Practical implications Our findings point to the importance of identifying desired types of innovation outcomes and designing the appropriate level of diversity. To implement the selected strategy, managers need to configure communication channels and strength of relationships, establish associated capacity for knowledge transfer and build appropriate levels of trust. Originality/value While extant research has provided a solid understanding of benefits from diversity in boundary spanning innovation processes, this paper outlines strategies for managing associated challenges.
Go to Source

No tags for this post.

Is Somaliland truly “Open for Business”? Moving past the conventional narrative of a fragile state

Somalia has the reputation of being a mysterious and conflict-ridden land. Who hasn’t heard of the infamous “Black Hawk down” episode, the militant group al-Shabaab or the pirates off the Somali coast?

But in the northwest corridor of war-ravaged Somalia lies Somaliland, a self-declared independent state that claims to be open for business. Really?

It’s easy to dismiss the “open for business” claim by Somaliland’s Ministry of Planning as mere fantasy or wishful thinking. Flying from Nairobi on a painfully slow UN-chartered plane, being greeted at the hotel by Kalashnikov-armed guards, or traveling to your meeting in an armored car is enough to discourage even the most adventurous entrepreneur.

At first sight, Somaliland has all the characteristics of a fragile and conflict-affected situation (FCS). However, you never want to judge a book by its cover. In Somaliland, I’d argue that the conventional narrative of fragility needs to be revisited.

Go to Source

No tags for this post.

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.

Map

Geographic distribution of companies we surveyed. Here is the complete list.

We hope to publish a detailed report shortly but here meanwhile are a few of the regional findings in greater detail.

Go to Source

Tags: ,