Results tagged “Vital Wave Consulting” from Wayan Dot Com

infoDev is implementing the ambitious "Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy" program with the Government of Finland and Nokia to expand the impact of mobile applications in the economic and social advancement of the developing world.

A major component of the Creating Sustainable Businesses program are five regional mobile application laboratories, in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. These "mLabs" will facilitate demand-driven innovation of breakthrough low-cost, high-value applications through a web of inter-related activities to help entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and partners share knowledge, experience and perspective.

After a series of RFP's to identify organizations that will implement this program with infoDev, I am happy to note that infoDev announced that CSIR Meraka Institute and *iHub_ will be the two African mLabs. I have also learned that Vital Wave Consulting is advising infoDev and the mLabs on sustainable business models. In this mix, yours truly will also play a role.

I am honored to announce that I will be working with infoDev and its mLab partners to create an international community of practice for those working on mobile applications for development. While the exact scope and goals of the community are still being developed, early indications are that it will consist of a range of mLab community news and networking opportunities, including promoting local offline gatherings.

I am very excited to work with Meraka Institute, *iHub_, and Vital Wave Consulting. Principals at latter two I've known for years and always admired.

To hold my own with them, I plan to draw on my 15 years experience with every aspect of Internet publishing, from hand-coding commercial websites, to starting blogging before the term "blog" existed, to using multiple social networking tools, to building communities of practice that bridge the real and virtual worlds.

This includes developing the following four international communities of practice - each a leader in its field:

  • Educational Technology Debate - a discussion of low-cost ICT devices for educational systems in the developing world, and one of infoDev's flagship online communities of practice.
  • ICTworks - a premier knowledge resource for ICT practitioners deploying sustainable technology interventions, already central to over 300 entrepreneurs around world.
  • OLPC News - the leading independent analysis of the One Laptop Per Child program. It is now the largest community of OLPC supports, recognized as such by Nicholas Negroponte himself.
  • Technology Salon - a monthly meeting of ICT and development experts to discuss the impact of ICT in the developing world. It is so prestigious the UN Foundation's Technology Partnership with the Vodafone Foundation now sponsors the Salon.

My key learning from all four of these communities? No matter how fancy the platform or its social networking capacity, it's engaging personal contacts and timely and relevant content that form the basis of a successful community. Both are also interrelated as the best content comes from the best contacts that are outstanding because they have thought leadership and share it through good content.

To that end I hope I have your trust and support to help me develop and launch the infoDev mLabs community - I surely can't do it alone!

Vital Wave Consulting has asked my opinion a very simple, yet profound question:

What should the donor community do to expand national health information systems in the developing world?

Speaking as a technologist on a mission to change the way international development employs information and communication technology (ICT) to reach its aims of economic and social development, I am honored for the opportunity to present the key activities I believe donors need to engage in immediately to better implement national HIS.

Recognize Problems Are Human, Not High-Tech

In Washington DC, I convene the Technology Salon a monthly conversation between international and technology professionals, and recently we tackled the barriers to effective deployment of national health information systems. After a hour of debate, we came to the conclusion that the key national HIS success technology is change management.

That is deploying a national health information system successfully does not necessarily require the high-end technology resources available to richer countries. The major hurtles to successful national health information systems are human, not high-tech.

Having a clear goal of improving data quality, and a solid change management approach to achieve is the critical success factor. And this can be accomplished in countries as varied in resources as Belize, India, and Sierra Leone, regardless of what technology or technical approach is used.

So Move Beyond Shiny Flashy New Thing

If we accept that its not the information or communication technology that matters most, but old school change management, then donors need to get past their infatuation with the newest shiny, flashy gadget.

Move past mHealth (Img: DataDyne)

mHealth is a great example. While mHealth more than just mobility, and mobile phones are revolutionizing ICT in Africa, do we really need yet another program that tries to be mHealth? Is it really the answer to every health problem? You would think so by all the recent donor focus on it in lieu of the larger health initiatives that can be empowered by technology.

It even propelled Karl Brown of Rockefeller Foundation to ask, "Will mHealth eat eHealth and spit out its bones?" I sure hope not, as we should be talking about health - not focus on the letter in front, be it e, m, p, q, or z.

And Get Back to Building Human Capacity for Change

Then how can donors effect greater adoption of national health information systems, if not by focusing on the technology? By supporting a structured approach to transition Ministries of Health staff into accepting, even demanding data-driven decision making - the ultimate national HIS outcome.

This means a shift towards human capacity building across health ecosystems. Using the ADKAR Model for change, Donors and their implementing partners (consultants, NGOs, and the private sector) working together with all health stakeholders in the slow but effective community organizing process to articulate the need for data-driven decision making, and create a real desire by the stakeholder to change to it.

Then, via in-person training and workshops, give stakeholders the knowledge and ability to make the change at an individual level, and finally, ensure that Ministries of Health will reinforce the change to data-driven decision making at the organizational level through its hiring and budgeting processes.

Notice there wasn't one mention of information and communication technologies in any of those steps. Why? Because if the donor community really wants to expand national health information systems in the developing world, it needs to recognize the inhibitors are human, not high-tech, stop focusing on the shiny toys, and build human capacity to accept change. Its only then, we'll see any real impact from national HIS, no matter the technology.

This post was original published on Insights on Health Information

Epidemics and a shortage of healthcare workers continue to present grave challenges for governments and health providers in the developing world. Yet in these same places, the explosive growth of mobile communications over the past decade offers a new hope for the promotion of quality healthcare - billions now have access to reliable technology that can also support healthcare delivery.

Mobile-empowered healthcare

How can this access to mobile technology, radically improve healthcare services - even in some of the most remote and resource-poor environments?

Please join Inveneo's Eric Blantz and Vital Wave Consulting's Dr. Karen Coppock in a discussion around mHealth - how technology can empower better and more efficient healthcare services throughout the developing world, with an emphasis on mobile and cellular technologies.

Of special focus is the recent United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership report, mHealth for Development, authored by Vital Wave Consulting

Opportunities for mHealth in Development
March Technology Salon in San Francisco
March 3rd, 8:30-10am
@ Inveneo
972 Mission Street 5th Floor (map)
San Francisco, CA

Please RSVP as we only have seating for 15 and after that, there will be a waitlist.

For November, we have a very special Technology Salon. In coordination with the World Bank e-Development Thematic Group and infoDev, we will have a World Bank ICT and Education Community of Practice Discussion on Total Cost of Ownership:

olpc cdma india
How much does this really cost?
How much does it really cost to introduce and sustain computers in schools? A discussion of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and models of affordable computing for schools in developing countries.

"Total cost of ownership" (TCO) is often underestimated, sometimes grossly, when calculating costs of ICT in education initiatives in developing countries. Estimates of initial costs to purchase equipment to overall costs over time vary widely; typically they lie between 10-25% of total cost. That said, there is a dearth of reliable data, and useful tools, to help guide education decision makers in their assessments of the true costs of educational technology initiatives.

A recent whitepaper from Vital Wave Consulting, "Affordable Computing for Schools in Developing Countries: A Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Model for Education Officials", and accompanying case study of ICT in education initiatives in India, provide further insight and perspective on this important and often controversial issue. The white paper discusses key issues related to technology use in education and presents several major findings.

At the same time, we now have an update to the TCO Tool for schools developed by the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) and Mr. Camfield. This tool, "Deploying 1:1 educational models in large scale: a practical budgeting tool based on TCO", is currently being utilized as part of planning processes in Rwanda, drawing on lessons learned from its earlier use elsewhere in Africa, most notably in Namibia.

Come join what we hope to be a lively presentation and discussion of the findings of both activities, their potential implications, and the underlying methodologies and assumptions underpinning the models explored in this work.


11am to 12:30pm - 6 November 2008
The World Bank "J" Building,
701 18th Street, NW, room J-B1-075

While this Technology Salon promises to be larger than usual, seating is still limited, so please RSVP to Lorelei Lacdao, with the subject line: "Attend ICT/ed TCO meeting"

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