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Stages of Design in Technology for Global Development

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7 Author(s)
Donner, J. ; Microsoft Res. India, Bangalore ; Gandhi, R. ; Javid, P. ; Medhi, I.
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The battle against poverty is a continual engagement with humility-especially for technologists. In the area of research known as information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), engineers work with social scientists to develop novel solutions to the challenges faced by the world's poorest communities. In most cases, these challenges can't be met simply by providing a useful technology. Although it's easy to specify the technical requirements to set up a PC with Internet access in a slum or a remote agrarian village, what it takes for technology to meaningfully impact a poor migrant worker or rural farmer is an altogether different problem that requires considerations of local economy, cultural norms, and stakeholder needs. The Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research India ( in Bangalore faces these kinds of problems every day. The solutions, however, rarely come easily and require extensive time in the field, honesty about what does and doesn't work, and a willingness to accept technically simple solutions.

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

June 2008

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