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Posts in category 'Digital divide'

20 August 2013

Exploring customer centricity in financial inclusion

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CGAP (a World Bank affiliated but independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor) has partnered with Janalakshmi Financial Services, one of India’s largest urban microfinance institutions to implement customer centricity in providing financial services to the urban poor. As a first step, the team commissioned Innovation Labs (consulting division of IMRB International, India) to build innovation capability within Janalakshmi and use new approaches to understand customers.

A Facebook journal follows the project over the next several months as it goes through the different phases of understanding customers, designing effective delivery and making the economics work. Here are the three initial posts:

Entry 1 – Creating a Customer-Centric Culture
The project with Janalakshmi Financial Services kicked off in Bangalore on July 1, 2013 with a workshop ‘Customer Centric Innovation’ conducted by Innovation Labs team for over 20 stakeholders at Janalakshmi from various functions including product marketing, strategy, IT and service centers.

Entry 2 – The Inside-Out View: How does a provider think about its clients?
A deep dive into Janalakshmi’s perspective on the customer and how this understanding affects their financial services offering.

Entry 3 – Ground Reality: Finance Management Skills of the Financially Underserved
The project team visited six households in Bangalore to gain a nuanced understanding of the lives of current and prospective customers. The purpose was to see how the customer-view of financial services matches up with that of Janalakshmi’s.

11 January 2013

Intel’s ‘Women and the Web’ report

womenandtheweb

From the press release:

Intel Corporation released a groundbreaking report on “Women and the Web,” unveiling concrete data on the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women. To better understand the gender gap, Intel commissioned this study and consulted with the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, UN Women and World Pulse, a global network for women. The report issues a call to action to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600 million today to 1.2 billion in 3 years.

On average, across the developing world nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gender gap soars to nearly 45 percent in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report. Further, the study found that one in five women in India and Egypt believes the Internet is not appropriate for them.

Seeing another 600 million women online would mean that 40 percent of women and girls in developing countries — nearly double the share today — would have access to the transformative power of the Internet. This goal, if realized, could potentially contribute an estimated US $13 billion to $18 billion to annual GDP across 144 developing countries.

The report’s findings are based on interviews and surveys of 2,200 women and girls living in urban and peri-urban areas of four focus countries: Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda, as well as analyses of global databases. The findings were unveiled during a panel discussion today in Washington, D.C. as part of the 2-day international working forum on women, ICT and development hosted by the State Department and UN Women.

5 December 2012

What does it mean to be a digital native?

digital-native-touchscreen-story-top

The war between natives and immigrants is ending. The natives have won, argues Oliver Joy on the CNN website.

It was a bloodless conflict fought not with bullets and spears, but with iPhones and floppy disks. Now the battle between the haves and have-nots can begin.

The post-millennial “digital native,” a term coined by U.S. author Marc Prensky in 2001 is emerging as the globe’s dominant demographic, while the “digital immigrant,” becomes a relic of a previous time.

[But] as technology filters into every corner of the globe and tech cities spring up in some unlikely places from Bangalore to Tel Aviv, a new gulf is emerging to separate the digitally savvy from the disconnected: Poverty.

13 November 2012

A qualitative study of internet non-use in Great Britain and Sweden

 

Living Offline – A Qualitative Study of Internet Non-Use in Great Britain and Sweden
by Bianca Christin Reisdorf (U. of Oxford, UK), Ann-Sofie Axelsson (Chalmers U. of Technology, Sweden) and Hanna Maurin Söderholm (U. College of Borås, Sweden)
Paper presented at the Internet Research International Conference, October 2012, Manchester

This study explores and compares attitudes and feelings of middle-aged British and Swedish Internet non-users as well as their reasons for being offline. The rich qualitative data are conceptualized and presented according to various reasons for non-use, positive and negative feelings regarding non-use, and the positive as well as negative influence of and dependence on social networks. The comparison shows both unique and common perceptions of the British and Swedish respondents, some of which can be attributed to social, economic, or socio-economic factors. However, it also displays vast differences between middle-aged non-users in both countries. The analysis paints a complex picture of decisions for and against the use of the Internet and the need for more research to understand these highly complex phenomena, which cannot simply be attributed to socio-economic backgrounds as has been done in most previous research. The analysis shows that more complex reasons, such as lack of interest or discomfort with technologies, as well as the somewhat surprising finding that social networks can prevent non-users from learning how to use the Internet, as it is more convenient to stay a proxy-user, should be considered in future research and policies regarding digital inequalities.

(alternative link)

14 May 2012

Is the 1,9,90 rule outdated?

 

The BBC have just released some interesting research around participation online, writes Neil Perkin on FutureLab.

The findings (the result of a “large-scale, long-term investigation into how the UK online population participates using digital media today”) have raised a little controversy since they seem to indicate that the long-term model or view of participation online, the 1,9,90 rule, is outmoded.

“The BBC claim that their research (I’ve embedded a presentation of the research findings below) shows that the number of people actively participating online is significantly higher than 10%, with 77% of the UK online population now active in some way and participation now the norm rather than the exception. The key driver of this, they say, is the rise in ‘easy participation’ – activities that once required significant effort but are now seamless and every day. 60% of the online population fall into this category. Interestingly, they also found that despite participation becoming much easier, a significant minority (23%) did not participate at all, a passivity not as closely related to digital literacy as some might expect. This leads them to conclude that digital participation is best viewed through the lens of choice, the decisions we make based on who we are rather than what we have, or our level of digital skill.”

Read article

13 April 2012

Digital differences in the USA

 

When the Pew Internet Project first began writing about the role of the internet in American life in 2000, there were stark differences between those who were using the internet and those who were not.1 Today, differences in internet access still exist among different demographic groups, especially when it comes to access to high-speed broadband at home. Among the main findings about the state of digital access:

  • One in five American adults does not use the internet.
  • The main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the internet is relevant to them.
  • The 27% of adults living with disability in the U.S. today are significantly less likely than adults without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%).
  • Though overall internet adoption rates have leveled off, adults who are already online are doing more.
  • Currently, 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-book reader, and 19% have a tablet computer; about six in ten adults (63%) go online wirelessly with one of those devices.
  • The rise of mobile is changing the story.
  • Both African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are as likely as whites to own any sort of mobile phone.

Read article

2 March 2012

Connected Learning

connectedlearning

Together with a committed group of colleagues and partners, cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito has been engaged in the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative to address the challenge of how new media can support highly engaged, geeked out, and self-directed forms of learning, but also how it can make this kind of learning available to all young people.

They have been seeking to enlist a diverse constituency of educators, parents, technology makers, and young people in a new vision of learning in the digital age.

Yesterday she announced Connected Learning, a community site and a set of learning and design principles, as well as a research network that together seek to promote dialog and experimentation around a model we are calling “connected learning.”

“In a nutshell, connected learning is learning that is socially connected, interest-driven, and oriented towards educational and economic opportunity. Connected learning is when you’re pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize this common passion or purpose.”

Read announcement (with video)

29 July 2011

Digital fluency: empowering all students

Leave nothing unheard
Liz Losh writes on DMLCentral on an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to “digital literacy” that is more in keeping with the latest thinking about “digital fluency” in the field

“Although “digital literacy” is often a phrase associated with programs that have utopian pedagogical visions, it also can become a term attached to rigid curricular requirements, standardized testing, and models of education that stigmatize some students as remedial when it comes to their basic programming skills or their abilities to use software productively. Furthermore, the term “digital literacy” can generate conflicts among educators because many different disciplines may claim sole responsibility for providing any needed instruction, as I’ve argued elsewhere. Computer scientists, media scholars, librarians, composition teachers, and digital arts instructors have all made supposedly exclusive claims to design and assess digital literacy programs in both K-12 and higher education environments. In contrast, internationally known mixed reality artist Micha Cárdenas calls for an inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to “digital literacy” that is more in keeping with the latest thinking about “digital fluency” in the field.”

Read article

2 September 2010

A cyber-house divided

The cyber divide
Online as much as in the real world, people bunch together in mutually suspicious groups—and in both realms, peacemaking is an uphill struggle. The Economist reports in an article that quotes Danah Boyd and Ethan Zuckerman.

“A generation of digital activists had hoped that the web would connect groups separated in the real world. The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges.” [...]

All this argues for a cautious response to claims that e-communications abate conflict by bringing mutually suspicious people together.”

Read article

21 August 2010

Trapped in the Anglosphere

 
Martin Kettle thinks the UK has lost sight of next door Europe, trapped as Brits are in their Anglo-centric internet.

“It is hard to recall a time when the national, not just the London, mind was less informed about or engaged with Europe than it is today. Europe may still be this country’s major export market. Millions may still take holidays there. Our football teams may still battle for the glamour of being “in Europe”. In the larger sense, though, being in Europe has never impinged less.” [...]

The online information age, which should, in theory, have been expected to facilitate greater mental and cultural pluralism and thus, among other things, greater familiarity with European languages and cultures, has, in practice, had the reverse effect. The power of the English language, at once our global gift and our great curse, discourages us from engaging with those – the 93% of the world who speak some other first language than English and the 75% who have no English of any kind – outside the all-conquering online Anglosphere.”

Read article

21 August 2010

Innovation in Kenya’s informal economy

Making Do
In Making Do: Innovation in Kenya’s Informal Economy, Steve Daniels of Brown University illuminates the dynamics of Africa’s informal economy to enhance our understanding of emerging systems of innovation.

“Wandering through winding alleys dotted with makeshift worksheds, one can’t help but feel clouded by the clanging of hammers on metal, grinding of bandsaws on wood, and the shouts of workers making sales. But soon it becomes clear that this cacophony is really a symphony of socioeconomic interactions that form what is known as the informal economy. In Kenya, engineers in the informal economy are known as jua kali, Swahili for “hot sun,” because they toil each day under intense heat and with limited resources. But despite these conditions, or in fact because of them, the jua kali continuously demonstrate creativity and resourcefulness in solving problems.

In Making Do: Innovation in Kenya’s Informal Economy, Steve Daniels illuminates the dynamics of the sector to enhance our understanding of African systems of innovation. The result of years of research and months of fieldwork, this study examines how the jua kali design, build, and manage through theoretical discussions, visualizations of data, and stories of successful and struggling entrepreneurs. What can we learn from the creativity and bricolage of these engineers? And how can we as external actors engage with the sector in a way that removes barriers to innovation for the jua kali and leverages their knowledge and networks to improve the lives of those who interact with them?”

Download book

28 July 2010

Time to break the cyber-utopian myth

Ethan Zuckerman
Who do you read and associate with online?

Ethan Zuckerman argues in this Guardian video that cultural and linguistic barriers stand in the way of our using the internet to tackle global issues.

21 July 2010

Coercing people into a brave new digital world

Race online
Design consultant Martyn Perks thinks that a UK government-backed campaign to get the entire UK adult population online “threatens to make cyber slaves of us all.”

“Is it not possible that some people simply don’t want to participate in this brave new digital world? After all, wouldn’t it be absurd to coerce people into using mobile phones, TVs or cars – these technologies, too, are beneficial, increasing mobility and interaction with the world. Why all this guilt-tripping about the internet in specific?”

Read article

8 December 2009

Motorola research shows technology use is becoming age-neutral

Media engagement
The 2009 Media Engagement Barometer commissioned by Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility business has revealed a shift in [US] consumer influence that hasn’t been widely recognized yet: age no longer dictates a consumer’s willingness or ability to use media technology or services.

In fact, all generations – Millennials (75 percent), Gen Xers (74 percent) and Boomers (66 percent) – recognize the role entertainment technologies play in helping them keep their lives in order, which helps explain why Millennials (80 percent), Gen Xers (78 percent) and Boomers (78 percent) are equally likely to desire to be constantly connected.

Read press release

(via FutureLab)

31 October 2009

Implementing digital TV in Italy: the other side of the digital revolution

Decoder
Italy is in the process of switching to digital TV, and the implementation is pretty much a disaster, as far as I can tell from the reactions in the region where I live (Piedmont). Many of the problems are technological, but not all. A volunteer force of ‘angels’ is doing what it can:

Here is quick translation of an article from today’s Repubblica newspaper:

“TRENTO – You can take everything away from them, but not the television. Put yourself in the shoes of Mrs. Livia, 78 years old, who lives in the middle of the mountains of the splendid Trentino region, doesn’t come out of the house from November to April, and has her television on all day long. When she was no longer able to watch the TV programs, she picked up the phone and called the ‘decoder angels’. “Help, my television doesn’t work anymore”. She soon became one of 6,000 elderly in the Trentino region who received personal assistance in setting up a digital TV decoder at their home. These are people who cannot (or do not want to) count on the help of children or other family and are already getting into trouble with wiring or the new remote control, let alone the now required channel tuning, which they sometimes have to do several times due to the various repetitor stations in the Trentino valleys.

This is the other side of the digital revolution – the one that after Sardinia and the Aosta Valley has now reached Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige, with a slew of problems, complaints, doubts, protests, and threats not to pay the television tax any longer. Even when everything is fine on a technical level, the work inside the homes is just starting. The elderly are the most vulnerable, as shown by a research done by the Department of Sociology of the University of Trento. The study is based on the work done by the ‘decoder angels’, young people who have been installing decoders for free at the homes of those over 75, on a program subsidised by the local government.

Anxiety, anger, impatience: that’s what you get when you take away the television of an elderly person who is used to have that voice always in the background. It is a trauma for them. And then there are the technical problems: unable to adjust themselves to the double remote control, some elderly get confused, use the tv remote control to change the decoder settings, and vice versa, and then complain because the channel doesn’t change or the volume doesn’t go up. Elderly men, who tend to be more proud than women, try to make do. But it is not easy to connect a television set from the 70’s (yes, the angels also found those) to a decoder from 2009. And that’s if the antenna on the roof is fine and there is a free electrical outlet behind the television.

Panic strikes when an interactive menu appears during channel surfing: better then to turn everything off. Probably those in charge of the switch to digital didn’t think of the fact that those in charge of the implementation would often be the immigrant caretakers of the Italian elderly, who are not always able to read manuals in Italian. “It’s easy to say ‘digital’, but the real challenge is to bring the digital into the real lives of people,” explains Pierfrancesco Fedrizzi, who is in charge of communication for the project. The sociologist Carlo Buzzi, who authored the study, is more critical: he speaks about a revolution that is misunderstood, at least by the elderly users: “They are only interested in watching their usual channels. They don’t know nor understand the digital world, let alone anything interactive. “

26 July 2009

Indian Design for All newsletter features German design

Design for All
The Design for All Institute India has published a special issue of its newsletter together with IDZ International Design Centre, Berlin. Guest Editor is Prof Birgit Weller.

Design for All Institute Of India is a self financed, non-profit voluntary organization, located in Delhi, India, which seeks corporate and public partnership in order to carry forward its very ambitious agenda of pro-actively building bridges of social inclusion between the design community and all other groups whose activities can be positively influenced by a coherent application of design methodology. Design for All means creating products, services and systems to cater to the widest possible range of users’ requirements. We initiated the concept and have received enormous encouragement from domestic as well as International communities.

Download newsletter (125 pages)

17 July 2009

Converting those who have no desire to be converted

UK online
80% of the transactions of the UK Government are done with the bottom 25% of society and migrating services online offers great cost savings. Yet, 17 million Britons have never been online and many of those are poor.

Now the UK has a ‘Digital Champion’ in the person of Martha Lane Fox, erstwhile co-founder of Lastminute.com, who is developing a strategy n changing that.

But does bringing government services online improve people’s lives?

Read full story

14 July 2009

The digital age of rights

Bill Thompson
The digitally deprived have rights too, says BBC News columnist Bill Thompson, who is quite upset about a new French law:

“If it is unacceptable to cut people off from the network because their actions are commercially damaging to the record companies, why is it acceptable to offer them poor or no access to broadband and mobile internet just because providing the service is commercially unattractive to ISPs or network operators?

And if we are to be encouraged to think of access to the internet as a fundamental human right, a prerequisite of having freedom of expression, should we not be prosecuting ISPs over the ‘notspots’ in their mobile or wi-fi coverage, the communities with no access to ADSL because of the telephone network was repaired with aluminium instead of copper, or the areas bypassed by the cable providers? “

Read full story

14 July 2009

danah boyd on new habits in a connected world

danah boyd
danah boyd, a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society, got incensed at an Italian conference and bites back:

“I’m 31 years old. I’ve been online since I was a teen. I’ve grown up with this medium and I embrace each new device that brings me closer to being a cyborg. I want information at my fingertips now and always. There’s no doubt that I’m not mainstream. But I also feel really badly for the info-driven teens and college students out there being told that learning can only happen when they pay attention to an audio-driven lecture in a classroom setting. I read books during my classroom (blatantly not paying attention). Imagine what would’ve happened had I been welcome to let my mind run wild on the topic at hand?

What will it take for us to see technology as a tool for information enhancement? At the very least, how can we embrace those who learn best when they have an outlet for their questions and thoughts? How I long for being connected to be an acceptable part of engagement. “

Read full story

(via The FASTForward Blog)

15 June 2009

Identity crisis in the West and innovation in the developing world

IdeasProject
Nokia’s Ideas Project published two feature stories today:

Digital We: A (Multiple) Identity Crisis
We create new digital identities almost without limit – at the same time new technologies urge us to blur them. Is it a new digital arms race?

“Intentionally or not, the world of bits offers so many opportunities to create information related to ourselves, and for that information to coalesce into something like an identity, that even the most transparent and consistent Net denizens appears in multiple forms in multiple locations. You might say that we’re all suffering from a form of digital schizophrenia.

Yet according to a number of our ideators, the ways in which we coordinate our digital personae is about to change.”

Global Vision, Local Impact
Technology innovations in the developing world generate lasting results

“The developing world has begun to experience a dramatic transformation not only in the adoption of new technologies but in the innovative ways they are being used. Mobile devices in particular have offered unprecedented opportunities to individuals without access many other basic amenities.”

Also on Ideas Project a video interview with Ann Winblad, a well-known and respected software industry entrepreneur and technology leader, who argues that by moving technology from location-based servers to a virtual environment, with expanded if not universal access, the opportunities for innovation increase exponentially.