Photo Credit: DFID - UK Department For International Development

The Importance Of Best Practices In Technology In International Development

Leadership within development organizations often have a difficult time making decisions when it comes to technology.The multitude of possible combinations of technology products and methodologies can be intimidating even to the most experienced practitioner.  

Furthermore, the overall trend in applications of technology within development has been a series of one-off’s developed in silos by sector, geography or organization. This has led to numerous difficulties including complications surrounding information and data sharing which is slowing progress in research and in development in general.

In order to compensate for this problem, over the years there have been a number of attempts to establish best practices for using ICT’s in development. One of the first was UNICEF Innovation Principles of 2009, soon after came Greentree’s version in 2010 as well as the the U.K. Design Principles among others.

The Principles For Digital Development are the culmination of a year long process involving over 500 experts representing over 100 organizations within the international development sector. To date, as far as we are aware this is the best guide to use when thinking about how to use technology most efficiently in global development projects.

We firmly agree with the principles outlined below and always seek to apply them in practice as a central business process here at Tech Love. 

The Principles For Digital Development

  • Design with the user
  • Understand the Existing Ecosystem
  • Design For Scale
  • Build For Sustainability
  • Be Data Driven
  • Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation
  • Reuse and Improve
  • Address Privacy & Security
  • Be Collaborative

Jaclyn Hawtin

Jaclyn Hawtin (M.S. Tech), a San Francisco based Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Tech Love is an award winning entrepreneur with extensive experience advising start-up ventures. Her unique methodological approach developed through years of academic research and experimentation on making 'right technology' decisions in the workplace has proven invaluable to Tech Love's client base. She also currently serves as a mentor to entrepreneurs at House of Genius and advises a number of international nonprofits and NGO's on best practices for applying technology in international development.

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