iHub Research at ICTD 2012 Conference (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)

By Angela Okune
iHub Research
  Published 13 Mar 2012
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iHub Research is happy to be part of the ICTD 2012 conference being held in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is running from March 12 – 15th, 2012 and has brought together the most passionate ICTD practitioners and academics. This morning opened with a keynote speech from our very own David Kobia, co-founder of Ushahidi. David championed for a revisiting of the “D” aspect of the term, “ICTD”, before diving into an in-depth explanation of Ushahidi and its 3 major platforms (including Swiftriver, which was officially relaunched today). Important to keep in mind, David mentioned, is that a map is only as useful as the people who use it. A crowdsourcing platform must thus be easy to deploy, intuitive to use, simple to localize and customize. David emphasized that a software solution like Ushahidi is only 10% of the solution and the real power of the tool is only realized when the deployment itself is on point. iHub Research was proud to be highlighted in David’s address and even more excited by the questions and enthusiasm raised by the audience during the question and answer session. iHub Research then joined other African researchers including Jonathan Donner, Kentaro Toyama, Shikoh Gitau, Gary Marsden, Kathleen Diga, and Margaret Nyambura among many others for the ICTD African Researchers Network Session held from 10 am – 1 pm. The main aims of the Network are:
  • Amplifying individual voices and raising the visibility of African ICTD researchers;
  • Creating a space for researchers to tell their own story;
  • Shaping the ICTD discourse on quality research and acceptable publication options; and
  • Improving quality of research and publication output from Africa, ultimately with the goal of closing the participation gap in ICTD research.
Some of the suggestions that came out of the discussion-based session were for Africa-based researchers to get some mentors to help in the academic paper writing process as well as to review drafted papers. One African researcher also added that is it good to have a trusted network of people who can review your paper and critique it. Gary Marsden, an iHub Researcher mentor and ICT Professor at UCT recommended that researchers look into publishing in ITID, an open journal publication with a shorter turn-around time than many comparable journals. During the ICTD African Researchers Network Session, it was also announced that the next ICTD conference in 2013 will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. It is extremely exciting that we will be having the next ICTD conference on the African continent (and it will be a much shorter flight from Nairobi!). iHub Research is already looking forward to taking an active role in the discourse there. For the remainder of the afternoon, iHub Research participated in the SPIDER open session which discussed SPIDER’s idea for a mapping and match-making application that maps who is doing what and where as related to ICTD initiatives around the world; an e-government session; and a Failfaire that highlighted lessons learned from various ICTD projects which “failed.” Kentaro Toyama, Revi Sterling, Linda Raftree, Anahi Ayala, and Richard Anderson presented a wide range of topics from a “failed” development theory to project-specific “failures”. Some of the take-aways from Day 1 of ICTD 2012:
  • Know the path to get to your goal
  • Have a plan B (and C and D…)
  • Know who is clearly accountable for what items.
  • Negative results help to move forward. We need to get used to negative results and not necessarily think of them as “failures.” A negative result IS a result. We need to have negative results within the ICTD sector and publish them!
On Tuesday, March 13th and Wednesday, March 14th, the Plenary Sessions of the ICTD 2012 Conference will be streamed live through the home page (www.ictd2012.org). The live stream will start at 9:00am, Atlanta time. Participate through the live stream! NOTE: photos from the conference will be up in the next few days!
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