In Bangladesh, millions of people are learning English using a service they can call up by dialling 3000 on a mobile phone. In Mexico, five million people are part of a collaborative consumption platform which gives them round the clock medical support and discounts on medical treatments, all for an additional $5 a month on their mobile phone bill. In Sao Paulo, a site that gathers the best that the city has to offer that is free and cheap - from exhibitions and concerts to yoga and psychoanalysis - gets 8m page views a day, making it the fifth most visited site in the country. more >
Whether it be global tech businesses being grilled by the Public Accounts Committee; the launch of 4G networks or the adverts vying for pre-Christmas attention, digital technologies: computers, mobile phones, the internet, have been in the public eye quite a lot recently.
Bran Ferren (somewhat) famously said that technology is ‘stuff that doesn’t work yet’ – we don’t think of biros or belts as ‘technologies’ (that is purposefully designed and made tools), because they’re woven into everyday life and work as we’d expect. But how about ‘digital technologies’ – when will they stop being ‘technologies’ and start, simply, being the internet, apps or micro-processors? The answer, is when they become more trivial, when we recognise the implicit value in them and understand how they are constructed and work.
One of the questions that should keep any funder awake at night is: are we doing the best that can be done with the money?
Answering this naturally leads any funder to ask how do we measure our success?
On one level they can obviously reflect on the work of the projects they fund or partner with. After all, a core measure of success is what happens with the money. But in a wider sense, funders work in different ways and so to understand their effectiveness there has to be an understanding of the strengths or weaknesses of their funding model. For example, are they all about supporting the continuation of work by existing organisations? Or are they an early stage investor who tries to get new ideas off the ground? In this case, how do you measure success when you're starting up new projects? more >