Of golf balls and flirting: Web4Dev intro notes

Ann Venemon, Exec Dir of UNICEF and John Gage introduced the Web4Dev conference:

  • Both spoke very much about mobiles as the ICT for development. Also on biotech innovation as key to really moving the needle in reaching the MDGs.
  • It took 72 days for Christopher Columbus to reach the New World. Information can traverse the same distance at almost the speed of light — 280 million times faster than Columbus. This means that relatively speaking, the earth is now the size of a golf ball.
  • John Gage loves the Kindle and predicts that within 3 years ebook readers will cost $10.
  • A very powerful way to change behaviour is to show people what they’re doing and how much it costs them. For example, showing people how much carbon they emit and what they pay for that,will bring it home to them that they need to change.
  • Using the locative capabilities of mobile phones, providing services can become much more efficient. Efficiency is the most important thing in a downturn.
  • Someone asked how best to get people in the developing world to participate in ICT networks. John Gage responded that when it comes to engaging youth, the best way is through music, sport, gaming and flirting.
  • John Gage: leave traces of yourself on the web, what you’re doing, thinking about, etc. Buy every UN employee a basic camera to share their experiences. That’s how to spread information about innovation. (Clay Shirky articulates this very well in Here Comes Everybody.)
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