Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Release: My UN Commissioned Report on Innovation in the ICT's in Education sector

In February of 2016, I was approached by UNESCO to come up with a report to advise the UN Education Commission on the role of prizes in shaping innovation in the education sector. After months of research, and evaluation, I was thrilled to learn that the report made its way into the policy pathway. This paper was prepared for the International Commission on Financing Global Education.

Basically, here is the executive summary for the report. If interested, click here to get access to the final report.

The use of prizes to stimulate innovation in education has dramatically increased in recent
years, but, to date, no organization has attempted to critically examine the impact these
prizes have had on education. This report attempts to fill this gap by conducting a landscape
review of education prizes with a focus on technology innovation in developing countries.
This report critically analyses the diversity of education prizes to gauge the extent to which
these new funding mechanisms lead to innovative solutions in this sector. This is
supplemented with interviews with sponsors and prize participants to gain the muchneeded
practitioner’s perspective. We address important questions that pervade as prizes
are being implemented in this sector: What seems to be working and why? How do prizes
compare to other funding mechanisms to stimulate technology innovations? How is
sustainability achieved? What can be learned that can inform the design of future prizes?

We structure our recommendations along the Doblin framework, which entails analyzing
the design of prizes along the criteria of Resources (sponsorships & partnerships), Structure (types of prizes, eligibility criteria, scope, types of ICT projects, phases, & intellectual property rights), Motivators (monetary & non-monetary Incentives, Communications (marketing), and, Evaluation (measuring impact and long-term sustainability). 

Through this process, a number of important assumptions are re-examined, namely, that technology innovation is central to educational reform, prizes stimulate innovation, scalability is a proxy for sustainability, and prizes are the most efficient funding mechanism to stimulate innovation. We re-calibrate expectations of technology innovation prizes in the educational field against empirical evidence. We reveal key trends through the deploying of prizes in this field and offer case studies as good practices for sponsors to consider when designing future prizes. The report makes recommendations along each of the given criteria to enhance the impact of prizes, drawing from interdisciplinary sources. The intent of this report is to enable sponsors to distinguish the hype surrounding these prizes and proceed to design prizes that can best serve the education sector.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Alan McSmith: Time to get in touch with your wild side

For every ten of those Mac worshiping, crackberry addicted, Starbucks weekend worker bees, there is always someone who makes noise of living simply, living deeply, living…period. Modern life is defined by this antithesis; the romanticism of nature rises as we get more technologically dependent and removed from the workings of the daily struggles for sustenance. We immerse in nature temporarily and dwell deeply in concrete worlds; we prefer to be unfamiliar with nature and familiar with the city, our daily landscape that we navigate through. But every once in a while we are called upon to pause, to pay attention, to reflect by physically and emotively experiencing the environment that nurtures us, with a hope that we will realize why it needs to be nurtured in turn. Alan McSmith, a nature guide who has worked for 25 years in the wilderness of Africa and an advocate for environment conservation, is one such soul. His talk starts with the audience surrounding a digital campfire on the stage screen, transporting us to the dark and mysterious spaces of the Kalahari desert. We are taken on a journey through nature, as we put on our blindfolds and listen to his words: ...you feel the wind going through the trees ...you are out of your comfort zone ...a leopard is heard at a distance ...baboons ...the leopard and the baboons become your fear ...are you afraid of losing control? ...resist the temptation to lift the blindfold ...you feel the sunshine on your legs, your belly and eventually much to your relief, you feel the sunshine on your face ...you’ve done it! The audience looks like they’ve come out of a hypnotic state, opening up to his message about nature as a way of life. He wryly remarks, “you by now have figured that my office is slightly different from yours,” and goes on to talk about how our connection with nature, regardless of where we live, will keep us rooted and stable. He has given each of the members a stone to hold onto, a humble reminder of the bigger picture, “whenever you feel threatened by a baboon in a boardroom for instance, the stone will bring you back to this point.” McSmith hopes that we strive to create a balance, that of human innovation with humility towards nature. As we know, this is rarely looked at as a balance but rather competing principles as modernity has pushed us to make difficult decisions and we have often chosen the path of paying the price with nature. It seems like an inevitability that social development and the wilderness are in conflict. Yet what would happen if we felt this was not an option and that nature was a necessity for keeping our humanity, would we innovate differently? McSmith calls us to experience the simple living that the wilderness challenges us with, knowing that its often easier to hide behind the complex meanderings of the social web. Remember the Walden Pond experience of the 1800s where Henry David Thoreau decided to live with and within nature to reclaim his humanity? “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Naiveté to some, inspirational to many, we occasionally get a strong social voice that pushes us to explore what it means to get in touch with our wild side. McSmith extends this tradition of seeking and thinking as he states, “wilderness is more than just a place, it is a way of life!” CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO OF TALK ON TEDx AMSTERDAM website: