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For October, 2014

Patterns in Innovation & Change: Use of the Internet

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This is the second of two discussion in September 2014 with Akvo in London.

This is the second of two discussion in September 2014 with Akvo in London. This one is between Mark Charmer, Director of Communications and myself. As with the first discussion this can be viewed on YouTube by clicking on video under each of the five headings below when you scroll down.

Mark Charmer

Mark Charmer

John Bristow

John Bristow

The first discussion covered how Akvo with their software tools and training helps people to use the internet and mobile communications to monitor aid activity for international development more easily and share the information in different media quickly and effectively with others. This can increase the connectivity between the organisations involved locally and internationally so that they can solve problems, network, learn and innovate together more effectively and quickly to address urgent needs. The use of the internet and mobile communications can also enable them to discover and learn more effective and efficient ways of organising and free people up to make a big difference more quickly – and see the results. For more info: see the first discussion and/or visit their website.

Their purpose as an organisation is directly relevant to one of the aims of my website: to promote use of the internet for creating the infrastructure and relationships for faster problem solving, learning and innovation to address the problems of this century, and to help bring about transformational changes where needed in the systems which shape the way we think, feel and act and through which our societies are informally and formally co-ordinated and organised – in this case helping poorer countries to lift themselves out of poverty.

In this the second discussion we drew out of examples some of the enabling conditions for systemic changes in complex systems to keep pace with the challenges of our times. We started with how the use of the internet that Akvo supports in the area of international development can foster these conditions and the learning together needed to make the changes. Diversity with integration, stability with change, self-organising alongside direction, boundaries and control – and ease of data collection for monitoring and for fast, honest and valid feedback, were some of the characteristics of these enabling conditions.

Changes in the way aid organisations work and work together are systemic, as they are not just working in the same way and making improvements as best they can within the current system and way of working. They are transformational changes in the system in which they work – the system guiding the thinking, decisions, actions, behaviour of the people and organisations, and the connectivity, interaction and cooperation between them. The system as a whole, which they create together through their actions and exchanges, moves into another form. Having the tools and training to use the internet and mobile communications differently can help bring these changes about. We need such systemic change, we suggest, to make best use of aid to help poorer countries to meet the basic human needs of people within them, and to ensure that big investments in their infrastructure fit the requirements of these countries in the 21st century.

Here are the videos of the discussion in five parts:

1. Introduction by John Bristow

            video   on YouTube                                                                                                    

2. Use of Technology and Networking for Monitoring, Learning and Co-ordination

            video    on YouTube

3. Mixed Forms of Leadership and Organising

            video    on YouTube

4. Direction, Structure and Self-Organising

             video    on YouTube

5. Understanding and Enabling Change in Societies

              video   on YouTube

 

 

 

 

Innovation in International Development: Akvo’s Contribution

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Akvo helps people and organisations to use information and communications technology to collect and share information more easily, and co-operate more effectively, to improve and speed up aid for international development worldwide. Their purpose as an organisation is directly relevant to the themes of this website: using the internet for creating the infrastructure and relationships for faster problem solving, learning and innovation in addressing the problems of this century – in this case helping the poorer countries to lift themselves out of poverty. Scroll down to links to a video recording of a discussion with their London-based communications director.

Akvo builds open source internet and mobile software which is designed to support international development partnership networks and make co-operation and aid activity more effective and transparent. The technology enables greater connectivity between people and organisations from different sectors involved in aid activity across the world, and creates the infrastructure to free people up to discover and learn more efficient and effective ways of organising. Using the same tools Akvo itself is developing new forms of organising for its work as a small multinational organization that supports and partners with a large number of organisations involved in international development around the world.

They provide their software as a service, backed by a global partner-support and training team. Akvo’s tools are used by over 1,800 organisations around the world from small local NGOs to national governments and multilateral aid organisations.  Visit their website

Akvo RSR stands for Really Simple Reporting. It’s a web- and Android-based system that makes it easy for development aid teams to bring complex networks of projects online with paperless reporting directly from the field.

Akvo FLOW is a mobile phone and online service that transforms field monitoring using Android smartphones. Organisations use Akvo FLOW to evaluate their development aid activities and make informed decisions based on accurate, current data.

Akvo Openaid helps governments and big international organisations present aid-spend data online in easy to navigate ways so they can meet transparency obligations.

Akvopedia is a portal for online knowledge on smart, low-cost, sustainable water and sanitation technology and approaches.

Akvo is a non-profit foundation headquartered in the Netherlands with staff in 13 countries across five continents. Akvo’s tools are open source and used by around 2,000 organisations throughout the world in areas such as water, sanitation, health, education, food security and economic development.

Mark Charmer

Mark Charmer

Jo Pratt

Jo Pratt

Here below are the links to 6 video clips  of a half hour conversation with

Mark Charmer a co-founder and  communications director in Akvo, and  Jo  Pratt, a  communications manager.

They are based in London, England.

The Video is in six parts. Click on Video  under each heading to view on YouTube.

How Akvo supports improvement & innovation in aid activity for International Development

 1. Introduction

      video  on YouTube

 2. Innovating as an organisation using the internet

      video  on YouTube

 3. How Akvo started

      video on YouTube

 4. Using the internet and mobile communications  to improve monitoring, learning  and co-operation in and between organisations – 1

       video  on YouTube

 5. Using the internet and mobile communications  to improve monitoring, learning and co-operation in and between organisations – 2

       video  on YouTube

 6. Helping organisations discover and learn more efficient and effective ways of working using the internet and mobile communications

       video  on YouTube

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