ICT4D, SOUTH AMERICA

I received NSF funding (starting summer 2014) for this project with Paul Leonardi (UC Santa Barbara), a four-year $1.4M collaborative endeavor. 

 

Information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) projects have grown in prominence in recent years, accounting for over $10B in U.S. and international government funding in the past five years. Yet, many of these projects fail. The literature’s answer for why ICT4D projects fail centers on the inability of technology designers—often Westerners sitting in developed countries—to understand the needs and context of users in developing countries. We intend to go beyond a strict technology focus by exploring the interplay between technology plans and development goals. Our aim is to build strong theory that can predict project success and, ultimately, guide decisions about funding, designing, and implementing ICT4D projects. 

 

Data Collection to Date

In August 2014, UT Austin doctoral student Caroline Stratton and I visited five Latin American countries - Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina - to meet with and interview people in ICT4D projects and agencies. Our goal was to identify sites for in-depth field work in 2015 and beyond. Beginning in May 2015, Caroline returned to Colombia and Bolivia to carry out three months of fieldwork in each site. In summer 2015, three UT Austin School of Information master's students conducted three months of fieldwork in each of Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay. 

 

Research Team

Our team has two US PIs, Paul Leonardi and me. Additionally, in Spain, we are joined by Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma. UT students working as research assistants on this project include doctoral student Caroline Stratton and master's students Brian Eggert, Monica Lozano, and Esmeralda Moscatelli. 

 

Funding

Our work is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation under grant IIS-1412924. We thank William Bainbridge of the NSF for providing this support and for his enthusiasm for this work.