[governance] RE: GAID

Michael Gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Mar 6 15:19:28 EST 2007

Hi Sylvia and all,

I agree that Ann-Kristin's suggestion of partnering between CS and
Silicon Valley is a good one although I would want to ensure that the
partnering was done in such a way that it allowed for effective
participation by and resourcing of the grassroots and community based
practitioners--in that way, I think the benefits from such partnering
would be most likely to flow in both directions.

Before there can be useful partnering at the grassroots level there is I
think, a lot of preliminary work that would need to be done in finding
mutually agreeable  strategies, a common language, mutually respectful
working and decision making practices and so on. Not a lot of that
currently exists but these are necessary pre-conditions for effective
working relationships (and have been largely absent from ICT4D
initiatives to this point...

Most appropriately the development of working relationships would be
seen as emergent and iterative processes with appropriate assessment,
feedback and jointly agreed upon frameworks for planning and

Areas where I could see partnering and piloting between ICT4D
practiioners and silicon valley folks quite immediately and practically
would be in: 
*	user based (including gender and assistive sensitive)
applications design for bottom up processes (Intel is doing that right
*	software (linguistic) localization (as MS and Linux/Ubuntu are
currently doing); 
*	strategy development for joint field testing of community based
applications, training programs, implmentations etc.; 
*	the design of collaborative user (community) based
evaluation/assessment systems for applications and implementations (some
discussion going on in India);
*	the joint development of organizational processes and structures
for system and application scaling-up; 
*	the development of strategies for responding to linguistic,
cultural, geographical diversity/complexity in widely dispersed system
applications; and so on.

There are enormous challenges (and opportunities) in responding to the
complexity, variety and sheer scale of dispersed but integrated
bottom-up applications.  It is these challenges (and opportunities) that
are likely to drive the next round of system and applications
development, certainly in LDC's but also I suspect in the OECD's as
well, and it was the sensing of these openings that I think underlies
Intel (and other)'s interest and the interest of those other folks in
Silicon Valley who came along to the GAID meeting.

There has been a lot of discussion of the "bottom of the pyramid"
hypothesis but I think that it is pretty well now accepted (as someone
articulated at the GAID meeting) that Prahalad's approach of focussing
on the grassroots simply as "markets" doesn't work. 

Rather the potential is there if (and oly if) the right kind of
products, systems, applications, training, implementation strategies and
so on can be developed that make sense and are useful for the next
billion or two potential ICT users. 

(I'm also sorry I didn't have a chance to meet up with you and other of
the CS folks attending particularly those attending only the second

Best to all,


Michael Gurstein, Ph.D.
gurstein at gmail.com
Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training 
Vancouver, BC CANADA v6z 2s1
tel: +1-604-602-0624
fax: +1-604-602-0624

-----Original Message-----
From: Sylvia Caras [mailto:sylvia.caras at gmail.com] 
Sent: March 5, 2007 11:10 AM
To: governance at lists.cpsr.org
Subject: Re: [governance] RE: GAID

I think Ann-Kristin's idea is the direction I would also suggest, that
civil society partner with business/Silicon Valley.  My own sense is
that global business interests are trumping States as actors and that
GAID is a recognition of that 'multi-stakeholder' restructuring, as well
as a cost-shifting attempt.

Michael, I'm sorry we didn't get to talk when we were both in the same

Sylvia ____________________________________________________________
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