Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies (TPPI)

‘Not Just Talk – clever services on cheap mobile phones make a powerful combination’, says The Economist (1 Jan 2011). ‘Organisations around the world are finding innovative ways to solve humanitarian disaster issues with design and technology’ says Wired. Increased connectivity and the new forms of collaboration and services supported by mobile phones and Web 2.0 platforms have raised expectations on how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can support the lives and livelihoods for the poor.

Is this shift in collective imaginings representative of real change or are we once more beguiled by the sense of possibility opened up by the latest wave of innovations? Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies is a new IDS research initiative that seeks to critically examine the opportunities and challenges that the new generation of ICT innovations pose for poor and vulnerable groups.

The initiative, which brings together academic and technology development partners seeks to understand:

  • The potential of ICTs to support the co-creation of valued information and ‘user-led’ innovation for development and for poor and vulnerable people.
  • The new risks, and trust and governance issues which are associated with the use of ICTs for poor people and communities, especially in response to crises and planning and in the provision of health advice and information.

Our goal is to develop a cutting edge, interdisciplinary research agenda that is grounded on an in-depth understanding of key issues, power dynamics and and trade offs which are involved in the development and delivery of information services for pro-poor development.

To achieve this we are:

  • Undertaking a critical literature review on the implications of ICTs for crisis prevention, response and health in relation to livelihoods, capabilities, user-led innovation and information intermediaries;
  • Conducting two case studies on the dynamics of innovation behind applications and services for health and crisis response;
  • Organising a workshop on knowledge co-construction at IDS on 16-17 September 2013.