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The Dynamics of Technology for Social Change

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Resource posted by: Internaut Consulting, Inc.

Created on: October 15, 2012

Resource description

Focus: The book's primary objective is to help people understand how to successfully design, implement, and evaluate ICT projects in a complicated landscape, by explaining the underlying principles that influence outcomes. Issues are addressed from the unique perspective of an implementer with both operational and programmatic experience rather than as a research scientist or academician. Although The Dynamics of Technology for Social Change is not written to prove how or if technology facilitates social benefit, examples abound from the author's own experience that provide insight into how it does.

What makes the book unique is its focus on institutional as well as technology dynamics. It explains institutional behavior within and across sectors -- and how it impacts the implementation objectives of any project. These dynamics, and the accompanying strategies to successfully negotiate them, are applicable to many initiatives meeting social objectives outside the realm of technology.

A recurring theme throughout the book is that mission-based nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in facilitating social change through ICT. They are the institutions most beholden to their end users and often play an intermediary role for donors and investors attempting to accomplish their social objectives through them. Nonprofits make the necessary translation of the varyingThe topics explored include organizational capacity, cross-sector partnerships, implementation, marketing, project evaluation, social return on investment and sustainability. metrics, currency, objectives and language other sectors use and translate their resources into results. Unlike the private sector however, nonprofits are far more dependent on outside resources to meet critical needs, most notably their core capacity to operate. These capacity investment decisions are often based less on real need than on the mission objectives of the outside investor/donor and the perceptions of the nonprofit's constituency as to where the money should be spent. This creates a unique set of dynamics that differ from the private-sector where businesses generate income and can determine for themselves how to invest in their capacity to support operational needs. How these, and other dynamics, affect outcomes as well as strategies to effectively deal with these realities are explained.