The epiphany of “open” and IATI

The IATI standard is meant to make it easier to exchange and compare information about activities and funding flows in development aid worldwide. But it can be useful within a (network of) organisations as well, even if you don’t feel ready to share that data with the rest of the world (yet). Large organisations are […]

A sea change in international development

A few years ago, I could not have imagined myself ever considering the World Bank a shining light on what needs to happen in international development. But today’s TED talk by Sanjay Pradhan, vice president of the World Bank Institute, is such a shining example. We come to this crossroads from very different directions, but […]

Let’s build a “Debian for Development Data”

Open Data (photo Jonathan Gray)Open Data (photo Jonathan Gray)I just returned from an intense week in the UK: an IKM Emergent workshop in Oxford, and the  Open Government Data Camp in London had me almost drowning in “open data” examples and conversations, with a particular angle on aid data and the perspectives of international development.

As the result of that, I think we’re ready for a “Debian for Development Data”: a collection of data sets, applications and documentation to service community development, curated by a network of people and organisations who share crucial values on democratisation of information and empowerment of people.

Designing sociality for Nabuur

Nabuur has been pioneering online volunteering since 2001, and is currently redesigning their organisation: how to put "web 2.0" into the DNA of everything that’s happening? And how to engineer that, rather than try and hope it works?


So I spent the day with Nabuur team members, who invited René Jansen to facilitate drilling down to the core of their activities. René is one of the authors of "The Realm of Sociality: Notes on the design of social software", a paper which won the Best Paper Award 2007 at the “International Conference on Information Systems” in Montreal, last December, and (to me, at least) introduces the concept of "sociality" as the centre of the design process.

Private initiatives for international development should organise

Lau Schulpen of CIDIN at the Radboud University in Nijmegen researched the effectiveness of Dutch "private initiatives" working in international development. Last week, his first findings were published, and created a little storm in the Dutch development sector (see e.g. the Dutch Trouw newspaper, copied by most other papers). I’m just returning from a presentation of his results, followed by a debate with Henny Helmich of NCDO, and Robert Wiggers of Wilde Ganzen: two organisations who fund a lot actvities of private initiatives. My take-away: private initiatives need a branch organisation, a kind of union.