People often view technology more as a tool than as part of the solution to larger problems. That's at least how Kristi Ragan, DAI strategic adviser to USAID's Global Development Alliance, explains why the aid community has not yet fully utilized technology for its work. Rethinking our approach to technology can help us find ways to improve development, for instance by creating online networks that share information and build partnerships to benefit the poor, said Ragan at a Feb. 10 panel discussion in Washington on network-centric development. The event was hosted by DAI and organized by Devex.
Ragan went on to discuss new USAID strategies to spur aid innovation and the importance of trust in online networks. The event also featured DAI's Ulrich Ernst, who spoke about the potential of online networks and mobile phones, as well as Development Practitioners Forum President Tony Barclay. Guy Ben-Ari, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, highlighted civil-military cooperation and key prerequisites for building networks of development stakeholders. Cesar Hidalgo, of Harvard's Center for International Development, spoke about the Internet's role to foster community, and how network science may explain economic growth patterns.