innovation Archives — Page 3 of 3


Google to foster innovation in Egypt

Posted on September 29, 2011  /  0 Comments

Perhaps the program should have been named for Wael Ghonim. A bus branded with the Google logo will be traveling across 10 governorates in Egypt starting this week, including stops at universities in Cairo and Alexandria, scouting for the next generation of technology entrepreneurs with homegrown ideas on the scale of Facebook or LinkedIn. “We will put someone’s dream through a seven-month crash course that will help turn it into a commercially viable business,” said Wael Fakharany, Google’s manager in Egypt. “We have been working on this concept for nine months. We had signed a contract with the Egyptian government in 2009 to invest in the country’s Internet ecosystem and this is part of that commitment.

The future of m apps

Posted on June 1, 2011  /  0 Comments

I’ve been thinking about m applications for two full days. Not the normal crowd I hang with, regulators, ministry officials, operators; but people who are starting new companies and various people helping them. People working on energy startups, agri-market incubators, and, yes, also ICT entrepreneurs. Two ideas that came up: Most people who think about m apps are still stuck on the Apple App Store. Great model but requires two things LIRNEasia’s people (BOP in emerging Asia) do not have at the present time: smartphones and credit cards to make payments from.
LIRNEasia was invited to introduce its work on understanding how people at the BOP in emerging Asia use ICTs and what kinds of new services they are likely to be interested in at the 4th Global Forum organized by infoDev and the Finnish government in Helsinki, May 28-June 2, 2011. Our research was presented at a “deep dive” session on m applications attended by around 100 people. The slides are here. You will not be able to see the video that I started with, from the above link. The video of Chamara is available here instead.
Some people ask me about 3G. Is this the ISDN [I Still Don’t kNow] of our time? But I tell them that new, new stuff gives zing to an operator. That Mobitel in Sri Lanka got a lot of energy from 3G, even on the 2G side. Now comes more concrete support: If not for the i Phone, T Mobile would not have been sold, say some.

Thinking through innovation

Posted on December 18, 2010  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia is an ideas shop. We live and die by the value of good ideas well communicated. We try to help the organizations that constitute our audience (governments, regulatory agencies, service suppliers and manufacturers in the ICT space) to think new thoughts and implement them in ways that will benefit our people, those at the BOP in emerging Asia. We continually think about how we can do our job better, how we can reinvent ourselves. In this light the long article in the NY Times Magazine seems very relevant.
Occasionally a piece on what the Internet is doing to our brains catches our attention. Sometimes we address topics of censorship and privacy though it is not our main focus. A review of a book on the early days of the printed book in Europe (not Korea) caught our attention. Should be interesting reading–the book. The review definitely is.
CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why we thought of highlighting the issue. The content is interesting and very readable. We publish two e-interviews from July 2010 issue here fully, as they are not available on public domain.
LIRNEasia’s future work will focus on knowledge-based economies, which makes us very interested in stories like this, which place innovation at the center. China’s productivity has been lifted by a massive expansion of private enterprise, and a shift of labour out of agricultural work and into more productive jobs in industry. China’s average return on physical capital is now well above the global average, according to Goldman Sachs. A decade ago it was less than half the world average. Why have the Asian economies led the pack?

Users as innovators

Posted on October 26, 2009  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia has been, for some time, documenting how users at the Bottom of the Pyramid are innovating with ICTs. This story has the views of Eric von Hippel, the guru of the “users and innovators” school on how Twitter has mobilized users as innovators. In the next several weeks, Twitter users will discover two new features, Lists and Retweets, that had the same user-generated beginnings. “Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.
Full participation in the global Internet Economy requires electronic connectivity of considerable complexity. Today, due to a worldwide wave of liberalization and technological and business innovations in the mobile space, much of the world is electronically connected, albeit not at the levels that would fully support participation in the global Internet Economy. Yet, many millions of poor people are engaging in tasks normally associated with the Internet such as information retrieval, payments and remote computing using relatively simple mobiles. Understanding the business model that enabled impressive gains in voice connectivity as well as the beginnings of more-than-voice applications over mobiles is important not only because widespread broadband access among the poor is likely to be achieved by extending this model but because it would be the basis of coherent and efficacious policy and regulatory responses… This is an excerpt from a background report by Rohan Samarajiva, to be presented at “Policy coherence in the application of information and communication technologies for development,” a joint workshop organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Information for Development Program (infoDev) / World Bank from 10-11 September 2009 in Paris. The report has been published in the OECD’s Development […]
What does mobile handset design and Darwin’s theory of evolution have in common. Read the full article for an answer. At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover’s dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators. Competition is fierce in the relatively small Japanese cellphone market, with eight manufacturers. Takeshi Natsuno developed a wireless Internet service that caught on in Japan.
There was some debate on cloud computing on this site some time back. Now here is a reflective piece, arguing again, that cloud computing is inferior to the present model of keeping most data and programs on personal computers: This freedom is at risk in the cloud, where the vendor of a platform has much more control over whether and how to let others write new software. Facebook allows outsiders to add functionality to the site but reserves the right to change that policy at any time, to charge a fee for applications, or to de-emphasize or eliminate apps that court controversy or that they simply don’t like. The iPhone’s outside apps act much more as if they’re in the cloud than on your phone: Apple can decide who gets to write code for your phone and which of those offerings will be allowed to run. The company has used this power in ways that Bill Gates never dreamed of when he was the king of Windows: Apple is reported to have censored e-book apps that contain controversial content, eliminated games with political overtones, and blocked uses for the phone that compete with the company’s products.