Retrospective: Digital Strategies For Development Summit 2014

On the 2nd and 3rd of October 2014, over 450 participants and 50 speakers gathered at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati City, Philippines. They came together for the Digital Strategies For Development Summit (DSDS), a two-day conference where the civil society, social enterprises, private sector and government agencies can contribute ideas to make use of the potential digital technology has at a developmental framework.

Under the premise that most socio-economic problems have a solution inspired by digital technologies, the summit sought to bring people together and create a plan for the next three years. The event targeted many, from the national and local government to tech-savvy entrepreneurial youth. All were welcome to share how technology is driving growth and development in their respective communities.

There were five streams focused on at the summit:

- Youth, Education and Employment

- Good Governance

- Disaster Management and Climate Change

- Health

- Social Innovation and Enterprises

Kicking off the event was Juan Miguel Luz, dean of AIM, who emphasised on the vital role that digital technology holds in solving issues of the world. He said, “Digital technology is relevant in making sense of the complex world and how to handle these complexities.” He noted that the private sector and NGOs have been playing a crucial part in tackling these challenges.

JuanJuan Miguel Luz, AIM Dean. Photo Credit: DSDS 2014

Essentially also an event for networking, Juan added, “Networking is the new arithmetic; because it is not just about the number of people you’re connected with; but more on the number of connections you have with friends.”

Sreenivas Narayanan, Managing Director of ASSIST, said that though digital technology may not be the only answer, it has the power to make work by thought leaders and development pioneers more efficient.

At geeksincambodia, we always discuss how ICT can help various sectors. Bart Edes, ADB Chair of Social Development and Poverty Community of Practice, said that on one hand ICT is a tool that shifts education towards “student-centred learning.” However, it also improves the status of health as ICT provides greater inclusiveness and access.

BartBart Edes, ADB Chair of Social Development and Poverty Community of Practice.

Photo Credit: DSDS 2014.

Connected Action Group Chief Social Scientist Marc Smith spoke about Social Network Analysis, which is the use of network theory to analyse social networks. He mentioned how they can be used to analyse and maximise the benefits of digital technology.

MarcMarc Smith, Connected Action Group Chief Social Scientist. Photo Credit: DSDS 2014.

Apart from the main talks, there were also parallel breakout sessions at the summit. These sessions showcased solutions and upcoming innovations with regards to the five streams mentioned earlier. Some of those included:

- Spark Biz: An e-Governance platform where LGUs and investors can collaborate to advance local economic development through community implementation

- Community Health Information System (CHITS): A health tool, to establish electronic medical records for improved access to public health care

- Kid Camp: A social initiative catering to children with Autism, to help them concentrate on and comprehend more information

- ICLEI: A disaster management network that conducts projects for climate change mitigation

- 1-text message story: An education programme where a child’s reading can be improved through daily text messages

The summit served as the launch of the ‘TechLab’, a three-year programme which is the collaboration of ASSIST, AIM the Local Government Academy (LGA) and Civika. Small conferences as well as workshops about technology for development will happen in the upcoming years.

Find out about the summit here, and check out more pictures here.