Champions of ICT Initiatives in Developing Countries: Who are they and how do they do it?

When: 19th Feb 2018, 18:00 - 19th Feb 2018, 20:30
Where: Manchester Metropolitan Business School, 3rd Floor, Room 3.05 (S Atrium), All Saints Building, All Saints, Manchester, M15 6BH
Town/City: Manchester
Organiser: BCS Manchester Branch
Price: Free
Further Information: Further Information


Dr Jaco Renken, University of Manchester


Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) initiatives, have an uneven success track record, at best. Consensus about the causes of failure is illusive; however, opinions broadly converge around the insufficient consideration of unique contextual factors as well as taking inadequate account of the socio-technical nature of ICT-enabled initiatives. Key individuals - ICT4D champions - can play an important role to mitigate some of these risks as they enthusiastically promote project progress through critical stages. But who are these individuals and how do they go about championing initiatives?

The presentation will answer these questions drawing on recently completed doctoral research that explored the role of champions in three ICT4D initiatives in South Africa. In-depth analysis of those champions will form the basis for sharing our findings, firstly, about who they are: their origins, competencies, motivations and characteristics. Secondly, the research led to some insights about how they go about championing initiatives: their orientations towards results, relationships and resources.

These findings are important because, as will be argued, it offers actionable guidance on how to harness the potential positive contributions of these key individuals - how they can be identified, developed, deployed and supported. The implications of this research are, in the first instance, applicable to ICT4D initiatives, but IS projects more generally can also draw actionable lessons from the findings that will be presented.

About the speaker

Jaco Renken is a Lecturer in Information Systems at The University of Manchester and is an active member of the Manchester Centre for Development Informatics. His academic career includes lectureships held at the South African Military Academy and University of Botswana. With a background in information systems, his research interests lie at the intersection between information and communications technologies (ICT) and socio-economic development. Current research is focused on: i) Champions and leaders and their role in socio-economic development, particularly where ICTs form part of initiatives; ii) The implications of data-intensive development, particularly new forms of data such and big and open data. The experience from living and working in developing countries is now brought to bear on ICT4D-focussed teaching and research as part of the Manchester Global Development Institute. 

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