Local economic development

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Who participated in the huddle

Samir Bejaoui
Barbara Schelkle
Chahira Nouira
Felician Ncheye
Grégoire Labhardt
Lilia Efimova
Lilia Efimova
John David Smith
Josien Kapma

We ended up with a small and changing group over the two days. Chahira, Felician, Lilia, Gregoire, ... and more were in it. John did a video with Joseph of FADECO farm radio in Tanzania which provided the focus of day 2.

A related discussion is here: Business models for learning communities

Ideas for local economic development huddle


Connect to your neighbour - over the web or using other technologies! Re-thinking local development - with online tools of all sorts. This huddle is about the increasing geo-localization of technology-mediated connections and communities, or local groups going online.

Conversely, how do technologies change our experience of "local" and therefore the challenges of "local economic development"?

We're going to identify resources using the tag "localweb" ... see http://delicious.com/tag/localweb ... Please chip in, even if you can't join us for the huddle.

This is a remarkable report in The Economist: A special report on telecoms in emerging markets Mobile marvels. Poor countries have already benefited hugely from mobile phones. Now get ready for a second round, says Tom Standage in the Sep 26th 2009 issue of The Economist.

Questions / Issues

Is there an increasing geo-localization of online connections and communities? How may online tools be able to support local communities (neighbourhoods, regions) in -socio-economic- development? Why is progress so slow (if it is). Why is this a difficult subject? (which it is).

What can we learn from the evolution of business models that have revolutionized mobile phone access?


  • We are all invited to bring an example of a local community that is affected by its connections with the rest of the world via technology.
  • New wiki example: focus on economic issues

Process for local economic development

Outcome of local economic development

Big questions

Here are the recommended questions for reporting out:

  • What are the big issues
  • Interesting examples, stories, examples
  • What's unique about this huddle?
  • What are the cross-cutting issues in this huddle?
  • What actions should we take?

The 3 big problems

as we have formulated them:

  1. What are the different things that we mean by "local development"? How does knowledge sharing support social, economic, and sustainable local development
  2. How can technology help local knowledge sharing? what types of technology are socially appropriate? (Platforms discussed in our huddle range from radio, to local area networks to Facebook groups to SMS)
  3. what are the conditions that enable technology to help knowledge sharing that impact local development?
    • how can KS be self-financed / self-resourced?
    • HOw can local knowledgesharing be sustainably energied? What are usaeful incentives or requisite conditions?
    • Does knowledge sharing always we need a paid facilitator?
    • What are the network dynamics or motivations in "old fashioned villages" in new online villages?
    • What are the economic conditions for sustainable development?
    • What is the role of institutions? What can we do without?

Local development examples

  • Expat finds English-speaking baby-sitter in a rural area of The Netherlands
  • Timing tomato planting using regional weather forecast (Several examples come from "Mobile marvels: A special report on telecoms in emerging markets. " Poor countries have already benefited hugely from mobile phones. Now get ready for a second round, says Tom Standage" in the Sep 26th 2009 issue.
  • Anonymous calls to radio station expose corruption
  • Text messages to find market price of agricultural products
  • local best practices, local heroes celebrated by telecenter in tanzania
  • Sending mobile pictures to local expertise center
  • sick cow in Portugal reported & diagnosed as foot & mouth disease using outside advice (what was local? what was the incentive? financial compensation)
  • traditional knowledge documented, so community "forgetting" is slowed
  • ICT-cards co-created & sold, mentoring ICT skills
  • migrant (ICT platform to stay in touch
  • selling phone-time providing jobs to women
  • transfer & store credit over phones

the money issue

  • ning community of all kinds of people wanting go be involved in a specific location. Advertisements sold to vendors with an interest.
  • expat websites as a model for local development?
  • Who pays? users, vendors?
  • what are people willing to pay for? Information, knowledge, sense-making?
  • Local development is NOT about making money, but making money is a key factor is making local development processes sustainable.
  • knowledge sharing & connections are essential for local development
  • centralized / decentralized processes are bogth needed
  • What do we have locally? knowledge maps, giving access, local knowledge, documentation
  • Knowledge sharing benefits include but NOT limited to economic benefits
  • How do we find places , information about places online?
  • Sharing and community may have old-fashioned connotations
  • Online and offline bridges over the technology divide.

See also: Business models for learning communities