Leapfrogging the First World
Emerging markets face unique challenges when it comes to technology innovation and adoption: poverty, cultural obstacles, lack of supporting infrastructure. But in some cases, these so-called third world markets are using technology in incredibly resourceful ways – to improve access to education, protect civil liberties, promote women's rights – and are catching up to first-world innovation.
We'll discuss a few case studies covering innovations such as textbooks delivered via low-end feature-phone SIM cards for students in the Philippines who can't afford laptops and tablets; and initiatives designed to give women more access and ownership of technology, such as Oxfam's Pink Phone project in Cambodia.
These examples can point toward innovative solutions for emerging markets that are truly scalable and can work to overcome local barriers and enrich the lives of people all over the world.
I grew up in the third world and now create technology products in the first world (currently for Facebook, and previously for Google and R/GA). I believe the promise of humanity is locked in the majority of the world that we refer to as "emerging" – and that technology is the key that can unlock that promise.
I design communication solutions with the Facebook Creative Shop, and teach digital media design at the School of Visual Arts. I'm on the board of the AIGA, the international professional guild for designers.
I'll be speaking on the topic of innovation in emerging markets, on March 11: "Leapfrogging the First World."