Within a decade, every living person on this planet will be connected to cyberspace. Advanced analytics offers unprecedented opportunity for improved development effectiveness, especially in difficult and complex contexts.
Mobile technologies are making cyber accessible to all. Soon, even the most excluded populations – the poorest of the poor, the remote, the socially ostracized, citizens living under authoritarian rule, those cut-off in conflict zones — will be connected. The game-changing significance of this prospect – for development, governance and security – is just starting to be felt.
The digital data produced by our global online nation – information about who we are, what we do, what we say, how we connect – can provide deeper, broader and more inclusive insights into the needs, capacities, vulnerabilities and well-being of communities. It also offers unprecedented opportunity to engage the excluded and empower the local.
Advanced analytics of our digital world is here to stay. Its potential to “do good” is immense. Properly leveraged, it can radically improve policy decision-making, programming architectures and project implementation. Impact evaluations will change fundamentally, as project beneficiaries — intended and unintended — are identified and empowered in novel ways.
The SecDev Foundation has been pioneering the application of advanced analytics for development and impact effectiveness across our thematic programming streams — Open Empowerment, Digital Safety and the Right to Communicate, Violence Prevention and Reduction. We are working with like-minded others to actively test the opportunities of “Big Data for Good,” while documenting and engaging the challenges, pitfalls and limitations. Privacy and data protection issues – and their rapidly evolving frontiers — are front and centre. Watch this space.