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5 Steps to Social Innovation with ICT

By Guest Writer on December 4, 2013


IICD uses a distinctive participatory and multi-stakeholder approach in developing social innovation programs with information and communication technologies.

Whereas many ICT for Development (ICT4D) projects focus on the transfer of new or innovative technologies, IICD focuses not on technology, but on people. More than 15 years of experience has proven that this approach works. In 80% of IICD projects, partner organisations succeed in integrating ICT into their core business by the end of the project period. This is an impressive track record compared to the average sustainability figure of 15% for ICT4D projects.

IICD’s focus is on strengthening individual, organisational and institutional capacities so that people and organisations in developing countries can use ICTs effectively and independently to achieve their development goals. In a period of about three to five years, we guide our partners through a participatory process in which they work together in a network of like-minded organisations, experts, government agencies and private sector actors.


One of our core principles is learning by doing. Rather than import on-the-shelf solutions, IICD facilitates a process in which stakeholders co-create and implement their own ICT solutions. They thus develop a broader understanding of how ICT can be fully integrated into their programmes. At the end of the process, our aim is to see our partners well equipped to find and use information and ICTs on their own in such a way that benefits them and the people they serve.

IICD’s approach consists of six phases, which we collectively call our ‘social innovation process’. The six phases are:

  1. needs assessment,
  2. project formulation,
  3. implementation and pilots,
  4. embedding,
  5. scaling up and
  6. systemic change.

While these phases and activities are presented in a particular sequence, IICDs approach is dynamic and flexible. If certain activities are not needed or their timing needs to change, that is what we do. Our focus is on results. We seek to learn how we can best assist our partners in using ICTs in their organisation and sector and sustain that use into the future.

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