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What Motivates ICT4D Champions to Promote Your Solution?

By Wayan Vota on June 13, 2019

ict4d champion

Information and communication technologies for development champions are critical to initiative success. They are the people who actively and enthusiastically promote ICT4D initiatives, mobilize resources, gain cooperation from stakeholders, and make decisive contributions to ICT4D initiatives’ success.

Either new ICT4D initiative finds a champion or it dies. Therefore, we should better understand what motivates ICT4D champions to make sure that they can contribute to improving digital development success rates.

A new research paper What Motivates ICT4D Champions? from Jaco Renken of the University of Manchester seeks to answer the question: “What factors motivate a person to become an ICT4D champion?”

3 Motivating Factors Influencing ICT4D Champions

Jaco framed his research using the Work Preference Inventory of personal motivations that offers a set of motivational factor measures to assess peoples’ work motivation based on underpinning personal trait and social behavior theories, mainly Self-Monitoring Theory and Self-Perception Theory. This gave him 24 potential motivating factors to start with:

ict4d champion motivating factors

Jaco then interviewed three ICT4D champions from different digital development programs in South Africa and found that all three people’s motivations could be categorized into:

  • Personal actualization
  • Business success
  • Social concern

For example, one person who was interviewed said this about the ICT4D champion, which was also echoed by the champion themselves:

“Deep down I think she is a person who is not necessarily thinking of herself, as much as she thinks of herself going up (growing and developing as a person) in terms of expanding her knowledge, at the same time she is also thinking about the benefit and the impact she can make to her community. So, it’s like the person who is: ‘I am here for myself and my community’. If I can go up, I can go together with my community … At the end of the day she would like to be a successful business woman.”

Not All Motivations Are Equal All the Time

Joco was quick to note that while all three motivational pillars were found relevant in all three cases, the pillars were not always equally important. ICT4D champions prioritized the motivating pillars differently.

This difference in the three motivating factors was expressed both by each person – each champion valued the motivations differently – and by each circumstance – each champion changed their priorities to fit specific contexts.

Hence we should not think of personal actualization, business success, nor social concern as fixed in rank with any given person or over time with the same person.

How to Profile ICT4D Champions in Your Programs?

Jaco found that the motives of ICT4D champions in the three case studies align significantly with their organization’s goals, values and aspirations, which suggests that there could be a strong self-selection bias in digital development program staff – those who want to be champions are the ones volunteering to staff our interventions.

At the same time, this research can help us profile of stakeholder motivations in an ICT4D initiative to groom and empower new and existing champions to function more effectively. We can work to highlight how a digital development program can increase personal actualization, business success, and social concern, which in turn should help our constituents and our initiatives succeed.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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4 Comments to “What Motivates ICT4D Champions to Promote Your Solution?”

  1. Cavin Mugarura says:

    Either new ICT4D initiative finds a champion or it dies. – do you honestly believe this.

    • Wayan Vota says:

      Yes, Cavin, because its true. Please share with us the ICT4D project success that didn’t need champions promoting and support it. Wait, name any technology that was a success without champions.

  2. Cavin Mugarura says:

    I think this is a case of someone creating their own truths. Even the wording ICT4D champions does not really amount to a hill of beans in the conventional way. Negroponte one of the promoters of OLPC can be called a champion using your vague distribution. The successes that OLPC achieved were not met, but it scored highly in other unexpected ted ways. Despite the technologies not being able to achieve improvements in test scores, it opened up a wave of edtech projects and brought the conversation from under the dining table. Making bold statements such as without a champion a project dies is counter intuitive and shallow.

  3. Cavin Mugarura says:

    If Kim Kadashian promotes your product on twitter, you will get a sales boost, I think we are getting ahead of our selves by stating the obvious. I felt bad for a Professor colleague of mine who presented a paper on how roads cause development, they threw the kitchen with its sink at him. However if the kardashian sisters don’t endorse your product, it fair to say the world wont end.