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What the Top 10 ICTworks Themes of 2023 Say About ICT4D in 2024

By Wayan Vota on January 18, 2024

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I started ICTworks fifteen (15!) years ago to engage ICT4D leaders. Now this humble site is the blog of record for the digital development community.

We have 25,000 email subscribers from around the world, with a majority of readers from the Global South. I regularly cull that subscriber list to ensure that each subscriber opens at least one email a month. When you add in website views, ICTworks has an impressive reach:

Every ICTworks post in 2023 was seen by an average of 10,000 people.

Now averages don’t tell the real story of which posts and trends were the most popular with program designers, project managers, software developers, academics, and humanitarian professionals. Here are the key themes we saw when analyzing our readership metrics last year:

Top 10 ICTworks Post Themes in 2023

1. Social Protection

Keeping people safe from technology is a perennial theme in digital development. In 2023, two social protection posts on ICTworks were favorites with you:

2. Failure

Failure happens in ICT4D, international development, and life in general. We love to read about failure – and learn from it. Like this very popular ICTworks posts in 2023: Wow! 33% of COVID-19 Digital Learning Platforms Already Failed

3. How To Guides

We all want to improve our professionalism and hence the popularity of our How To Guides. The most popular guides come from the largest international development donor, like this one on the Principles for Digital Development: USAID How To Guide: Using the Digital Principles in Project Design

4. Biting Satire

We publish fun April Fools Day posts to keep you attentive. Every year, these posts are popular with everyone, so we keep creating crazy-but-real articles like: Assessmentitis: A New Disease Plaguing International Development Programs

5. ICT4D Project Examples

Who is leading digital development and what are they learning? That question is often answered by looking at cutting edge projects like 9 Examples of IoT Solutions for Smart Agriculture Services in LMICs and 7 Use Cases for Artificial Intelligence in Global Health that are curated and explained in our many research reports.

6. Digital Health

Digital health is the best funded, and therefore the most innovative ICT4D domain. It can also be the most contentions, with a post like eHealth in e-Chaos: 10 Years of Digital Health Solutions in Africa creating much debate in development circles and leading to posts like From e-Chaos to Sustainable Health Impact with FHIR and Moving From e-Chaos to Uganda’s New Digital Health Strategy.

7. New USAID Strategies

Back in 2020, we published the first USAID Digital Strategy to much acclaim. Since then, digital strategies have multiplied across the Agency. This fall, we introduced the First USAID Geospatial Strategy that is already one of our most popular posts in all of 2023.

8. Thoughtful Opinions

I am very proud that ICTworks publishes a variety of opinions on digital development – opinions I often don’t agree with – to ensure we welcome different ideas and challenge conventional wisdom. Three that were popular in 2023 include:

9. Donor Funding

Everyone always wants more money to expand their programs and have greater impact. Therefore, our regular calls for proposals are always popular and dominate our post rankings every year. For 2023 there were two posts that dominated the rest. Our post announcing USAID Grant Funding for Development Innovation Ventures and our listing of 15 Ways Donors Support Digital Startups in Developing Countries

10. Generative Artificial Intelligence

Our most popular theme in 2023 should surprise no one who follows technology and development. Generative AI is certainly peaking on the hype cycle, and definitely within the digital development community. There were two types of GenAI posts that generated the most excitement:

Comparisons between different GenAI models

Practical usage of GenAI in development

Share Your Idea with 10,000 Readers

ICTworks is the best way to get your idea into the minds of digital development practitioners around the world. You can submit an idea or a finished draft for a new post or articles published elsewhere. We especially welcome posts from:

  • Donors looking for new solutions from innovative technologists
  • Organizations that want to share case studies or impact stories
  • Consultants with strong views on how we can improve digital development
  • Researchers who wants their papers to be read and change minds

Please read our guest post guidelines and sponsored posts opportunities. You can send us your ideas today and be the next author reaching thousands, winning next year’s Top 10 Blog Posts list.

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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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