From simple fixes to systemic enablers: The future of digital development

From simple fixes to systemic enablers: The future of digital development

Advancing knowledge, shaping policy and inspiring practice on digital development is critical to achieving the Institute of Development Studies’ (IDS) vision of reducing inequalities, accelerating sustainability, and building secure and inclusive societies. This synthesis paper outlines key lessons from four recent IDS Evidence Reports on the state of digital development and draws out the implications for policymakers and practitioners working in development and humanitarian organisations.

Digital development is popular, and little wonder. Innovations such as personal computers and mobile phones have spread more quickly across more people than any comparable technologies in human history. Over the past two decades the digital revolution has ushered in transformative changes to the ways we communicate and organise, with many cascading effects across social, economic and political spheres. With the advent of newer developments, including artificial intelligence, 3D printing and robotics, yet more profound changes are anticipated in the years and decades to come. What does this mean for international development and humanitarian work?

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