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Exploring the Mobile Banking Revolution in Tanzania

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In most developed economies, people can be forgiven for taking banks for granted. After all, an ATM machine is rarely more than a couple blocks away with easy access to funds. People can easily connect with their banks online to pay bills without ever handling cash, and loans and lines of credit are readily available.

In much of the developing world, however, this infrastructure simply doesn’t exist. Thabiso Mochiko recently laid out the latest statistics on the issue at Business Day:

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Work and Learning in a Digital World

Across the globe, business, government, and social structures are buffeted by sweeping generational change, technological innovation, and the emergence of new economic development models.

Although these forces differ by geography, they provide opportunities for social innovation, community engagement, economic growth, sustainability, and country transformation.

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Tapping Innovation for the Sanitation Sector

Jae So, WSPBy Jae So, Guest Columnist

Did you know that around the world, 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation? This causes billions of dollars of economic losses every year, and claims the lives of 4,000 children each day. Yet of these 2.5 billion people, who make up one-third of the world’s population, 1 billion have access to mobile phones, creating an important opportunity to mobilize innovation for the sanitation sector.

A year ago, the World Bank asked: How can we work with partners to use these 1 billion connections to promote healthier behaviors and improve access to sanitation services, such as containment of waste water? The result is the Sanitation Hackathon, a yearlong strategic process that is a project of the World Bank’s water practice and ICT sector, working together with governments and citizens around the world with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read More »

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Fresh, Fast, and Local: Online Grocery Shopping is Coming

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Shoes? Check. Computer gear? Check. Clothes? Flatware? Hot tubs with built-in TVs? Check, check, and check. There’s almost nothing these days that we don’t buy online. But there is one area where the local brick-and-mortar store still reigns supreme: grocery shopping.

When it’s time to stock the fridge, the vast majority of us still do it the old fashioned way. We trek out to the store, walk up and down the aisles, and fill up physical rather than virtual shopping carts. But just maybe, that’s about to change. A number of retailers are experimenting with online groceries, and a growing number of consumers are ready to buy.

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What is a City, and How Does it Get Smarter?

The journey to smarter cities and communities has gained momentum in recent years, as a recent BBC article highlights. I’d like to offer a few points from my experiences over the last five years exploring this territory:

  • First, the critical issue is how to move beyond visions and prototypes, to scaling and adoption.
  • Second, the whole notion of smart cities should also be reappraised.
  • And third, the Internet of Everything Economy will fuel a transformation across communities, industries, and social interactions.

We are looking at a dynamic concept to which bounded definitions — whether physical, digital, organizational, or technological — seem increasingly inadequate.

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