Technology, Context and Culture – The gap between intention and reality

The New York Times today has a story written by a mother trying to keep tabs on her family’s activities. Her travails with online calendering, group (in this case, her family) scheduling and information sharing are deeply resonant to anyone who has experienced the very same challenges in humanitarian aid and peacebuilding contexts.

Michelle finds that the best solutions in the web fail to convince her family to share information. Each member has a different priority and little time to learn or share information with no reciprocal gain. It is only when the hint of an unpleasant family meeting is mooted that everyone rushes to share information, but then too in a haphazard fashion that overwhelmed the system with information not really central to the outcome desired.

Any of this sound familiar? The author’s solution is a revealing lesson for those who design systems for complex humanitarian aid and peacebuilding processes.

Read more here.

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