Learn from the margin, not the center: digital innovation with social impact as transformative force bridging digital divide

Research Studios Austria Forschungsgesellschaft mbH; Prof. Dr. Peter A. Bruck; Portrait;

(World Summit Awards, 2018)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Professor Peter A. Bruck, Chairman of the Board of World Summit Awards. The opinions expressed in this article belong to the distinguished writer.

While Silicon Valley may stand undefeated as the most prominent name for tech entrepreneurs and startup visionaries, other regions all over the world are worthy competitors. The transformative opportunities of digitization affect all areas of life. Especially in countries with difficult access to the Internet, the creative use of new technologies and witty content finds solutions to societal challenges.

Big Exits, Unicorns, sale headlines at the billion dollar end of the scale – that is what the world tends to focus on, a shallow, fast wavering perception of the tech world. The start-up industry is characterised by growth and opportunity, and as the industry changes, opportunities increase and decrease, as do start-ups. Innovation represents the constant development and movement of the digital revolution worldwide, but what is in it content wise? What is the down to benefit for humankind? Beyond numbers and big exits, the success of digital start-ups can be measured by something much more sustainable, namely the social impact they make.

It is a known fact that telecom providers support the data infrastructure, that services like Facebook use without investing a cent. Huge internet companies are dodging the fares, globally engage advertisers, while any other user of mobile networks must pay for their data volume. More and more heavy data usage being the status-quo and will grow with the AR movement.

Zuckerberg sees this as completely natural. As he declared in an interview with Jessi Hempel, the deputy – editor in chief of the magazine Wired in 2016, he would understand the continuing frustration of telecoms, who invest billions in better networks for Facebook. It would be up to them to come up with new business models. Facebook would be ready to partner anytime.

This imbalance in data using services and data transfer enabling infrastructure is creating an often neglected problem, especially in lesser developed countries. In Austria mobile 4G data packages are available at dumping prices while in developing countries a 500 MB Internet package costs up to 30% of the respective GDP and is therefore not affordable for 70% of the population (Source: Alliance for Affordable Internet for All). Thus, a large proportion of humanity is denied access to rapid technological progress, and also the opportunities and information potential it holds.

The term ‘digital divide’ describes the unequal access opportunities of different population groups to information and communication technologies – national, regional and international – and the subsequent imbalance of opportunities.

With digitalization having more and more impact on all areas of life and holding great potential for the further development of western countries as business locations, the situation in countries with no infrastructure combined with huge economic and social challenges gets more challenging.

Despite all adversities, digital entrepreneurs around the world are proving that these digital and infrastructural gaps can be reduced by creatively using existing resources and the courage to fight social disadvantages. For example, the Sudanese project oPerception, which supports blind people in object recognition with an offline AI app, or Malaysia’s Foreign Workers Centralized Management System, which facilitates bilateral integration and migration.

While the start-up center Silicon Valley dictates headlines of tech start-ups at the billion dollar end of the scale, our increasingly connected world has sprouted a number of other thriving start-up hubs, sometimes in places you’d not expect to find them. With a focus on using available resources and finding ways around missing infrastructure to solve local challenges, not the way of the fastest and biggest profit, digital innovation is able to demonstrate immense transformative power. The creative use of digital applications and the courage to fight social disadvantages provides a huge social impact in many regions of the world, providing a unique opportunity of learning from the margins.

A look on the margins instead of the center pays off and offers manifold learning opportunities. To provide this global overview of digital social entrepreneurs with a focus on big societal impact, the World Summit Award with its global network selects and connects the most creative entrepreneurs using digital innovation for a benefit to society – and that in over 180 countries. In March 20.-22., 2018, digital innovations with transformative power from over 80 countries will be presented at the WSA Global Congress in Vienna and present once more how digitalization in combination with the spirit of innovation makes it possible to bridge the gap between the digital divide – beyond the scope of Silicon Valley’s giants.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

Free flow of non-personal data: Parliament approves EU’s fifth freedom

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

3 ways to fix the way we fund humanitarian relief

Debunked: 5 myths about the future of work

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Remembering Kofi Annan

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

Recognize, celebrate and ‘stand in solidarity’ with persons with albinism

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Greece did it again

It’s time for global businesses to accept local responsibility

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

‘Once-in-a-generation opportunity’ will be squandered, warns Guterres, unless social, economic, environmental challenges are met

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

UN civil society conference to focus on sustainable solutions for challenges of urban life

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

OECD, UN Environment and World Bank call for a radical shift in financing for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future

Why schools should teach the curriculum of the future, not the past

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Shanghai has tough new recycling rules – and it will stop collecting trash from communities that don’t comply

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

Is Erdogan losing game and match within and without Turkey?

This tiny new grain could save the planet

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s