Connect, Collaborate, Change
* Report: Connect, Collaborate, Change. Forum for the Future, 2012
"far more should be made of how ICT can help individuals across the globe to connect, share ideas, adopt different approaches and act collectively to improve society. This is vital, given that one of the main precursors to systemic change is achieving the widespread connections and collaboration needed to take disruptive change to a scale where it becomes the "new normal".
As devices gain functionality and mobile technology reaches a greater proportion of the planet's population, ICT companies have a unique opportunity to help people collaborate – and to harness the ideas and ingenuity of millions at the same time.
The rollout of mobile networks in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has had a transformative impact on local development, and on the ability of people to improve conditions for themselves. Here in the UK, our ability to be informed in real-time about the world around us – and to pass on comment in turn – is revolutionising the way we eat, shop, travel and receive services such as healthcare and banking.
ICT is already demonstrating that, with more information and connectivity, people can start to do things differently. For example, a recent report by Gartner Group estimates that the peer-to-peer financial-lending market will reach $5bn (£3.1bn) by 2013. Rachel Botsman has estimated that the consumer peer-to-peer rental market will become a $26bn sector.
As a platform from which to experiment, ICT enables people to test and grow initiatives with relatively little infrastructure and allows rapid learning without huge resource or cost. Indeed, the more approaches we try and share, the more likely we are to succeed.
The report has created a simple framework showing the basic ways in which ICT is applied to sustainability. It is split between two broad strands of application – information and analysis, and communications, and across three levels of social impact – direct, indirect and systemic change.
The framework serves as a tool for action as well as a stimulus for fresh thinking about where interventions can successfully be made. At a macro level, it can be used to look for interventions that can be made in a specific sector – by identifying blockages for instance. It could equally be used at a micro level by an ICT business, device or technology to help assess whether they are pursuing all potential sustainability avenues.
It may also be possible to look at the powerful systemic changes that we need to shift our society to a more sustainable footing, then work upwards through the framework to understand what ICT interventions and equipment are needed to deliver it." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/ict-enabled-change-people-focus-collaboration)