What it's about:
Last week, participants from close to 80 development organisations, technology firms, donors, investors, academics, and other stakeholders in the innovation space joined us for the two-day Digital Technologies for Resilience Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand.
The event was co-created by FHI 360, the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID—the latter two also provided financial support—along with input into the agenda design from the tech and resilience community.
Unlike typical conferences that are heavy on presentations and panel discussions, the workshop sought to facilitate sharing between participants. While presentations did take place, they were very specific in terms of their focus and were meant to inspire and provoke further discussion. The majority of the two days was spent in structured and semi-structured sessions aimed at enabling participants to closely work with each other, learn about each other’s work, and hopefully plant the seeds for future partnerships.
Many of the participants echoed the sentiment that we can no longer do development in the same way. Innovative ways of working and implementation are essential to achieving impact in the world, particularly as they relate to the SDGs. This is where the workshop aimed to be different. We brought together new ways of looking at problems and new ways of imaging market-based, multi-sectoral solutions, through activities such as a half-day design thinking session.
The initial signs in the immediate aftermath of the workshop are positive, with more than three-quarters of participants stating that they definitely plan to have substantive follow-up with individuals they met at the workshop, and another 16 percent saying that they probably would. In fact, two organisations even began to put the wheels in motion for signing an MOU together before the workshop had even ended.
Given the deepened relationships made by participants, we are hopeful that this workshop had a catalytic effect on future engagements in the digital technologies and resilience space beyond which could possibly be achieved through two days alone. It was always our intention that this workshop would be a unique opportunity for participants to collaborate on future action, and at least in the mind of one participant, we seem to have achieved that.
For those who missed the workshop, all of the presentations and worksheets used have already been shared online, and we’ll continue to post any outputs that come out of the workshop there as well.
If you are interested in engaging in future efforts to support the scale of digital technologies for resilience, particularly in Asia, email Josh Woodard at email@example.com.
Why it's noteworthy:
It aimed to create a space to enable deeper sharing, learning, and partnership building, particularly as it relates to the use of digital technology. This focus stems from previous findings of the potential of digital technologies as an enabler for resilience, coupled with the anecdotal observation of the frequency of siloed deployments of technologies supporting resilience at only a project level.
We wanted to see collaborations and action coming directly as a result of people’s participation. This was done by making networking and brainstorming an integral part of the design, not just something that happens on the fringes during breaks and lunch. It was also achieved through a carefully curated participant list, which aimed to maximise the diversity of expertise and ideas, resulting in participants from 21 countries and no more than one person per organization.
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