Beyond Access: Technology, Accountability and Curation

With “Publish What You Fund” releasing their 2012 Aid Transparency Index, there is buzz. Results are interpretable; there’s no distinction between public and private groups. Still, people are getting more choosy, the development community is responding, and accountability is firmly walking onto the agenda. That can only be good.

This ties in with Tom Murphy’s interview with the former President of Chile headlined “Technology will Drive Democracy and Accountability”. Knowledge is power, after all:

 “I sense sometimes that we are in the process of forming a new wave,” he told me. “New political institutions are forming through public participation thanks to technological advances.”

He also points out that the future will be about how to handle information overload. Done artfully, the new buzzword for this is curation. The appeal of curation as applied to digital contexts is growing, and a plethora of curation tools have popped up to respond to that demand. However, in my limited experience, curation have not been fully embraced by the development community. There are definitely a few – Humanosphere and Devex come to mind – yet they are often more agglomerators rather than about drawing overarching lines between things. The idea has not been jumped on in the way that is has in the field of education, for instance.  Maybe you’d say it’s because we have better things to do. I’d argue though, that in the age of information, curators are key.

I think the issue is more about the amount of information available. This is where increases in aid transparency comes in; more data, more responses, more connections, more thoughts. There are many bloggers, yes, but I look forward to the emergence of more people participation, from everywhere. The potential impact is huge!

If it wasn’t, why these new institutions popping up that Lagos speaks of?


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