Posts Tagged "participation"

Bottom-up vs top-down

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012

Top-down is when some outsider at the top of the pyramid decides my life would be better if something changed in my world, like micro-finance debt available to me as a woman to buy my healthcare and participate as a free agent in the economic world. Bottom-up is when I know that my husband will make me take out that loan so he can drink it. I’d rather have direct access to the clinic. I have oversimplified things here, of course. Some commentators argue that those at the top of the wealth pyramid have control of the resources but it is those at the bottom who know how best to use them. It’s an argument sometimes called pro-poor participation. Robert Chambers talks about “handing over the stick”.   (picture...

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Beam me up, Scotty!

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012

We can think of the model of mobile-enabled micro-actions for social impact like this: taking resources (e.g. money, information, knowledge) breaking them up into bite size chunks (micro-actions) transmitting them to participants, who reassemble at their end to acquire resources (money, information, knowledge). This could be a nifty way to short-circuit some top-down, blueprint-based development programmes, in which you never really know where the resources will end up.  Instead, the transfer of resources is initiated and controlled by recipients, wherever they may be – using a tool they can carry in their hand. This reminds me of Star Trek.  The Enterprise could send an expensive spacecraft down to deliver a key resource to Kirk, Bones, Spock (and this week’s new face who’s going to die halfway through the episode).  But this resource-carrying vehicle is also resource-hungry, and it might get blocked, intercepted, captured or diverted. Even if it does arrive, it might be too late or in the wrong place as the recipients have had to move. In fact, filming of the first Star Trek episodes was delayed by problems building the shuttlecraft models. Teleportation was only devised as a less expensive, immediately available alternative to get going with. Even when the models were available for later episodes, Scotty would...

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