How can impact be measured? Why is showing impact important for the users, organization founders, governments ?
For making an impact, We need an attempts to better understand the impact in economic and social development especially in poor countries, usually we use cross-country data on this countries and conduct any project to identify a number of case studies demonstrating the impact of staff and voluntary sector organizations delivering public services on both the public service. the transformation of economic and social relationships and processes is particularly visible in those countries and areas that have the highest Internet penetration levels. The spread of broadband seems to have a particularly important role in certain areas, including for the emergence of e-commerce, teleworking, and e-education and health. This highlights the need for developing countries to pay special attention to broadband deployment and strategies.
ICT impact is a very big topic. The topic can be addressed at two levels – macro level and micro level. Macro level refers to the ICT impact at a national and international level. Micro level measures ICT impact at local level – local community, villages, families, schools etc. Different but interdependent factors affect these two levels. At the Macro level some of the factors affecting ICT impact are:
* National ICT policies. For example, in India, the central government has made a huge effort to promote ICT usage – especially – computers and the internet, at the State and local level. They have established various agencies - National Informatics Center (NIC) and organizations to oversee e-governance policies at the state and local levels. Other policies include – establishment of Information Systems dept at the state levels, Computer Information Centers, etc..
* ICT Infrastructure – Internet broadband availability is a big factor. Many countries have allocated considerable portion of their GDP to build up their infrastructure capability, most notably – optical fiber availability to provide high bandwidth internet capability.
* Capacity building – probably the above 2 points could be listed under this subheading. Essentially it refer’s to a country’s capacity to effectively utilize ICT technologies for varied purposes.
To get a good insight on macro level issues, the following sites provide an excellent source of information, including country level data and statistics.
# World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) http://www.itu.int/wsis/basic/about.html
At the micro level – and this is directly applicable to individual telecentre operators - some of the factors include:
* Sound business strategy development, implementation and monitoring and feedback.
* Specialization and niche targeting.
* Sound marketing strategy development, implementation and monitoring and feedback.
* Sustainence and growth
* Professionalism of the telecentre operators in terms of the products and services they provide
* Training and
* Organizational support structure and availability – for example, specialized network organizations like telecentre.org with its many different branches – notably:
* Telecente.org Academy
* Telecentre.org news & magazines etc.
help disseminate best practices, provides a platform for collective brainstorming.
* Events and summits - In addition these organizations host events and summits and have established training centers and certifications. The outcome of the summits are usually best practices based on field experience.
Super discussion and very interesting topic. Thought to suggest a few resources to look and assess impact while learning in the process and from the process. Measuring the "impact" of ICT projects/interventions is not easy, the good news is that we are not alone. Hope this helps:
The problem is that a target area needs to be defined. Unless we have a more narrow focus, measuring impact, would be a fairly confusing task. There are several areas and normally telecentres serve all these areas and as a consequence, the end results are poor. No organization can be everything to all.
I recommend the following methodology for measuring impact.
1. Identify a target area
The following are some of the major target areas of ICT impact:
* Social Services etc.
2. Develop a set of objectives for the target area – your stated goals within the target area
3. Develop a baseline for performance measurement. It would include a list of factors and their current measure/status. These would be the impact indicator and should be in alignment with the objectives and goals, that is, it should be inclusive of the objectives.
4. Develop and implement a functional / operating strategy on how to achieve the stated objectives and goals.
5. Monitor and evaluate performance. At this phase you begin to use the performance benchmarks created earlier. It is also critical to establish a feedback mechanism which will highlight new areas and missed points from earlier assessments.
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