This year, Digital@DAI published more than 60 posts covering everything from trends in entrepreneurship ecosystems to the importance of user education for digital development programming and building on user insights to develop an open-source transparency and citizen participation application for the municipality of Kabul, Afghanistan.

We featured digital experts from organizations such as Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT)’s D-Lab and information sciences and technology experts from across DAI and from our partner organizations. In addition, we featured program work we do with clients including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Digital Frontiers program. Key topics of interest this year included artificial intelligence, agriculture, citizen engagement, decision support, cyber and trust, and ICT policy.

2019 in review.PNG

In our final post from 2018, we reviewed the 10 most-read articles of that year. To carry on the tradition, this post is an opportunity for us to reflect on the broad range of technical areas and highlight those that our readers thought were most compelling. So, without further ado, we present our top 10 posts from 2019.

1. 6 Tips for Making Great Monitoring and Evaluation Dashboards. This post covers why it’s so critical for development projects and organizations to have easily digestible and readable dashboards to display key data.

2. 10 Trends Changing Entrepreneurship Ecosystems. Many of the countries we work in have ever-changing entrepreneurship ecosystems. From our work with the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in Ghana and programs such as Shell LiveWIRE we have observed some exciting trends across several emerging and frontier markets.

3. Apply Now: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in International Development. Through our Digital Frontiers project, we identified firms to support the Center for Digital Development (CDD)’s Strategy & Research team to translate the recommendations from its 2018 report “Reflecting the Past, Shaping the Future: Making AI work for International Development” into an actionable format so the lessons and good practices in the report are accessible to USAID program staff and implementing partners. Stay tuned for more on this from USAID!

4. The Four Rs: An Interview with the Lean Research Initiative. It was such a great experience to interview our counterparts on the Lean Research team at MIT D-Lab. Through this we learned about their “Four Rs” framework for improving the practice of field research.

5. Visualizing Remotely Sensed Data: True Color and False Color. In this post, we delved into a deeply technical topic of high importance to environmental and agricultural programs and beyond. We explored what wavelength (colors) Landsat8 MSS satellites can “see” to understand why people see certain colors when studying visually remote sensed data.

6. How Digital Tools Help Combat Illegal Mining and Logging in the Amazon. Our work spans the globe to address major challenges, such as illegal mining and logging. By reviewing four digital tools currently used to combat illegal mining and logging in the Amazon, we emphasized why digital tools alone cannot address these challenges. In other words, policies affect how impactful the employment of a digital tool is.

7. Citizen-Centered Design and Frontier Insights in Kabul. We’ve written extensively about the MiMuni app we developed through human-centered design in Guatemala. Its success allowed us to replicate this approach in other countries and cities. This post talks through the findings of the Frontier Insights research we conducted in Kabul to gain insights into the technology profiles of people in the city. As we write this post, the open-source transparency and citizen participation app is being launched in Kabul.

8. 5 Takeaways from ICT4D 2019. Every year our team attends the ICT4D Conference. This past year, it was in Uganda where we emphasized the importance of cybersecurity and user education. We’re very much looking forward to the 2020 ICT4D conference in Nigeria and plan to share key takeaways on this blog. Don’t forget to check back for updates and join us there!

9. Building Coffee Cloud: A Precision Ag Tool Used by Farmers Across Central America. This year, we published several thought leadership pieces. One was about Coffee Cloud, a precision agriculture tool developed to be used by farmers in Central America. We also published a paper about our continued work with KIC in Ghana. In 2020, we plan to share more of our thought leadership pieces here on our blog!

10. Lessons from Cambodia: How to Grow a Girls’ Tech Entrepreneurship Challenge in Six Years. USAID’s Development Innovations wrapped up at the end of the year with huge success across many areas of work. In particular, this post discusses the success of the project and provides an excellent roadmap for how future projects can work to bridge the digital gender divide.

Stay tuned for all our digital development adventures in 2020! We hope you will connect with us and share your feedback on the ever evolving ICT4D space. And as always, don’t forget to subscribe to Digital@DAI.