As I do at the end of each year, I’d like to take the opportunity to reflect on the topics that were most read by you, our readers. This year had many ups and downs, from moments where we felt the pandemic might allow us to return to some sense of normalcy, followed by periods where we experienced continued isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the continued importance of digital technology, reliable internet connection, and digital literacy as critical components to education, business, and family engagements. We’ve also seen the potential for the digital transformation that is underway around the globe to improve our lives and disrupt them.

Through Digital@DAI, we covered global trends in digital tool usage and key takeaways from work we are implementing globally. In total, we published 60 blogs that amassed more than 100,000 page views and covered topics from satellites for development to providing access to life-enhancing digital services.

In past years, we’ve summarized the top 10 posts of the year. This year, we noticed a pattern that I think is worth highlighting, especially given the renewed importance and pace of learning in the digital sector that the COVID-19 response requires. While readers enjoyed our most recent posts, our posts from previous years were quite popular, as well! Below, we feature the most read blogs published in 2021 and the most read blogs of 2021 overall.


Top 5 New Blogs of 2021

  1. Is Intellectual Property (IP) Ready for Blockchain—This blog addresses blockchains application for managing IP rights such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, and more. The piece discusses how IP owners can use blockchain to better control and exploit their IP works, improve collaboration, and achieve fair and efficient remuneration.

  2. The Rise of TikTok: How One App is Making Waves in the Global Development Community—This blog dives into the fastest-growing social media platform on the internet and how its popularity continues to influence international markets and the future development of domestic internet companies overseas.

  3. Apply Now: Support USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on an Assessment of Farmer-Centric Models of Data Governance and Ownership—As digitally enabled agricultural products and services rise in regions across the globe, most of the data collected by digital service providers developing these tools sit locked within each entity’s systems. This post highlights an opportunity from USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)’s Agricultural Development program designed to provide USAID, BMGF, partners, and local stakeholders with a better understanding of different farmer-centric data governance and ownership models, and much more.

  4. New Research Explores Digital Technologies and their Impact on Social Accountability in Southeast Asia—Our practicum team from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies teamed up with DAI’s Center for Digital Accelerations for a regional study on how civil society organizations in Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam use digital technologies for social accountability in public service delivery. Our research team found that digital technologies can increase social responsibility for public services across Southeast Asia.

  5. What Are We Reading about Technology and Ethics—In response to growing concerns about biases and harm due to technology and artificial intelligence in the international space, DAI’s Center for Digital Acceleration organized a monthly technology and media club to learn more from prominent scholars in the field. This blog explores our favorite websites, organizations, books, and resources that discuss the intersection of ethics and technology.

As we move into another year of Digital@DAI, one of the trends we see is that readers are highly interested in the future of technology and international development. Forecasting where global development is heading helps the development community predict global populations’ needs as technology evolves exponentially. Knowing this, we will continue to produce content that showcases and indicates what’s to be expected as we conduct new research and publish findings.

Top 5 Most-Read Blogs of 2021

  1. 6 Ways Innovation & Entrepreneurship Promote Prosperity—Written in 2020, this post discusses how innovation and entrepreneurship can significantly affect an economy beyond economic growth. Examples of innovation include improved regulation, support for infrastructure progress, or environmental sustainability.

  2. 5 Trends in Hardware to Watch—Also written in 2020, this post discusses five types of hardware that are likely to impact international development in coming years. This includes space exploration, which can improve connectivity or satellite imagery in low-income countries.

  3. Remote Sensing Part 3: Identify Healthy Vegetation from Space —Written in 2017, this post uses the study of vegetation as a case study on how remote sensing can be essential to development programming.

  4. Visualizing Remotely Sensed Data: True Color and False Color—Written in 2019, this blog discusses color bands of remotely sensed data. The piece also provides a reminder that Landsat data sets are free for anyone to use.

  5. What’s the Best Architecture for a Management Information System—Written in 2020, this post discusses the best architecture for information system management. For instance, your choice of architecture might depend on the purpose of your organization.

The popularity of these posts demonstrates that our readers were particularly interested in content that describes how tools can be applied to improve international development. These posts provide information on specific topics, and we look forward to posting these types of discussions going into 2022.

Stay tuned for new content in the new year and thanks for your readership this year! Please subscribe and continue to spread the word about the Digital@DAI blog!