Top 7 disruptive technologies for cities

7_disruptive_techImagine you were working in development and poverty reduction in the early 1990s (I was!). Only one website existed in all the world in August 1991 (today there are over 1.5 billion). Mobile phones were expensive, rare, and clunky. Very few would anticipate a situation in which India would have more mobile phones than toilets.

To paraphrase Bill Gates: we tend to overestimate the changes that will happen in the short term and underestimate those in the long term. Technology is quietly but radically disrupting and transforming how cities deliver services to their citizens. It does that in a way that fundamentally alters not just the mode of delivery but its underlying economics and financing.

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Finger Splints, Coding, Drones and R2D2: The Evolving Face of Technology and Development

Blood-delivering drones? Check. 3D-printer working off grid to print finger splints?drone Check. Disadvantaged women trained and employed in software-developing? Check. Is this how technology can deliver for development?

First things first. Let’s go back to the first principles. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 used a 3X3 framework to think about digital technology from a development lens: inclusion, efficiency and innovation for people, governments and businesses. Digital technologies, when employed as a tool for development, have the capacity to promote inclusive economies and societies, build upon existing capital and generate economies of scale. Herein lies powerful potential.

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