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Cite as Citation reference for the source document. I. Zelenika and J. M. Pearce, "The Internet and other ICTs as Tools and Catalysts for Sustainable Development: Innovation for 21st Century", Information Development Volume 29 Issue 3 August 2013 pp. 217 - 232. DOI:

Among the many issues facing sustainable technological development, dispersed and un-coordinated research, as well as poor communication and collaboration of technological knowledge to those that need it, play a major role in many failed and delayed projects. However, the Internet and its multifaceted platforms provide a potential solution to these problems. This paper examines the ways in which the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve critical shortcomings to sustainable development efforts. Specifically, the strategies of open source appropriate technology (OSAT) and innovation through collaboration are reviewed. The methods are examined by which OSAT is

i) accelerating innovation by building and sharing knowledge,
ii) improving collaboration and
iii) increasing both the efficiency and effectiveness of many programs and projects.

Four OSAT case studies are presented for organizations at the forefront of open collaborative technologies for sustainable development: i) Practical Action, ii) Kopernik, iii) Engineering for Change, and iv) The Appropedia Foundation. The key features, models and the approaches employed by these organizations are discussed and conclusions are drawn from these case studies to contribute insight and better guide the development of this new innovation strategy.

Case studies[edit | edit source]

Name & date of establishment Structure Focus Themes & Categories Library, manuals, briefs Rating/review / feedback Open Source/ Open Access
Practical Action (1966) International non-governmental organization Appropriate Technology, BoP 14 Categories: Social/ economic development, agriculture, crop /food processing, energy, construction, disaster relief, etc. Yes, detailed manuals and technical briefs available via Resource Center & Practical Answers. Rating & comments, plus a forum. Mostly open access
Kopernik (2010) Non-profit technology marketplace Connecting technology seekers, with providers and donors Ready to Go Technology, DIY/Open-Source Technology,

Emerging technology: Agriculture, Education, Energy & environment, Health, ICT & Mobile, Water & Sanitation

No solutions library / database, but some technology has instruction manuals After registering anyone can comment. Also space for Project Reports to provide feedback on the technology / project. Open source & DIY solutions
Engineering for Change - E4C (2009) Non-profit organization Improving quality of life by affordable, locally appropriate and sustainable solutions 7 Main Categories: Water, Energy, Health, Structures, Agriculture, Sanitation, Info Systems Yes, Solutions Library, Resources/ Workspace, Bulletin Board, but not all are detailed Feedback & Discussion via Bulletin Board and project collaboration via Workspace platform Open access and open source supported
Appropedia Foundation (2006) Non-profit organization – primarily for an editable Wiki Appropriate Technology – Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives. 13 Primary Categories: Appropriate tech, Energy, Solar, Food / Agriculture, Construction, Green living,

Health,Knowledge, Transport, Water, etc.

Yes,but partial and inconsistent Discussion tabs and anyone can create an account and add content. Status tags allow for content validation Open Access and Open Source - focus on Creative Commons

Table 1. Summary of OSAT Case Studies

Related work[edit | edit source]

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Coverage[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords most completed projects and publications, appropriate technology, it, open source
Authors I. Zelenika, Joshua M. Pearce
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 3 pages link here
Impact 326 page views
Created November 24, 2012 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified February 23, 2024 by Maintenance script
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