Going Wireless: Dialing for Development

How Mobile Devices are Transforming Economic Development at the Base of the Pyramid

This paper describes emerging trends and possible constraints in the use of mobile phones at the base of the pyramid (BOP) to help understand the implications and opportunities for social sector organizations, development experts and service providers. The report contains an overview discussion of the key areas where mobile phones area being applied in BOP settings. Within this context, it then examines many of the practical lessons derived from past, current and emerging projects involving mobile phones. Finally, the paper provides a project implementation checklist and evaluation framework that project leaders and stakeholders can use to guide development and measure impacts of their work.

The concluding section of this paper contains a Mobile Application Assessment Framework that provides a practical methodology for assessing the feasibility, benefits and likely disruptive impact of various existing or emerging mobile phone applications to help social sector organizations, development experts and service providers understand the implications and opportunities for their work. Graphically organized around three critical dimensions of project potential - feasibility, social/economic benefit and disruptive impact - the framework provides a simplified analysis approach that could be employed by social entrepreneurs in any sector to prioritize potential service or product offerings.

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