Ask Anything: A session with Prof Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D

Ask Anything: A session with Prof Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D

In London earlier today I caught a moment with Tim UnwinProf Tim Unwin prior to a speech he was giving at a reception to celebrate 50 years of Commonwealth Scholarships at Marlborough House in London attended by Ministers, High Commissioners and the Commonwealth Secretary General.

He will be speaking with our class (and any guests who would like to join) on Wednesday, April 29th 14:00-16:00 (London time).

Prof. Unwin recently returned from presenting at the ICTD conference in Doha, which he blogged some of his thoughts on. He has established a Center in ICT4D at the University of Royal Holloway, London, is also Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. In late May he will be presenting a keynote at eLearning Africa, based on his recent paper “The Richness of Africa” (which you can read by clicking here).

Watch this clip for how he would like us to prepare:

Earlier in our conversation Prof Unwin said his personal mission – even what he wants to dedicate the rest of his life – is to “create spaces where the highest quality research can be conducted which makes a positive impact in the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people.”

This is a great chance to ask him anything.
He already knows that our goal as a team of colleagues is to answer some of the questions in ICT4D better than anyone has yet.

What are some questions you would like to ask him? (feel free to post here)

What is possible? Part II: What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?

What is possible? Part II: What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?

One of the most common things I hear from people in developing countries is that there is a lack of hope – or a lack of belief that they can succeed because of ____ [insert reason]. (you name the excuse, and I’ve heard it)

Seeing examples of people who are incredibly resourceful, regardless of the odds, is helpful.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Gerardo de Nicolas, CEO of a Mexican home builder, Homex, who was one of the most inspiring parts of the recent Ultimate Business Mastery Summit. Clint Gerardo Joey UBMS

The accomplishments of Homex are impressive (one of 16 Mexican companies traded on the NYSE, building 200 homes a day, expanding into India and Brazil, etc) – but even more impressive is the mentality and attitude of its founder, Gerardo de Nicolas (who was awarded ‘CEO of the Year’ by Latin Trade Magazine).

Gerardo said he realizes that much of the success of Homex came simply because they had a vision greater than themselves, that they didn’t know they couldn’t do what had never been done before, and he also realizes that the only major obstacle keeping Homex from growing are the limitations they place on themselves.

He has also focused so much of the success of their company back into the building of homes for those who can not afford it.

As Gerardo says in this video – the poor are not the problem, the poor are the solution. The way Homex is using home building technology in helping the poor to help themselves is interesting.

It is obvious that Gerardo has tapped into something he is passionate about and talented in.

Here are a couple of my favorite questions I would like you to answer (for everyone to see):
* If you didn’t have to worry about money, money was no obstacle, what would you do? (e.g. how would you spend your time, energy, focus?)
* What are some of your unique talents/gifts that you would focus on sharing with the world? (Is it any different than what you do now? If so, why?)

What is possible?

I’m attending an event (the Ultimate Business Mastery Summit) which has really stretched my mind and made me think bigger. So much more engaging than the all too frequent boring academic presentations tied to dim lights and PowerPoint – which I’m sure I have been guilty of giving in the past too. 🙂

I have met with so many people here who are doing incredible things to make this world a better place, and have helped me see specific resources and resourcefulness in and around me which is so much greater than I was aware of before.

I guess as humans we usually only wake up ready to do things we think are possible. I now am seeing more clearly that so much more is possible than I ever previously imagined. Not because it wasn’t there before – simply because I did not see it or know how to utilize it.

Here is a message I recorded for the awesome ICT4D Class (sorry the end got cut off – ran out of battery):

For those in the ICT4D class, please leave a comment in reply to this blog entry indicating a time you might be free over the next couple weeks to meet with me online for a half hour so I can get to know you a little better.
[After that time, these times on Tuesdays and Thursdays will also likely be the hours I choose as my “Office Hours” – when I will be responding to your emails, taking care of class business, or when you can get a hold of me to discuss anything that is on your mind.]

After selecting the time (Helsinki time) that works best for you, please make sure no one else has already requested it in a comment below. (If none of these times work for you, please suggest two alternative times and I will pick the one which works best.)

Tuesday, April 7th
19:00 Vasilis
19:30 Tanya
20:00 Jani
20:30 Juha
21:00 Hamid
21:30 Monika

Thursday, April 9th
19:00 Thato
19:30 Ashes Timsina
20:00 Xavier
20:30 Robert
21:00 Thai Bui

Tuesday, April 14th
16:00 Aiguokhian Efosa
19:00 Marko
19:30 Rajarshi Sahai
20:00 Shahram
20:30
21:00 Vera
21:30 Yuliya
22:00 Myriam

Thursday, April 16th
19:00 Sören
19:30 Len
20:00 Marcus
20:30 Johan
21:00 Rasika