CDI Seminar on Digital Platforms and Development

Time: 12:30 - 13:30

Venue: Ganges Room, 1st Floor, Arthur Lewis Building

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Exploring Tensions of Global Public Good Platforms for Development: the Case of the District Health Information System (DHIS2)

Speaker: Prof. Brian Nicholson, University of Manchester

Abstract: The purpose of this presentation is to explore tensions in global public goods (GPG), based on the case of digital platforms for innovation. GPG designs promise normative ideals of non-rivalry and non-exclusivity, which in practice are challenged in reality and fraught with tensions. This presentation draws on theory of contradictions to illustrate some of these tensions, which confronts simplistic and linear views that implementing GPG health management platforms will translate unproblematically to efficiency gains. The presentation explores field data collected by the authors in the Health Information Systems (HISP) research programme around a digital platform (DHIS2) installed in over 80 countries globally, primarily in the health sector. Episodes are taken from action research undertaken by the authors drawn from experiences of multiple implementations in various countries. This presentation furthers the theoretical understanding of contradictions arising from the espoused ideals of GPGs and the realities of their implementation and use. The implications focus on the need to move away from simple deterministic visions of GPG towards acknowledging the contested nature of their outcomes.