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Radcliffe Institute Exploratory Seminar

Using Cellphones to Change Societies Seminar

September 4 & 5, 2014
Hosted by Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard University at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cambridge MA

A group of faculty and practitioners will meet at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study for a seminar to discuss the potential of cell phone data for enabling economic and social mobility. The seminar will lay foundation for future interdisciplinary research.

Session I: Transferability of Interdisciplinary Interventions | Resources
Session II: Business Models and Sustainability Resources
Session III: Research and Policy Implications Resources
Session IV: Who will fund these efforts Resources

Full Participant List and Bios.

We invite you to explore this site for background information on SAI’s past meetings and events on the topic of the use of mobile technology to change societies, including the Mapping the Kumbh Mela Data Project and a workshop on Mobile Technology that was part of SAI’s Annual Symposium in April, 2014.

Seminar Location: Sheerr Room, Fay House, Radcliffe Institute, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge MA
This event is by invitation only. 

Please note that the resources are password protected and are for participants only. Participants – you will only need enter the password once to access all resources. 

Thursday, September 4

9 – 9:30 am  Breakfast


9:30 – 10 am Welcome and Introductions


10 – 12:30 pm Session 1: Transferability of Interdisciplinary Interventions.
Speakers in this session will discuss how mobile technology is used to improve lives in the areas of health, finance, education, and agriculture.  How is big data used in each of these interventions? What can m-health, m-banking, m-education, and m-agriculture learn from each other? What are common challenges and successes? What are the major myths of mobile technologies in the developing world? What are the biggest challenges to implementing these interventions that good research could answer?

Co-Facilitated by Marc Mitchell, Harvard School of Public Health; D-Tree International and Ashwin Khubchandani, Blue Pine Capital, Hong Kong

Link to Session I Resources.

10  11:00 am – Presentations in the Following Order:

      • Kentaro Toyama, University of Michigan; Microsoft; MIT
      • Gunn Ingemundsen, Telenor Financial Services
      • Tarek Ghani, UC Berkeley
      • Clayton Sims, Dimagi; MIT’s User Interface Design Group
      • Marc MitchellHarvard School of Public Health; D-Tree International

11:00 – 11:15 am – Break

11:15  12:30 pm – Discussion


12:30 – 1:30 pm Lunch


1:30 – 4:00 pm Session II: Business Models and Sustainability
What are the business models that can deliver services using mobile phones and deliver profits for the company? What is it that makes for-profit social enterprises so difficult? Speakers in this session will provide case studies of business models and discuss institutional voids that need to be addressed to make programs scalable.

Facilitator:  Tarun Khanna, Harvard South Asia Institute; Harvard Business School 

Link to Session II Resources.

1:30 – 2:30 – Presentations in the Following Order:

      • Adnan Asdar, Multinet Pakistan Private Limited, Pakistan
      • Ali Habib, Interactive Health Solutions, Pakistan
      • Mohammad Azmal Huda, BKash, Bangladesh
      • Karim KhojaRoshan, Afghanistan 
      • Tanaya Kilara, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor; World Bank
      • Joel Selanikio, Datadyne

2:30 – 2:45 pm Break

2:45 – 4:00 pm Discussion

6:00 – 8:30 pm Dinner at Sandrine’s Bistro

Nora will meet the group in the lobby of the Sheraton Commander at 5:45 pm to walk over to Sandrine’s Bistro. You may also meet us there. We will be dining in the ground floor private dining room.

Friday, September 5

8:30 – 9:00 am Breakfast and Reimbursement Assistance for International Guests
Radcliffe staff will assist international guests with the Harvard reimbursement process.


9:00 – 11:30 am Session III: Research and Policy Implications.
While technologies advanced at a rapid pace, the regulatory framework is slow to catch up. This session will discuss the major factors impacting the research community’s access to needed data, including obtaining data, issues related to privacy and personally identifiable information, transparency in use of data, and the limitations of big data as a substitute for existing research tools and methods. The session will develop recommendations for a set of ‘best-practices’ guidelines specifically for using cellphone data from developing countries.

Facilitator: JP OnnelaHarvard School of Public Health

Link to Session III Resources.

9  10:00 am – Presentations in the Following Order:

      • Caroline Buckee, Harvard School of Public Health
      • Erik
      • Yves-Alexandre de MontjoyeMIT Media Lab
      • Malavika Jayaram, Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society
      • Kenth Engo-MonsenTelenor Research
      • Ara Tahmassian, Harvard University Chief Research Compliance Officer

10:00 – 10:15 am – Break

10:15  11:30 pm – Discussion


11:30  – 12:15 pm Lunch


12:15 – 1:15 pm Session IV: Who will fund these efforts? 
How are different sessions funded? How can various sectors, including NGOs, government agencies, companies, foundations, etc., work together to change societies using cellphones? What are the challenges various sectors face? What are the strengths each sector brings to the table? What are the best funding models for sustainable technologies?

Facilitator: Tarun KhannaHarvard South Asia Institute; Harvard Business School

Link to Session IV Resources.

12:15  12:45 pm – Presentations in the Following Order:

      • Eric King, US Global Development Lab, USAID
      • Kerstin Trikalitis, Out There Media (An Endeavor Venture)
      • Joseph Ziskin, IBM Corporation

12:45  1:15 pm – Discussion

1:15 – 1:20  pm Break

1:20 – 2:00 pm Next Steps and Closing Discussion