By Kyle Strand, Senior Knowledge Management Specialist at the Knowledge and Learning Sector of the Inter-American Development Bank
What if code and digital tools that the IDB and others have created were published and made freely available for governments and citizens to use, repurpose, and adapt to address our Region’s development challenges?
Imagine, for instance, an app built to digitalize administrative processes in Chile could be used by another government to reduce transaction costs. A spreadsheet model developed to analyze recycling initiatives in San José and other cities could be repurposed by an undergrad for her dissertation. Or an algorithm designed to predict IDB loan disbursements could be adapted by a city’s finance team to help manage liquidity.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Code and digital tools are extremely important for development in our countries[/inlinetweet], and a massive amount of resources are invested for this purpose each year. For example, it is estimated that every year, the United States government invests 6 billion dollars in software development. In 2015, the Colombian government directed 4.8 million dollars for this purpose. Each of these pieces of code were developed for a specific purpose, but can you imagine leveraging that initial investment to address other issues too?
Code for Development
It was this question that motivated us to create the IDB’s Code for Development platform; a repository for publishing and opening code that the IDB or others have developed, and that can be used, repurposed or adapted by governments or citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean to address challenges that they face.
This is an exciting project, and we already have a number of digital tools available in Code for Development, but [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]we need your help to make even more digital tools available to the countries in the region[/inlinetweet], which is why today we are launching the IDB’s first ever Code Expedition!
In this Expedition, we are looking to identify digital tools (apps, algorithms, and spreadsheets) that can help address concrete challenges, such as managing resources, managing data and information, communication, service provision, handling transactions, image processing, and other related areas.
If you’re thinking to yourself “How can I participate in the code expedition?” Let me tell you:
Think about a digital tool that you regularly use and find helpful, or one that you’ve developed, and that you think should be in Code for Development.
Go to code.iadb.org/share-your-code and nominate that digital tool by October 15, 2017.
Tell your friends to do the same!
At the conclusion of the Code Expedition, we will review the nominations in light of two main aspects: 1) its potential for supporting development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 2) its potential to be used, reused, and adapted to respond to development challenges. Based on these criteria, the selected tools will be included in the Code for Development platform, which will them visibility among those who visit the IDB’s web page. We will also post an article here in “Abierto al Público” about the tools published; who developed and nominated them, as well as highlighting them on code.iadb.org as tools nominated during the Expedition.
By making these tools available, we are recognizing code as a knowledge product, and helping to realize its potential as a public good.
If you’ve read this far, you see the vision of what we can achieve together. So, share your code and digital tools with the Region! [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Join us on this Code Expedition and promote code for development impact[/inlinetweet].
Remember, the power of open knowledge to improve lives is limitless.
Kyle Strand is a Senior Knowledge Management Specialist in the Knowledge, Innovation, and Communication Sector of the IDB. Since 2007, his work has focused on initiatives to improve access to knowledge within the IDB as well as in the LAC Region. He works to promote the idea of software as a knowledge product to be reused and adapted for development, and works to integrate the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing as the frontier of knowledge management. Kyle is an economist from the University of Michigan and holds a master's degree in Latin American Studies from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
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