Empathic consultancy: a reflective approach to ICTD.
Bass, Julian M.
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BASS, JULIAN M., 2009. Empathic consultancy: a reflective approach to ICTD. In: E. BYRNE, B. NICHOLSON and F. SALEM, eds. Assessing the Contribution of ICT to Development Goals: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries. 26 – 28 May 2009. Dubai: Dubai School of Government. Pp. 315 -
Empathetic Consulting articulates positive characteristics of long-term ICT capacity building engagements using external advisors. Consultants need to demonstrate commitment to capacity building rather than service delivery, flexibility in adaptation of technical skills to local contexts and resilience in the face of crises. Partner organisations must harness and sustain resources to ensure capacity building takes place. Counterpart team members should be committed to learning, prioritising their own personal and professional development. A case study comprising six education institution ICT installation projects is used to identify factors influencing achievement of project objectives. Projects that do not align with strategic priorities of organisations and personal priorities of counterpart team members are not likely to succeed. New skills must be nurtured with confidence building increments over time. For example, a web presence project did not succeed because senior management commitment was not sufficient to overcome a skills gap and lack of an organisational process for content generation. Three projects that had support from senior management and coincided with technical interests of team members met their objectives and are currently in use. These projects demonstrated a growth of counterpart team skills and confidence, encouraged by declining levels of technical supervision.