Digital Divide Institute
DDI helps corporations close the digital divide via CSR, R&D and market-development. We gave Microsoft its global CSR program in 1996-1999 and provided Google with its first seminars on digital divide in 2006. We then extended our reach to Huawei, Cisco, Nokia (and Nokia-Siemens), Yahoo!, NTT Docomo, and to regional telcos in Asia. We also helped research labs find technological “solutions” to digital divide – at Google Research, Microsoft Research, Yahoo!, IBM Research, Nokia Research, IBM Labs. We now develop media convergence concepts to close digital divide strategies for regional telcos.
Digital Divide Institue was born from a Harvard/MIT coalition in 2002-2004, when Prof Craig Warren Smith held a joint appointment at Harvard, supervised by two academic superstars: Harvard Prof Jeff Sach and MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte. Prof Smith, founder of DDI, then reached out to universities across the US (University of WA, Stanford, UCBerkeley, Carnegie Mellon) and finally those in Asia (National University of Singapore) before he brought DDI to Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, our home base. In Asia our focus is to position academics as “objective advisors” to government policymakers charged with closing digital divide.
In 1999, we built a coalition of the world’s major philanthropic foundations. They collaborated in efforts to close digital divide. We have received funding to close digital divide from each of them They include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Markle Foundation, Open Society Institute. We have also advised e-billionaires (and their parents) on the creation of philanthropic familyfoundations including those of Bill & Melinda Gates and Bezos Family Foundation. Later, we helped Ford Foundation integrate its various program categories to support Digital Divide.
Since 2001, DDI has advised ICT ministers and Prime Ministers on the topic of Digital Divide, often helping them establish ICT ministries and inter-ministerial working groups. We have advised ministers in India, Indonesia, Thailand, US, China (and Chinese Taipei), Philippines, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Our model of Meaningful Broadband was successfully embraced by government stakeholders in Thailand (2008) and Indonesia (2013). Our current major government advisory role is with the Office of the President in Indonesia.
We introduced the theme of Digital Divide to many intergovernmental agencies, e.g. World Trade Organization (199), the United Nations itself (by designing the UN’s ICT Task Force 2000), the World Bank 2002) UNESCO in Paris, (2006) to Asian Development Bank (2007) and most recently to APEC (2009-2013. We have participated in various ITU summits, seminars and conferences worldwide. We are now formulating deployments in partnership with World Bank.