If you have ever spent time Googling information on digital tools for your development initiatives, then you know how valuable it is to learn from others who have been in your position before or those who have knowledge and expertise to share. There is an esprit de corps or a type of fellowship among development practitioners looking to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals by leveraging digital tools. Despite the pace of technological advancements, digital development is still charting new waters, and to date, there is no easily accessible way to learn from the experiences of others.
Moreover, such experiential data for researching tools is difficult to find, can be outdated, and does not allow for a two-way conversation. Many teams struggle to evaluate the different product offerings available and decide on the best-fit tool for their projects and programs because there is no easy way to learn from others. According to the annual Catalog survey, 74 percent of respondents would choose a digital solution based on a recommendation from others. The survey also found that some of the biggest sources of frustration when looking for digital tools were related to the absence of guidelines (35 percent of respondents) and lack of references (32 percent of respondents).
DIAL’s Catalog of Digital Solutions was designed to help global development actors discover proven solutions for their digital initiatives and find the guidance materials needed to evaluate the solutions, through a trusted network of sources, and by learning from a community of users.
We are listening, ideating, and tinkering to solve some of the common challenges faced by our communities. Some of the questions our community members want to know more about include the following:
- How have other practitioners approached the use case I am interested in?
- Has this digital tool been deployed in a project similar to mine?
- Are there any best practices I can learn from?
To help solve these challenges, we’re excited to announce an improved Community Dialog and Forum experience in the Catalog. This is a seamless new way to bring our community of digital development practitioners together to promote collaboration and cross-learning.
The Human Connection
The Catalog has product releases at quarterly intervals. With our freshly launched Q3.2022 release, we have designed several new updates, data improvements, technical upgrades, and bug fixes – many of which have been requested by members of our community. However, data and technical improvements have limitations, especially in the innovative space of the digital development ecosystem. One frequently asked question our team receives is, “can someone answer my questions when I find something I am interested in?”
Our team spends time with our users, understanding challenges and ideating ways to make whole-of-government digital transformation easier, more accessible, and more intentional. We continue to learn from our community of users – technologists, development actors, government officials, and civil society members – and we know that the collective expertise of digital development actors is unparalleled but largely untapped.
Designing this new feature for dialog presents an opportunity to foster conversation, encourage openness, and build connections within the community. For a platform which unifies machine-readable data from trusted sources under a common Framework, commenting capabilities allow all users to interact with the content, the data, and other users.
5 Ways You Can Use the Catalog’s Commenting Features
- Ask your questions – post a question on products, playbooks, use cases, or other entries and get a response from the community. Comment threads are actively monitored by our team, and we will make every effort to respond to questions.
- Interact with product owners – product owners can claim their own product page in the Catalog, keep it updated, and share useful information. If you join a conversation on their product page, they may respond!
- Share best practices – have you had experience deploying a tool or working on a use case? Share your expertise, make connections, and promote cross-sharing in the comments.
- Solve challenges – Help identify the issues others are experiencing and be collaborative in finding innovative solutions by replying to other participants.
- Break siloes – connect with other practitioners working in different sectors or in different geographic locations, empower diverse communities, and unlock the potential of digital transformation.
How can you get involved?
Get started with your first community post by signing up for a Catalog account today!
To learn more about this quarter’s release, click here.
Some of the other updates we are bringing to the Catalog this quarter include an updated maturity rubric and the addition of commercial tools. We’d love to hear from you – what is your indicator wish list? Would you find it useful to compare commercial tools with Digital Public Goods? Drop into our office hours sessions to speak to a member of our team or send us an email: email@example.com