Internews launched the Kabul Innovation Lab in January 2012 with the theme “Tech solutions for social impact”. It was the first event of its kind in Afghanistan, bringing together IT experts and the broader ICT community to network and discuss the emerging environment and build tech-based systems.
The 2012 event was a great success, taking place in a dynamic creative and practical environment. See the photostream.
It began with a networking and information sharing forum attended by more than 100 people from all sectors with an interest in ICT – government, telecommunications, NGO, humanitarian, military, business and media. Presentations included examples of the application of new technologies in Afghanistan and around the world for development, business and social enterprise. See the Program.
The forum was followed by an intensive technical workshop attended by 40 participants, and focused on the up-skilling of emerging Afghan technologists in an environment where they could work in teams and collaborate with program managers and field researchers to develop “tech solutions” for six social challenges specific to Afghanistan. Seven national and international experts were at the lab to teach and mentor the teams.
Outcomes of the 2012 Kabul Innovation Lab included the design of 6 sophisticated prototypes that used technological tools such as SMS, voice interactivity, online mapping and data management for real-life application and relevance in Afghanistan. Of the 6 pilots that resulted from the lab, one has been developed to completion while the others still have the potential for development with appropriate funding and support. See the Projects page for more on each of the prototypes.
Another inspirational outcome of the Lab is the establishment of iHub Afghanistan, a professional network of Afghan technologists who meet regularly to exchange ideas and build opportunities within the ICT sector. The network is expanding rapidly across the country.