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Are tech innovation hubs changing how citizens and governments work together?

Results for Development Institute

“Despite increasing rhetoric from both politicians and technologists, no one has rigorously explored the potential of tech innovation hubs to play an important role in transforming governance.” — Results for Development Institute

More than 100

hackerspaces, business incubators and university tech labs exist across Africa

Start date
October 2015
End date
March 2017
Period: 18 months


Tech hubs bring technological know-how and entrepreneurial energy to problem-solving. More and more, they aim not just to develop commercial products, but also to trigger tech-enabled solutions to social challenges.

But what potential do tech innovation hubs actually have to change how governments and civil society actors work together?




There is little research about what role tech innovation hubs might play in the broader open government movement. This project aims to fill this gap by asking:

  • what potential do tech innovation hubs have to change the way that governments and civil society actors work together?
  • do policymakers see hubs as partners in collaborative governance?
  • where hubs have taken an explicitly policy-oriented focus, how do policy-makers perceive their contributions?

The research will be based on interviews with hub leaders, government officials and policy-makers. It will also involve policy-makers working with the team to refine the questions, so that the research gives them answers that they need.

The research aims to create change in the ways that governments and tech innovation hubs interact. It will provide donors, government officials and civic activists with a better understanding of the value of tech innovation hubs and the potential for engaging with them. It will also provide the hubs with information on how policy-makers view their work.

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Results for Development Institute is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to unlock solutions to the development challenges that prevent people in low- and middle-income countries from realising their full potential.

It has experience working with independent research and accountability organisations; researching the development, diffusion and uptake of new ideas in international development; developing innovative efforts to explore co-governance; and working directly with policy-makers at all levels of government.


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