Nora O Murchú is a researcher and curator. She has recently completed her PhD at the University of Limerick. Her research interests include DIY technologies, grassroot practices, and open-ended design methods. She is the founder and creator of...
Roger Strukhoff: Get Thee to Nairobi. Or Casablanca. Or Ulan Bator
Get thee to Nairobi. Or Casablanca. Or if you're feeling quite adventurous, Ulan Bator.
These three cities may seem to be the result of a drunken game of darts using a world map as the target. In reality, the nations in which they reside—Kenya, Morocco, and Mongolia—are among a group of 20 nations that emerge from our rigorous, ongoing, unique research at the Tau Institute.
We integrate several technology and socio-economic factors, then create unique algorithms that follow various mathematical curves to determine overall rankings.
We have an overall index, a raw technology index, and through the wonders of differential calculus and third derivatives, several measurements of “instantaneous dynamism” (ID)--ie, how quickly are nations progressing at this very moment?
The 20 countries with the highest ID are, broken down by region:
These are certainly not necessarily the safest, most stable economies or nations in the world. This is at it shold be, as our use of the word “dynamism” here could be substituted with “volatility” or even “instability.”
Chemists and physicists in the crowd will be familiar with the concept. Potassium, for example, is more fun to play with than lead, but dangerous. Sometimes you just want lead.
Background & Process
I started the Tau Institute in Manila, Philippines in late 2011. It was directly inspired by my walking around the streets of Manila, and comparing those experiences with other walks I've had the opportunity of taking in many developed and developing nations of the world over the past 25 years.
How could I capture the relative energy—the dynamism—I felt in some of these places in a way that went well beyond traditional measures of economic and technological progress?
Our relative approach is in distinct contrast to the absolute rankings we see every day from all types of organizations. Absolute numbers don't mean much to me--everybody knows that Switzerland is wealthier than the Philippines, for example. Everybody knows that the United States is the world's biggest economy.
But who are the global stars on a relative basis? Dollar-for-dollar investments have a larger impact in developing nations that developed nations, and a high-speed internet access rate of
I've since built a small team to work on core research as well as business development. Today, we have several types of measurement, all of which can be broken down regionally and by income tier.
Most of our measures don't account for population—thus giving a very small country such as Estonia a fair comparison with, say, Russia or Germany. However, we do factor in overall population in our measures of the overall development challenge that remains among the 102 nations we cover.
Additionally, we are adding several new dimensions to determine how ready the nations of the world are for the Internet of Things.
There are very specific dynamics working in each of the countries on our ID20 list, as well as through all of our research. We break it down regionally and by income tier for general purposses. Some people may much more specific requests, and for example, put different emphases on certain factors--whether a technology measure such as average bandwdith or a socio-economic measure such as corruption.
Thus customized, our research can be of use to companies searching for new locations, partners, or markets; investors looking for a range of options large and small; governments seeking to improve the lives of their people through technology; and NGOs interested in viewing the relative challenges of implementing their programs.
For now, I'll be traveling to Manila again soon—the Philippines is on the ID20 list, after all—and hope to see Nairobi or some of the others on this list by the end of the year.