“Digitally Enabled Social Intermediation: A Research Framework”
(Professor, The Research School of Management, Australian National University)
Research on information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), now commonly referred to as digital development, has faced challenges in effectively engaging with marginalized communities at the base of the pyramid (BoP) and aiding practitioners in achieving their developmental goals. Most research conducted in this field fails to address the needs of the “missing” beneficiaries or those who live on the fringes of society. To address these inadequacies, a critical review of the literature and extensive engagement with practitioners from around the world has led to the development of the digitally-enabled-social-intermediation (DESI) framework. This framework offers insights for future researchers to examine how digital technologies can be leveraged to achieve developmental objectives by and for the beneficiaries, enabling the marginalized to access global markets and engage beyond local boundaries. By utilizing the DESI framework, future research can explore relevant theories and develop research questions that focus on the implications of digital development for BoP beneficiaries, leading the field towards a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges of marginalized communities.