This article argues that those keen to characterise and harness the empowering potential of Information and Communications Technology [ICT] for development projects must understand that the very existence of this technology opens up alternative models of co-operation and collaboration. These models themselves necessitate breaking away from ‘traditional’ command-and-control models of management. One alternative is to persuade participants, or potential participants, to co-ordinate their efforts along the lines exemplified by the open-source software movement and the contributors to Wikipedia: models of co-ordination that ought not to work but appear to do so. The article offers a summary of this argument, and then suggests ways in which NGOs in particular might try to incorporate these insights into their strategies. This is particularly critical for organisations that rely on increasingly pressurised funding opportunities, and which also seek to develop and engender participation and determination from within and among specific target groupings.
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