INASP digital principles for development

At the core of our digital strategy is the premise that our approaches must be sustainable, relevant and appropriate to the needs of our partners. 

We officially endorse the Principles for Digital Development, which we see as being closely interlinked, and embedded throughout our work.  In order to put these principles into practice and make sure they work within an INASP context, we have developed an INASP-specific approach that is grounded in our organizational values.

The following guidelines help us make decisions about when and how we use digital technology to deliver our work in order to achieve, or enhance our, development impact.

Digital Principle 1: Design With the User    

User-centred design starts with getting to know the people you are designing for through conversation, observation and co-creation.

For INASP, this means:

  • We strive to understand local context and needs in order to meet our partners and users at the appropriate point on their current learning pathway.
  • Having a clear focus on the desired outcome and needs of our partners helps us to ensure that the appropriate approach is used. 
  • We have in-house online learning design expertise to ensure that newest trends in educational research and practice around course design are integrated in our work.

Digital Principle 2: Understand the Existing Ecosystem  

Well-designed initiatives and digital tools consider the particular structures and needs that exist in each country, region and community.

For INASP, this means:

  • We put learning first, and see technology as a means to an end. In order to avoid a new digital based divide, we recognize that digital is complementary to other capacity development approaches. For us the priority is people, not platforms, and we must be prepared to think beyond digital approaches.  

Digital Principle 3: Design for Scale

Achieving scale requires adoption beyond an initiatives pilot population and often necessitates securing funding or partners that take the initiative to new communities or regions.

For INASP this means:

  • Our needs based and context sensitive approach to digital capacity development, requires us to be clear on the level of scale we are aiming to achieve from the beginning of a project–institution, country, regional or global level.
  •  Our approach to piloting and iterative course development in collaboration with local partners means that we design with the appropriate scalability and sustainability (see more below) in mind from the beginning.
  • By adhering to the principles of open-ness, we ensure that our digital initiatives are available for adaptation, sharing and reuse by others, enabling greater scale to be achieved.

Digital Principle 4: Build for Sustainability  

Building sustainable programs, platforms and digital tools is essential to maintain user and stakeholder support, as well as to maximize long-term impact.

For INASP this means:

  • Sustainability is core to all that we do. Our organizational commitment and approaches to capacity development and partnership are just as important in a digital environment.  
  • As in a non-digital context, local ownership is critical, so we work in collaboration with partners to define the problem, identify the most appropriate solutions, evaluate and communicate what we learn. 
  • Considerations of sustainability, reliability and longevity inform the choices we make regarding technology partners, and platforms. 

Digital Principle 5: Be Data Driven    

When an initiative is data driven, quality information is available to the right people when they need it, and they are using those data to take action.

For INASP this means:

  • Learning is at the heart of our work. We design and embed appropriate Monitoring & Evaluation frameworks for our digital work, to ensure that robust evidence and learning is generated to inform ongoing development. Our digital approaches and activities are re-visited and re-shaped based on proactive engagement with the data and evidence as it emerges. 

Digital Principle 6: Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation

An open approach to digital development can help to increase collaboration in the digital development community and avoid duplicating work that has already been done.

For INASP this means: 

  • We are committed to integrating open approaches throughout our digital work. Wherever possible, we utilize free and open source software and coding. Our course content and materials are published under a CC BY SA license.
  • Throughout our work, we advocate and promote open standards that facilitate collaboration in the digital community (for example DOIs), and encourage the use of models that can support more equitable access to technologies and information (for example open science). Our digital platforms and materials on them are free at the point of use.

Digital Principle 7: Reuse and Improve  

Reusing and improving is about taking the work of the global development community further than any organization or program can do alone.

For INASP this means:

  • We seek to avoid cognitive or digital overload for users by selecting approaches and technologies with which they are familiar (such as Moodle, Whatsapp). 
  • We draw from learning and best practice across our sectors by carefully choosing and building on existing resources, tools and platforms wherever possible. 

Digital Principle 8: Address Privacy & Security    

Addressing privacy and security in digital development involves careful consideration of which data are collected and how data are acquired, used, stored and shared.

For INASP this means:

  • We comply with UK GDPR legislation, but strive to do so in a way that fits the needs of our users and is appropriate to our resources and capacity in order to ensure sustainability. 

Digital Principle 9: Be Collaborative    

Being collaborative means sharing information, insights, strategies and resources across projects, organizations and sectors, leading to increased efficiency and impact.

For INASP this means: 

  • Partnership is a core pillar of INASP’s approach.  For us, partnership means designing and delivering our work in true collaboration, that is based on a commitment to long-term relationships and a determination to listen to and learn from Southern partners 
  • In addition, we are committed to facilitating learning and share our work between partners and with the wider sector in order to contribute to best practice across our communities.