20% Time

As per the community culture, I decided to spend my “20% time” today pursuing my aspiration to eventually own a monitoring and evaluation business for ICT4E projects. It was quite interesting and made me even more excited to pursue it as a career. I am finally starting to understand what I need to do in order to conduct this research, logistically, personally, academically…all of that fun stuff!

This is such a new area of study that it is difficult to find people who have conducted this type of research, especially in Latin America. From personal observation, it seems that English speakers are more involved in development within African countries. I have been looking through Twitter feeds and ICT4E themed blogs and I see a plethora of discussions on projects in Africa. I am slightly perplexed though that I did not find nearly as many discussions on projects in Latin America either in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

It is not as though there are not ICT4E projects being carried out throughout Latin America. On the contrary, I have witnessed these projects and have personally discussed some with people from Colombia, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Perhaps, I was not looking in the right places.

Then again, I have noticed that there is a large online presence of Spanish speakers in regards to “TIC en las aulas”.

This leads me, somewhat curiously, to another interest of mine. While I was doing research on Plan Ceibal, I noticed that there were so many people I encountered who were proponents of open knowledge and free software that were not involved directly with Plan Ceibal. Even when I went to Wikimania in D.C., it was interesting to see the number of participants from Latin American countries.

I distinctly remember using people personal’s computers and even office computers in research centers or universities in Argentina and Uruguay and seeing free software installed. For a while (and even now really), I contemplated pursuing research on how culture in Latin America may lend itself to the open knowledge/free culture/free software types of communities. This is a bit of a digression from my initial point of this post. Eh, but not really.

This post really boils down to my pursuit of 20% time, which is all about not spending 100% of your “work” time actually performing work tasks. Instead, the idea is to spend 20% of your time on a project that you want to pursue outside of work. Widely popularized by Google, but known to have brought forth the Post-It note in 1974. Source. Go figure.