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Event: Webinar - Technological Innovation in a Changing World


The rise of 4IR and associated boom in digitalization and disruptive innovations – union of digital technology & creative economy– is radically shaping industries, labor force patterns, employment and inequality globally, and Africa is no exception. Today, technology is more accessible, widely used and seamlessly integrated than ever. Information travel is demanded and impacts society much faster and in an inter-connected manner and pace than ever before. Technology has become part and parcel of our everyday fabric. Linked to above, are a new wave of digital innovators with access to an avalanche of data with an unprecedented ease of sharing (mis)information. Solutions to complex problems are being generated in ways unthought of before, and often via unconventional networks of people.

The evaluation marketplace is changing rapidly in the face of digitization and innovations. There is an increasing shift toward a value of knowledge, and the intellectual capital of people and organizations to use technology wisely, effectively and efficiently. Linked to this is the predominance of digital over physical products. The allied winds of change present challenges and opportunities for evaluation. The landscape is rapidly evolving as data scientists ‘encroach’ on evaluators turf – as decision makers increasing demand evidence in real time to address real life issues. Only by grasping how to harness technological innovations will evaluators be positioned to seize the opportunities of change. Accordingly, this presentation interrogates how the evaluation landscape and practice in Africa is being impacted and changed. It also highlights the threats, opportunities and possibilities that technology offers, and how the evolving dynamics, coupled with the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, are compelling African evaluators to rethink their practice and approaches. The presentation will also address how technology is shaping data and information mapping today, more so since COVID-19’s arrival. The presentation concludes that negotiating disruption calls for fit-for-purpose tools that acknowledge and adequately capture effects of complexity. African evaluators need to evolve – revise how we think, train, work & utilize data. Doing so effectively calls for an embrace of technology as disruption is here to stay! It also calls for capacity to effectively address the myriad dimensions of technological innovation, and its shifting context in Africa.


Kobena T. Hanson, PhD., currently is an Evaluation Capacity Development Specialist at the African Development Bank, Cote D’Ivoire. Hanson’s research interests straddle disruptive innovation, capacity development, natural resource governance, knowledge management, regional development, and public policy. He is editor/co-editor of Disruptive Technologies, Innovation & Development in Africa (Palgrave 2020), and has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Environment & Planning A, GeoJournal, Journal of African Development, African Geographical Review, and Africa Today. Kobena holds a PhD from Queen’s University, Canada.