Principles for Digital Development: Understand the Ecosystem

This resource provides recommendations for how organizations launching new programs can understand the existing digital ecosystem.


Well-designed initiatives and digital tools consider the particular structures and needs that exist in each country, region, and community. Dedicating time and resources to analyze the ecosystem or context where the organization works helps ensure that selected technology tools will be relevant and sustainable and will not duplicate existing efforts. Ecosystems are defined by the culture, gender norms, political environment, economy, technology infrastructure, and other factors that can affect an individual’s ability to access and use technology or participate in an initiative. Initiatives that do not account for ecosystem challenges are less likely to achieve their objectives or scale, leading to unintended consequences. The ecosystem is fluid, multifaceted, and variable, requiring that digital development practitioners regularly analyze the context to check their assumptions. This resource provides recommendations for navigating the nuances in launching new programs in ever-changing digital ecosystems.

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