Advanced Search

Please click here to take a brief survey

Principle 8: Leapfrogging
Article Photo

In the industrialized world, we've gone through many phases and iterations of innovation to reach the level of technological advancement we currently enjoy. It took well over a century, for example, to get from Alexander Graham Bell's historic first telephone call to ubiquitous mobile phones and VoIP. And, indeed, in our societies, the old and the new are everywhere intertwined: we may use Blackberries and take genetically-targeted medications, but many of us still drink water delivered through victorian clay pipes and drive internal combustion automobiles over MacAdam roads.

That's not the case everywhere. In rural areas and emerging megacities across the Global South, basic services like telephone and power lines just don't exist. This creates a new kind of opportunity: where even the most basic systems of telephony have never been introduced, for instance, it's possible to skip the landlines altogether and jump straight to mobile phones -- leapfrogging to the technological forefront.

Leapfrogging has tremendous implications in terms of promoting development, facilitating access to medical care and educational tools, enabling new forms of local currency and credit, and transferring remittances around the world. It's a means of sharing information and leveling the playing field between Global North and Global South. Some of the innovations now being created in leapfrogging nations will probably influence in turn development in the industrialized world -- a process that's been described by such clumsy terms as leapback and frogleaping, but which we can probably all expect to see much more of in coming years.

All of this may turn out to be extraordinarily good news for sustainable development, as access to information technologies, distributed power and water systems and innovative medical, agricultural and architectural solutions help people create new pathways out of poverty and towards a bright green future.

Village Phone Direct

Green Wifi

Chinese Nomads Leapfrog to Solar

Artists' Open Source: PeopLink and CatGen


Weza and the Challenge of Leapfrogging Daily Life


It's Cute, It's Orange, It has Bunny Ears: An Update on the One Laptop Per Child Project

NGO in a Box

Open Source, Development and Design

Frontline SMS: Texting Value in the NGO Sector


Native Wind

Narrowband - One Solution for African Connectivity

Bright Green Urban Leapfrogging

Broadband for Barefoot Bankers

Climate and the Leapfrog World

Energy Leapfrogging


The Henya Stove -- A Kenyan Solution for a Global Problem

Rural Computing in Peru

Leapfrog 101

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Bookmark and Share



MESSAGE (optional):

Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg