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KENYA AND INDIA – Just listened to the segment I most wanted to see here at the Way We Live Next event, at Nokia House Espoo. James has been writing up some talk summaries at the end of each session (and a growing round up), but I wanted to just point out one question that came to mind after listening to Jan Blom’s talk about India and Jussi Impiƶ’s video from Kenya.

Jan and Jussi pointed out a common theme around how Kenyans and Indians tackle the challenges of access, power, tools, and tech in general. The solutions that stood out usually had something to do with community and sharing.

What’s in a community?

The last wave of the Web (for us in the boring developed world) was all about crowds working together to create or people connecting to communities of interest. But offline, do we have true communities built around technology like they do in Kenya and India?

Jan Blom showed us examples of communal consumption of media, for example, hanging out watching religious videos while waiting for batteries to charge; or, a tea shop owner discovering an opportunity to offer shared computer access.

Then there’s the tech enabler, the shop or person who has the access to media, and packages it and installs it on customer’s mobile phones.

In Kenya, Jussi Impiƶ is working with communal music projects to help youth find opportunities through producing, composing, or playing music. From watching how communities coalesce around enabling tech, he feels that maybe the next wave of the internet will be based on the communal living patterns found in slums like Haruma in Nairobi, Kenya.

Have we just forgotten?

In some ways, I think we used to be communal and sharing (in the physical world) like this too, except we’ve moved on by giving everyone their own tools – tools for transport, tools to communicate, tools to create. Then, have the tools we’ve accumulated to make us more independent made us forget how to use them in a communal way, like they do in India and Kenya? Is this a blind spot we have that Indians and Kenyans, due to their current circumstances and level of access to advanced tools, do not? What are we missing?

Image from neajjean