Sept - Dec 2016
Global Digital Innovation
Edu Tech 


Africa, Asia and the Pacific: strongest mobile-cellular growth and lowest penetration rates

Fixed  telephony is on the decline in all regions of the world.

Worldwide, there are only around a dozen countries where fixed-telephone  uptake has actually increased over the past year. Fixed-telephone penetration decreased by about  2 per cent globally in the past year, and will drop  to its lowest level in 14 years – lower than at the turn of the century – with an estimated 1.1 billion subscriptions by end 2014. The decrease is stronger in developed countries (2.4 per cent) than developing countries (1 per cent), and strongest in the Americas region (2.6 per cent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (2 per cent).


The decline in fixed-telephone subscriptions over the past decade was accompanied by strong growth in the mobile-cellular market until 2010, at which point mobile-cellular growth rates dropped to single digits, and they have continued to slow down since then.

In 2014, global growth in mobile penetration will be at a ten-year low of 2.6 per cent, as the market reaches saturation levels, in particular in developed countries where penetration will reach 121 per cent. By end 2014, there will be almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions (6.9 billion) as people on Earth, more than three quarters of them (5.4 billion)  in the developing world and more than half  (3.6 billion) in the Asia-Pacific region. While this does not mean that everyone has a mobile phone – since many people have more than one subscription or SIM card – the total numbers and growth rates strongly point to market saturation.

Whether this will change in the near future, and whether growth will pick up again, will depend among other things on the types of service plans that will be offered in national markets and their uptake by individuals.


Looking at the six world regions, Africa and Asia and the Pacific are the regions with the strongest mobile-cellular growth, and the lowest penetration rates, which will reach 69 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively, by end 2014.


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Creator Spaces   Designing Innovation Economics


Ayesha Dawood

I liked this when I came across it “Thinking is a kind of making, and making is a kind of thinking" says Jessie Shefrin former Provost of The Rhode Island School of Design and past Dean of Graduate Studies of The Rhode Island School of Design.

I like this too, alot 'design thinking ... is the expression of communication – the form itself...' that is the response I got when I asked John Maeda, at a talk at MIT this year what design thinking is -- Is it the form, is it the way it is presented .. and how does it impact international affairs? His response has got me mulling on innovation economics – and a very 21st century focus. The innovation economics idea was introduced to me by Professor William Fisher of Harvard Law School, Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property. And so Professor Fisher I take the liberty to propel this idea to designing innovation economics in the 21st century. So here I am positing Creator Spaces as innovation economics in action. And yes, Prof Fisher, Intellectual Property is important and as you say, only and only if it creatively engages with culture. So I take the creative engaging with the culture of a people, the culture of counties ... to a culture of creation. So, I am building and creating and designing too. Is this Ronald Dworkin`s chain novel theory playing itself out – a step by step building of things.

In particular I focus on Creator and Maker spaces which I call Creator Spaces. It is a movement rapidly gaining traction – and pioneering new pedagogies – tinkering, creator and playful learning pedagogies. No doubt this is influencing and will continue to improve a whole new wave – tinkering, playful learning and learning through play and exploration heralding novel creations as well as iterations in the new edu- tech era.

This is innovation economics birthed. A world of tinkering, software and hardware creation including an immersive engagement with technology and with materials –that is what empowers us to be courageous and creative. To make, to create – the art of playful learning and innovator spirit is boldly borne.

In seeing what we create – both online with immersive engaging of technology to building with our minds and hands to creating with materials to embracing the realm of possibilities and yes frameworks ( the lawyer in me screams legal frameworks as much computational thinking calls for system frameworks ). That is the power of Creator Space. They energise, motivate, uplift and propel growth in ones own sense of self, in creativity, in making, in building, in designing and cognition and critical thinking. And this is why it makes sense – it is innovation economics in both the digital and physical – a new form of a connected world – a world of immersive technology made simple – a world of creative making and a world of design and designing new things – software, new hardware, new things and while the search for new hardware forms and hardware materials is increasingly opening up new possibilities in materials.... Creator Spaces are about working with what is available as well making new from afresh and in that process new forms are birthed – New software creation is Creator Space and open source learning and remixing also lend impetus to this. See what amazing creations Scratch, an open source computer programme inspiring community learning and inspiring kids to create stories, animations and games - initiated at the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group - is doing for kids globally here

Designing Creator Spaces is about inspiring people to take charge of their minds and ideas. I marvelled at watching the excitement and agility of the kids at MIT `s Scratch Day this May. Boundless enthusiasm and fun creations – and such confidence.

A new creator pedagogy in the making – yes – but maybe not so new in Africa and emerging economies where creator crafts and tinkering necessities were birthed. It is this staple that will take the shift to tinkering and artful play in emerging economies to levels unparalleled and a boon for innovation economics. Now that is design thinking innovation economics.  Creator Spaces is innovation economics. And yes, Intellectual Property matters.

Ayesha Dawood is a lawyer, writer and artist and educator. She is a Harvard and South African educated lawyer (@ConsultAyesha) She has an LL.M from Harvard Law School and is a recent Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University.