Three takeaways to help define it

“It will be the air we breathe. It already is, really. The question now is how to shape it.”

Diagnostic is a series of essays and hosted conversations exploring the challenges of building more inclusive digital economies. For hosted (virtual) conversations, like the one described below, Caribou Digital convenes a diverse set of experts and thought leaders with unique insights on an issue, and gives them the opportunity to explore a topic together.

Photo by Praveen kumar Mathivanan on Unsplash

The relationship between digital technologies and development is a broad topic, but one that’s critical to unpack. To that end, Caribou Digital invited a group of senior…


Digital transformation is everywhere. It is used to describe so many things that it risks losing its meaning, and with it, the potential for a common approach to supporting it in pursuit of equitable, sustainable development. We’re sharing this blog, then, as part of defining this important area.

Digital transformation should include both the processes and outcomes of mindful, intentional, and shapeable efforts that lead to intended, prosocial effects. Definitions of digital transformation at the firm level tend to focus on existing or new business models. …


Diagnostic is a series of essays and hosted conversations exploring the challenges of building more inclusive Digital economies. For hosted (virtual) conversations, like the one described below, Caribou Digital convenes a diverse set of experts and thought leaders with unique insights on an issue, and gives them the opportunity to explore a topic together.

Photo credit: Emrys Schoemaker

The use of digital technologies in identification systems (Digital ID) is increasingly central to the digital transformations reshaping politics, economies and societies, accelerated by the demands of COVID-19. Caribou Digital recognises digital ID as a critical pillar in building inclusive digital economies, so we asked experts…


Caribou Digital and DAI are pleased to share a new report on the issues around the use of information and identification systems in humanitarian and social protection support.

Biometric Registration in Bidi Bidi Camp, Northern Uganda (photo: author)

Recently, the systems and technologies through which social assistance and support are delivered have been the focus of greater attention, firstly as the delivery of this support is increasingly in the form of digital cash transfers which require digital systems for their delivery and secondly, as an increasing number of governments have responded to COVID-19 with direct cash transfers to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis.

Data systems to register and…


We’re pleased to share this report on Kenya’s Identity Ecosystem. It provides an overview of the main identification systems used to manage development, and an in-depth exploration of three that are vital to Kenyans’ participation in political and economic life. The report was researched and written by Emrys Schoemaker (Caribou Digital), Tom Kirk (London School of Economics) and Isaac Rutenberg (CIPIT). The research for the report was funded by Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of their support to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to strengthen access to digital ID for women and girls.

The full…


Dr. Emrys Schoemaker and Tom Kirk introduce Caribou Digital’s new project to develop an identity ecosystem mapping tool for use by development and civil society organizations. This tool seeks to understand the ways in which vulnerable groups, such as women and girls as well as refugees, are excluded and how to manage those risks by giving organizations a clearer perspective of identification ecosystems and the motivations and interests of those within them. …


Caribou Digital are pleased to share our latest research on digital identification, focusing on refugee registration and data management.

The report is here, together with an interactive graphic.

There are over 68 million displaced people in the world, and over 25 million refugees, according to UNHCR, and as these individuals move across borders and register for legal recognition and vital services, they share sensitive personal information with a many different organisations, increasingly using digital identification technologies. Despite growing interest in the benefits new digital technologies can bring for both organisations and individuals, there has not yet been any in depth…


How we measure attention incentivises content that erodes our public sphere and polarises communities, including in the Global South. Could better metrics incentivise better content?

  1. Media Metrics Matter

Our ad-based platforms aren’t just fuelling social and political polarisation in post-industrial economies — we know from research that they are having an impact in emerging markets as well. As news emerges of Facebook meeting representatives from the Philippines, Myanmar and Sri Lanka about it’s misinformation problem — it’s become clear that the social platforms which increasingly dominate our source of information, have grave and negative effects. Social media platforms are funded…


Why Agency and Privacy matter for Refugee Communities

Emrys Schoemaker & Paul Currion

Ahmed and friends hunt for internet in Zaatari refugee camp (Photo: Emrys Schoemaker)

Ahmed and the Internet

Ahmed fled Daraa in Syria nearly two years ago. He registered as a refugee in Jordan, but the same registration that gives him security also means that he has to stay in the refugee camp he’s been assigned to. Yet communicating with the outside world is critical for Ahmed and his friends, which explains why they’re crouching by the fence around the compound where all the NGO offices are clustered. Ahmed explained:

“I’m using Facebook, so I have be here by the fence to get the NGO…

Dr. Emrys Schoemaker

research & strategy; digital technology, media and identity ; development, conflict & governance; Caribou Digital; PhD (LSE)

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