Play #7: The Tech Forum

When you are incubating a new sector within a country, focus on grouping together the innovators and entrepreneurs into a forum — giving them a collective voice and leverage.

Asad Rahman
Feb 13 · 3 min read

The Pilot: 3D Printing in Nepal

If we significantly develop the 3D printing sector in Nepal, then regular-use items required in a humanitarian response sector can be 3D printed.

Use this play to answer our challenge around skills infrastructure: when there is a shortage of technical skills for local installation and maintenance of tech, or a lack of local ecosystem to develop and sustain the technology.

This play is part of our Frontier Technology Playbook: Plays by DfID Pioneers to Overcome Development Challenges. Click here to read the other plays and an introduction to the Playbook.

The Pioneers: Field Ready

Nepal has the beginnings of a 3D printing sector, with tens of organisations. We believed that the sector needed to be formalised if manufacturing on demand was going to be seen as viable to those buying items in a humanitarian response.

We created the Forum for Digital Manufacturing, a membership body for 3D printing organisations in Nepal. Giving local organisations prominence (instead of bringing tech in from outside Nepal) gave us local insight into critical leverage points, such as import costs and filament production.

Together, we lobbied government for a reduction in import tariffs for 3D printers, getting this from 40% to 5%, and explored the production of recycled, plastic filament — reducing cost relative to imports.

The Practice

  1. Spend time in country (or engage someone who can) to identify local pioneers of a technology
  2. Give local organisations the space to suggest smart ways of developing the sector
  3. Create a buzz. We found Facebook to be the best tool to generate engagement from 3D printing pioneers, potential buyers and the wider public

Get in touch…

Get in touch with ben.britton@fieldready.org

Frontier Technologies Hub

Working with the UK Dept. for International Development to apply frontier technologies to the biggest challenges in development.

Asad Rahman

Written by

Applying tech and innovation to international development with UKAid. Follow us here: https://medium.com/frontier-technology-livestreaming

Frontier Technologies Hub

Working with the UK Dept. for International Development to apply frontier technologies to the biggest challenges in development.

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