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SOLVING FOR X / New Tools, Players and Solutions for What Inspires Us

PUSH 2008: The Fertile Delta, Session 4


Technology is the most observable edge of change, offering new capabilities to extend or replace how we mediate our world, our systems, our advantage. New technologies are little prisms of wonder that tease our imagination into brave new worlds of possibility. Consider how much of our economy has been stimulated in response to game–changing technologies such as automobiles, television, aircraft, the Web and cell phones. Much more awaits us still, calling us to invent new futures with new tools, players and solutions for what inspires us


Rwandan-American, Antoine Bigirimana, is the co-founder and managing director of THVF. As a prominent entrepreneur and businessman in the United States, Bigirimana founded and built a successful software company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside of work, Bigirimana spends the majority of his time in Rwanda as a philanthropist, supporting the Kigali Center for Entrepreneurs. He also serves as the Chairman of the non-profit E-ICT Training Center for IT workers. Bigirimana was born in Rwanda and is a central figure in Rwanda’s information and communication technologies (ICT) community. With his growing reputation as a consultant on ICT strategies in East Africa, Bigirimana has spoken at several conventions in Africa and the United States. THVF is a member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.


Michael Furdyk is one of North America’s leading technology entrepreneurs and a brilliant commentator on the impact of new technologies on business and society. He brings a deep technical understanding and practical business experience to his keynotes and seminars. He has co-founded and sold two successful Internet-based companies - and, both of which leveraged the power of new technologies to create unique and compelling experiences for customers. His most recent venture, TakingITGlobal is his most ambitious and successful to date. The organization, which employs twenty people in its Toronto Headquarters, has over 300,000 users in more than two hundred countries. Constantly innovating and with an uncanny ability to understand the needs of its user base, the organization is the world’s most popular online community for young people interested in connecting across cultures and making a difference. Its partners include the UN, and major corporations interested in helping young people become more directly involved in the changes affecting the planet.


Dr. Kolko consults with a variety of international organizations on issues related to information and communication technology adoption and usage patterns throughout the developing world. She has consulted for projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and India related to how rural and urban populations make use of ICTs, from community radio to Internet. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington. Dr. Kolko has been active in the technology and communication areas for nearly two decades. Her work on virtual communities was among the first to include visual representations of users in online environments and issues related to community fragmentation online. That work was tied to her long-term interests in how identity and diversity impact people’s use of technology. 

She is also the editor of Virtual Publics (Columbia UP, 2003), co-author of Writing in an Electronic World (Longman, 2001), and the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is currently PI on a National Science Foundation grant examining the impact of ICTs in Central Asia and also runs the Digital Games Research Group at UW.