I recently attended my first Pacific Connect Dialogue with the wonderful members of ICDP and GAP. We had an interesting dialogue on women in business and digital delivery in the Pacific Islands. The discussions focused on challenges faced by business women using IT in their daily lives, be it for work, education or pleasure, and what that means for their businesses, children and families as well as society. Some of the topics that I found most interesting included: having access to social media and global audiences (but not having the capacity to sell products online due to non-existent online payment systems that did not handle local currency conversions), remote internet access and the high cost of connectivity and of struggles with behaviour change.
By the end of the Dialogue we had the beginnings of a solution to the online payment systems, but this would require some changes to policy. It was left in the good hands of participants to find a solution. What a wonderful result this would be not only for business owners and entrepreneurs, but also for economic growth for the region! I’m looking forward to the results of the discussion, because if successful it would mean that I could purchase some of the beautiful clothes and handicraft that the women were wearing and showing.
I also found the similarities between connectivity in the Pacific Islands and regional and remote Australia interesting and I think we can learn from each other here… but more on that in my next blog.
Finally, I think we can share our knowledge to find solutions for potential projects through a focus on social marketing and behaviour change. This is important not only economically, as the Pacific Island peoples navigate their way through innovation to meet demand for Pacific products, but also socially. Some of the concerns raised during the Dialogue included how youth were interacting with technology and the influences it would have on their future and issues around waste management and sustainable business for a sustainable future. I am looking forward to more discussions about how a behaviour change master class might help the Pacific women entrepreneurs, business owners and innovators influence change for good in their region.