Yujuico, Emmanueal / Geld, Betsy DuBois / 2011. Marketing technological innovation to LDCs: Lessons from one laptop per child.
California Management Review, 53 (2): 50-68.

If the criterion for success were admiration for an innovative concept, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project would be an unqualified triumph. The project, which sought to put laptop computers into the hands of tens of millions of children in the developing world, attracted early funding from Google, AMD, and News Corporation and won numerous design awards. However, if the criterion were achieving its sales goals, the project would have to be judged a failure, despite some recent glimmers of progress. In 2005, Nicolas Negroponte, the MIT professor who initiated OLPC, predicted that 150 million of its pioneering XO-1 machines would be shipped annually by 2007. However, midway through 2010, only about 1.6 million of them had been deployed to their intended recipients in less-developed countries (LDCs). The discrepancy between the goals of OLPC management and their actual accomplishments provides an opportunity to analyze the particular challenges of propagating “information and communication technologies for development” (ICT4D). Although the OLPC initiative offered an innovative product, an unusually well-publicized launch, a technologically sophisticated design team, and a product assumed to be widely needed, it nonetheless failed to achieve its ambitious goals when it met its intended market.

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Appeared in

Sector: Education Access, Laptops
Region: East Africa, West Africa South America East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia