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The Mismanagement of One Laptop Per Child.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 05, 2008

The next issue of Inside Innovation is out online on Thursday and in print on Friday and it features a cover story on how the One Laptop Per Child foundation was mismanaged by its founder Nicholas Negroponte. Negroponte is a visionary, not an execution guy, and OLPC’s troubles around the world are in part a reflection of that.

Steve Hamm and Geri Smith did a deep analysis of OLPC, with Geri going to Peruvian villages (Quecha-speaking) to see how the laptops are doing in the hands of kids. Of course, they love them. These are children with little food and clean water and the XO’s open a whole new world to them.

The Peruvian Education Minister is a believer in Constructionism—learning by doing— and hopes OLPC will allow the children to circumvent the poor education system.

There are magnificent pictures of this village and the children online in a voice-over slide show by Geri.

Steve is optimistic about OLPC and the laptops in Peru. Despite the rocky start, he thinks it has real potential to connect poor village kids to the ladders of upward mobility. I’m more skeptical but Steve and Geri are great journalists and I listen to them.

Check out Steve’s blog and his analysis of what went wrong with OLPC’s use of open-source software (which worked perfectly with its open-source pedagogy of Constructionism) and how Microsoft Windows came to be added to the XO computer (to make it more acceptable to Education Ministries around the world).

See for yourself when the OLPC stories pop up online on Thursday night.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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