Barriers, Budgets, & Batteries: Organizational Decision Making When Adopting New Technologies

Client: Global Relief Technologies
Faculty: Lucille Pilling
Team: Alicia Meulensteen, Jennifer Wiemer, Kanchan Banga, Tanti Liesman
Year: 2009
How does an organization decide to adopt a new technology in its field programs? Global Relief Technology, a producer of handheld data collection devices, asked the Capstone team to research the barriers for PDA adoption by emergency relief organizations. NGOs across sectors are increasingly weighing the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of new ways of collecting timely, mission-specific data. The team interviewed approximately a dozen organizations in varying fields to discover the financial, technical, and institutional barriers preventing organizations from incorporating such types of technology. The team also conducted case studies of two organizations (one domestic and one international) currently piloting different PDA devices to explore the decision making processes these groups followed in their technology acquisition decisions. The team identified common barriers and themes in purchasing decisions of the sampled organizations and compiled the information in a white paper for wider industry distribution.