Dr Christopher Foster
Chris Foster's research focus is on technologies and innovation in developing and emerging markets, with a particular interest on how ICTs can support development of low income groups.
Prior to working in OII, Chris received a PhD from the University of Manchester. In this work Chris explored the growth of mobile sector innovation in Kenya, and its implications for innovation theory, firm strategy and public policy.
Chris also has extensive experience of working in the ICT sector. As a consultant in a number of NGOs working in Africa, he has helped organisations to better link and understand their recipients through use of ICTs. Christopher also has extensive experience of innovation in the UK, having previously worked in R&D in the telecommunication sector.
ICT and development, innovation, user innovation, information systems development
Positions held at the OII
- Researcher, November 2013 -
October 2013 -
This research project is examining the geographies, drivers, and effects of Sub-Saharan Africa's emerging information economies at a time of changing connectivity and Internet access acros the region.
March 2010 -
By using surveys, interviews and in-depth observations, this project examines the expectations and stated potentials of broadband Internet in East Africa and compares those expectations to on-the-ground effects that broadband connectivity is having.
- Foster, C. (2014) Does Quality Matter for Innovations in Low Income Markets? The Case of the Kenyan Mobile Phone Sector. Technology in Society 38: 119-129.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2014) Nurturing user–producer interaction: inclusive innovation flows in a low-income mobile phone market. Innovation and Development 4 (2) 221-237.
- Heeks, R.B., Foster C.G. and Nugroho, Y. (2014) New models of inclusive innovation for development. Introduction to special issue on New Models of Inclusive Innovation for Development. Innovation and Development 4 (2) 175-185.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2013) Innovation and scaling of ICT for the bottom-of-the-pyramid. Journal of Information Technology 28: 296-315.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2013) Conceptualising Inclusive Innovation: Modifying Systems of Innovation Frameworks to Understand Diffusion of New Technology to Low-Income Consumers. European Journal of Development Research 25: 333-355.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2013) Analyzing policy for inclusive innovation: the mobile sector and base-of-the-pyramid markets in Kenya. Innovation and Development 3 (1) 103-119.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2010) Researching ICT Micro-Enterprise in Developing Countries: Themes, Wider Concepts and Future Directions. Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries 43: 1-20.
- Maitrot, M. and Foster, C.G. (2014) Use of technology in delivering social protection: The Case of M-PESA. In: Rahmen, Z. H., Hulme, D., Maitrot, M., Ragno, L.P. (Eds) Scaling-up Social Protection in Bangladesh. University Press Limited (UPL), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Graham, M., Foster, C.G. (2014) Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Presented at the Round Table on Inclusion in the Network Society - Mapping Development Alternatives, Forging Research Agendas, Bengaluru, India.
- Foster, C.G. (2013) Does Quality Matter For Diffusion Of Innovations In Low Income Markets? The Case Of The Kenyan Mobile Phone Sector. Presented at the Development Studies Association Conference, Birmingham, UK, September 2013.
- Foster, C.G. (2013) Nurturing User-Producer Interaction: Innovation Flows in a Low Income Mobile Phone Market. Presented at the New Models of Innovation for Development, Manchester, UK.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2012) Analyzing policy for inclusive innovation: the mobile sector and base-of-the-pyramid markets in Kenya. Presented at the GLOBELICS 2012, Huangzhou, China.
- Foster, C.G. (2010) Analysing Informal ICT Micro-Enterprises Using Activity Theory: The Case of Mobile Handset Regulation in India. Presented at the ICTD2010, London, UK.
- Foster, C.G. (2013) Micro-Enterprises and Inclusive Innovation: A Study of the Kenyan Mobile Phone Sector. PhD Thesis. University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
- Foster, C.G. (2008) ICTs and Informal Learning in the South. Masters Thesis. IDPM, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2011) Employment and the Mobile Sector in Developing Countries. Background Paper for UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2011. UNCTAD, Geneva, Switzerland.
- Foster, C.G. (2011) ICTs and Informal Learning in Developing Countries. Development Informatics Working Paper No. 46. University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
- Foster, C.G. and Heeks, R.B. (2010) A Model for Understanding ICT Micro-Enterprise in Developing Countries. Background Paper for UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2010. UNCTAD, Vienna.
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 9 Jan 2015 13:18PM
We are excited to announce the preliminary schedule for the 2015 ICT for Development seminar series. The series looks to gather leading scholars and practitioners to reflect on the influence of new communication technologies on development processes. All [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 19 Nov 2014 11:09AM
As part of research we are doing on internet connectivity and economic development, we want to understand the resources that academics are using to navigate these debates. Below is a (very) short survey. We would appreciate it if you could… Continue [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 6 Nov 2014 15:58PM
Our recent call for papers for two sessions at the 2015 Association of American Geographers meeting (Apr 21-25 2015) yielded an excellent response. We received a large number of interesting outlines on the topics of ‘Digital Connectivity, [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 27 Oct 2014 10:13AM
Last week I attended an insightful workshop “IT sourcing and development: New Drivers, Models and Impacts” at the University of Manchester. The idea of this workshop was to revisit IT outsourcing which has become a significant industry and [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 19 Oct 2014 13:24PM
This is the second part of a three part series that discusses the outcomes of recent outreach meetings in Rwanda for our ESRC/DFID-funded project on changing internet connectivity in East Africa (part 1, part 3). In this article Chris Foster… [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 10 Oct 2014 16:49PM
This is the first of a three part series that discusses the outcomes of recent outreach meetings in Rwanda for our ESRC/DFID-funded project on changing internet connectivity in East Africa (part 2 , part 3). In this article Chris Foster… Continue [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 18 Aug 2014 11:31AM
As part of our research work on changing connectivity in East Africa we will be undertaking three meetings this week in Kigali, Rwanda. These will summarise the findings around our research work in the tourism, tea and BPO sectors in… Continue [...]
The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group on 10 Jun 2014 11:56AM
For our inaugural discussion around “connectivity and inequality and inclusion” we decided to jump in the deep end and tackle the 600+ pages of Piketty’s much hyped “Capital in the Twenty First Century”. Undoubtedly this work [...]
Chris Foster on 22 May 2014 08:16AM
I have an opinion article in SciDev this week, which is a human digestible version of my paper on innovation and scaling of ICT in low income markets (pre-pub) in developing countries “Traditional methods of ‘scaling’ information and communications [...]
Chris Foster on 20 Apr 2014 17:00PM
When I started my research on low income use of mobile phones in Kenya, my goal was to understand how ICTs are adapted by these actors. But, research often goes in unexpected directions when you start talking to people….! One unexpected outcome of [...]
Policy and Internet Blog on 13 Mar 2014 09:39AM
There has been a lot of hope and publicity about the economic potential of increased Internet connectivity in the East African region; including the hope of disintermediation and better connection to global markets. Chris Foster discusses initial findings [...]
Chris Foster on 19 Jan 2014 17:37PM
In developing countries, there is growing interest in adapting new technologies to allow them to reach low income groups. Such strategies can help firms to expand to wider markets and at the same time, bring appropriate and affordable technology to the [...]