The Right Tool for the Job

How organisations are choosing digital tools and how they might make better choices


Are you working in a civil society organisation and  looking to choose an appropriate digital tool for some aspect of your work? We have been researching how organisations in South Africa and Kenya choose  digital technologies for initiatives. The research was conducted by The Engine Room , the Pawa Initiative  and the Network Society Lab.

The Organisations that we studied thought they were using technology fairly effectively in general, but when we explored specific occasions of choosing a tool with them, this overall assessment was tempered by stories
of significant frustrations, challenges and disappointments.

We found that many organisations are building new tools when they might have had more success working with an existing tool. We also found that testing tools out with the people who were expected to use it before choosing was a very effective route to an appropriate choice but that few organisations did this.

You can download a pdf summary here which includes six ‘rules’ that we suggest could help organisations make better choices.

We have also created an online guide to choosing a tool based on our research. If you would like to try it or use it go to

The full research report will be published soon.

You can read a blog on one of the issues that came up in our research: creating new tools rather than using existing ones: ‘are you an innovator or an inventor?’