Can user training increase technology adoption and enable women’s empowerment?

A field experiment on solar power adoption in off-grid Uganda

Over a billion people live without access to modern electricity today, including 75% of the population of Uganda. Rooftop solar technology is providing a revolutionary alternative to grid-based electricity and has garnered great investor attention in the last few years, with studies showing that clean energy technologies, such as solar-power, can increase income and save energy costs in emerging countries. Despite these benefits and the provision of subsidies, technologies such as micro-finance lending and pay-as-you-go payment models have had slow adoption rates.

The intervention

Are customers in emerging markets sensitive to their post-purchase experience, and does it impact technology adoption? What operational interventions can improve technology adoption by women? This project aims to study intangible drivers of solar technology adoption in rural, off-grid communities in Uganda through a field experiment involving an interactive and personalised user-training intervention based on real-time product-usage data.

The impact

This is one of the first studies to test the role of user training in technology adoption and quantify its return on investment. Adoption of novel technology across sectors including energy, healthcare, education and telecommunications has the potential to significantly improve social and economic development and support gender empowerment in emerging markets. The researchers focus on the role of the private sector and how decisions made by businesses serving customers in emerging markets can impact technology adoption.


Kamalini Ramdas, Professor of Management Science and Operations, London Business School

Amrita Kundu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Stanford University, and former LBS PhD student, Management Science and Operations. Amrita’s research focuses on identifying operational levers to expedite technology adoption, aid growth of small firms and improve gender parity in emerging markets. She conducts interdisciplinary empirical operations management research to discover ways in which businesses can create social value.

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