FIP 81: What mobile data can do for social enterprise with Guilherme Lichand

In the final episode in our data series, we speak with Guilherme Lichand of mGOV on the use of the “anti-apps” to establish a two-way communication channel with citizens, program beneficiaries, and customers.

On this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Guilherme explains the reason mGOV works with mobile technologies, but mostly leverages the power of the “anti-apps” – SMS, text messages, and automated voice calls (i.e. interactive voice response (IVR)) – which come pre-installed in every phone and are very powerful at the coverage level. The company evolved from using these tools for surveying to building active communications channels with target populations.
  • He talks about some of the most scalable aspects of their technology has been “nudge bots” which push users to make small changes to everyday activities, such as engaging parents in their children’s education, households toward healthier financial habits, etc. As he explains, it changes the architecture of choice in people’s minds which shifts their habits in a more effective manner.
  • He advises social entrepreneurs to try to allow its beneficiaries / customers to choose the method of communication that is most natural for them (noting connectivity barriers), as the message is actually communication platform neutral.
  • Guilherme also discusses how to “find” people for surveying, which depends on whether you have access to the audience and what your resources are. Some options for more generalized surveying of new audiences include random digit dialing, geo-fencing, heat maps, or public interest advertising.
  • He also shares some tips on mobile-based surveying, including keeping the survey under five minutes (i.e. 15-20 questions), having a “re-attempt” protocol to connect with busy people, providing incentives to response, and giving survey respondents information about the results of the survey.
  • Guilherme provides a series of open source tools that enterprises can use for surveys and data gathering, including RapidPro and
  • In terms of data privacy and protection, mGOV always requires informed consent, which can have a large impact on participation rates. They often try to get informed consent first face to face and provide people with the option to opt-out.

Links to Resources:

Connect with Guilherme: