As technological tools become more available in an open source market, the humanitarian community has the opportunity to adopt cutting-edge innovation for more effective impact and relief. Technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, data management tools, satellite imagery, or 3D printing can revolutionize humanitarian action if applied appropriately and responsibly.
The Institute’s humanitarian innovation initiative explores the applications and limitations of technology and innovation for humanitarian response. Researchers craft policy, implement trainings and education modules, and host public and private events aimed at placing innovation management and ethical data science at the center of humanitarian action.
The initiative brings together leading experts from humanitarian, technology and academic sectors for the development of a Humanitarian Clearinghouse. Researchers and partners analyze and collate a wealth of knowledge on innovation methodologies and tools that can be made accessible to humanitarians working in crises worldwide. Through the development of evidence-based indicators, the clearinghouse also facilitates the effective matching between groundbreaking technologies and critical humanitarian needs.
IIHA Innovation Fellows implemented the following projects in 2017:
- Data and Innovation Management in Humanitarian Action Course at Fordham University in New York City
- Summer School on Big Data for Peace and Justice at Leiden University in The Hague
- Humanitarian Blockchain Summit at Fordham University in November 2017 brought together technology experts, private sector professionals, and humanitarian workers to discuss the future of blockchain technology in humanitarian operations.
Upcoming initiatives include:
- Humanitarian Clearinghouse: An indicator-based framework to improve the compatibility of future technologies with humanitarian applications.
- Blockchain for Humanity Initiative: Research projects and a Community of Practice to identify, analyze and promote ethical applications of distributed ledger technologies in the humanitarian field.
- Training and education: A set of courses on humanitarian data and innovation management aimed at aid professionals, or other experts involved in humanitarian response.
Humanitarian Innovation Fellows:
Giulio Coppi is a legal expert (BA, MA, MAS in International Legal Affairs and Humanitarian Studies) with more than 10 years of experience designing and managing humanitarian operations around the world. As Humanitarian Innovation Fellow, his research focuses on the ways new technologies and strategies can affect the delivery of humanitarian response. More specifically, Giulio investigates how technology impacts the policy and governance of organizations and supports humanitarian agencies to develop data responsibility and protection frameworks.
Jorn Poldermans co-directs efforts around humanitarian innovation. He helps partners – ranging from international organizations to local governments – to optimize their use of relevant technologies, helping to understand the possibilities, limitations and responsibilities they bring. Exploring innovation and technology for several years, his work focuses on vetting existing and upcoming technologies for the humanitarian and development sectors in a clearinghouse format.
Relevant links and past work:
Normalizing the data revolution (Tech’s Good, New York, 2017)
Emergency Response Briefing – Terms of Reference for Research - Improving Capacity and Innovation to Prepare and Respond (International Peace Institute, New York, 2017)
Emergency Response Briefing - Yemen - Improving Capacity and Innovation to Prepare and Respond (International Peace Institute, New York, 2017)
TOR145 ― High Tech Humanitarians With Giulio Coppi (Aidpreneur, Terms Of Reference PodCast, 2017),
Humanitarian Technology and Innovation: Opportunities and Challenges in Urban Disaster Settings, in Vulnerabilities and Humanitarian Responses in Urban Settings (Fordham University IIHA, New York, 2017)
Using big data to analyse WFP’s digital cash programme in Lebanon (Humanitarian Practice Network, February, 2017)
How Can Humanitarians Embrace Innovation?: Q&A with Giulio Coppi, (IPI, Istanbul, June, 2016)
A legal analysis of the authorization of access in cross-border humanitarian assistance (Geneva Academy, Geneva, 2015)
La Provincia Autonoma di Trento e la Cooperazione Internazionale, (OECD Publishing, Trento, 2015)