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A New Vision for Humanitarians and Open Data

Humanitarian work is rapidly evolving. As crises emerge and unfold, digital technologies and networked communities are changing the way information is collected, distributed, analyzed, and acted upon.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a comprehensive report on the impact of these technologies and made a powerful statement calling for “more diverse and bottom-up forms of decision-making – something that most Governments and humanitarian organizations are not designed for.” With an abundance of information being produced around crisis events, there is a need to rethink how technology is used in support of humanitarian action.

With these changes on the horizon, OCHA launched the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) initiative to develop an online platform for aggregating humanitarian data on a local and global scale. The effort brings together relief providers, communication specialists, engineers, data scientists and volunteers to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis.

OCHA has partnered with frog to research behavior, motivation, and processes that support data sharing and crisis reporting. By understanding these drivers, we aim to establish a vision for how UN agencies, NGOs, and governments could use an open platform for data exchange and distribution. At frog, we tackle big problems like this through immersive research, strategic thinking, interdisciplinary collaboration, and iterative design.

Our partnership with OCHA gets to the core of what frogs love to do most: create meaningful experiences that empower individuals to understand their world more deeply and achieve their goals more easily. Humanitarian work takes people to the frontlines of crises, making the data they engage with more than numbers on spreadsheets. Within frog, we’re eager to learn how data becomes knowledge, how knowledge leads to insights, and how insights are translated into action that can help communities and drive resilience.

In the coming weeks, the frog team will travel to New York, Bogota, and Nairobi to conduct interviews, facilitate co-design activities, and learn from humanitarians about how they work. You can follow our work in real-time on Twitter and Instagram through the hashtag #InsightsHDX.

Michael DelGaudio

Michael balances creative and analytical thinking with one goal: bring the future into focus through the vehicle of design.

Jennifer Dunnam

Jennifer Dunnam is an Associate Creative Director at frog where she leads an interdisciplinary team to research and develop innovative products, services, and experiences for today’s leading organizations, and emerging start-ups.

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