The first two days of the UN Digital Media Lounge (DML) provided great insight into how the world’s leading development organizations are leveraging technology to improve the way we address our most pressing challenges.
Below is a list of some of the major trends that appeared throughout the days discussions. Also included are some of my personal highlights.
Leveraging Social / Mobile Media to Engage Public & Empower Citizens
UN OCHA: Oliver Lacey-Hall, Deputy Chief of the Communications & Information Services Branch, spoke about how technology is empowering local populations to help themselves through access to information and enabling participation in the system.
World Bank: According to Head of Social Media, Jim Rosenberg, The World Bank is using social media to become more engaged and responsive to the public.
PLAN West Africa Regional Office: Linda Raftree spoke about the opportunities that mobile and social media create for empowering individuals to participate in their own development, rather than letting development happen to them.
UNICEF: Erica Kochi spoke about UNICEF Innovations Team’s work looking at ways of leveraging the wide spread use of mobile technology to improve reporting and reach a larger audience.
Open Data, Visualization & Data-Driven Decision Making
World Bank: The World Bank has opened up its data and provided tools to help the public easily navigate, download, and visualize data sets. Yesterday, they released additional data as well as new features including charts, maps, graphs, embeddable widgets, a Drupal module and API query builder, and multilingual capabilities.
UN Global Pulse: New UN open source technology platform that will aggregate real-time data to enable agile, evidence-based decision making.
Media Map Project: A collaboration between Internews, The World Bank, and The Brookings Institute, the project is using data analysis to understand the impact media has on government accountability and transparency, economic growth, democracy, and citizen empowerment in developing nations.
Kenna: Musician and founder of Summit on the Summit spoke about the importance of collaboration, as learned through his experience climbing Mount Kilaminjaro.
Microsoft and the ICT4Peace Foundation: Nigel Snoad spoke about the opportunity technology creates for collecting information and developing shared metrics.
Ushahidi: Patrick Meier, Director of Crisis Mapping and Strategic Partnerships, spoke about the need for the crisis management community to work more sustainably with the tech community.
US Department of State and Crisis Commons: Noel Dickover, Civil Society 2.0 Lead at the Diplomatic Innovation Division the State Department highlighted the need for development organizations to be partnering with the technology community to create good, agile tools with the potential to help NGOs all around the world.