Tag Archive for Crisis Mapping

2013 Think Tank Presentation on Socio-Technical System Design

I’m about to leave for Washington D.C. for a Think Tank on Citizen Engagement in Biomedical Research. I have only five minutes to talk during the introductory speed geeking event, where all of us get to know about each other and each other’s projects. I’m going there to talk about our lessons learned from designing complex socio-technical systems that required intense participation from their users. I’ve been working on designing such systems for many years now. Some projects were/are very successful, some not so much. I’m not sure I will be able to give a full account of what we’ve learned, so I’m putting up a long(ish) version of my presentation here — if I had 15 minutes, this is what I would say to our very interesting group of participants. I chose these four complex socio-technical systems because all of them were in some measure educational ventures and all required outside users to contribute large amounts of data. I will start with Ushahidi. Ushahidi was born during the 2007 Kenyan election. That election was bloody and the violence, in many cases perpetrated by the government, was not being reported. Ushahidi was a grass-roots effort to tell their countrymen and…

Special Preview: Activity Theory

Crisis Mapping Illustration

Once again, we get an early preview of the next chapter of Interaction-Design.org textbook: Activity Theory. The author of the chapter, Victor Kaptelinin, did a wonderful job of summarizing decades of research in educational psychology, cognitive science, and HCI — from Vygotsky to Moran. If you’re unfamiliar with the theories, research, and thinking that brought us to present day HCI design, this is a great place to start (and includes all of the references to the relevant literature). Adopting an activity-theoretical perspective has an immediate implication for design: it suggests that the primary concern of designers of interactive systems should be supporting meaningful human activities in everyday contexts, rather than striving for logical consistency and technological sophistication. While this chapter focuses mainly on human computer interaction (HCI), I would argue that we need to be broader: we need to focus on product design. And as always, I mean product to be interpreted in a very broad sense. We are moving rapidly into a world where everything we touch is a computing device. Today, I Twitted that my washing machine is an ICT device — the new ARM chip is small, requires very little power, and will be incorporated into everything.…

US Rio+2.0 Speed Geeking Session

FrontLine SMS Screen Shot

So I’ve learned a new word: Speed Geeking. It’s like speed dating but for geeks to quickly present their ideas to a small group. You have five minutes strict, and then move on to the next presenting geek. It was a very interesting format, but it clearly had accessibility issue: I walk with a cane and I found it very hard. It would have been impossible in a wheelchair. And others with disabilities clearly had issues with this format. But that said, I’ve learned a lot. Below are my notes on the Speed Geeking event at US Rio +2.0. Noel Dickover — Senior New Media Advisor, Office of eDeplomacy, U.S. Department of State — introduced Speed Geeking and ran the event with an iron fist! FrontlineSMS Demoed by Sean Martin McDonald, Director of Operations http://www.frontlinesms.com Main Point: SMS is cheap data that is easy to structure and moves over cell networks (without Internet) Yahoo Demoed by Gil Yehuda, Director of Open Source Product Management at Yahoo! Gil talk about the use of Flickr for journalism, human rights, and keeping people safe. He raised the issue of copyright. KIVA Demoed by Beth Kuenstler, VP of Marketing & Communications If you haven’t…

US Rio+2.0 Breakout Session on Environmental & Conservation Education

Below are the notes from the US Rio+2.0 conference hosted at Stanford last week. The notes are from the Education: Environment and Conservation breakout session. US Rio+2.0 Breakout Session Education: Environment and Conservation Attendees: Prof. Anthony D. Barnosky: Professor and Curator, Department of Integrative Biology at University of California Berkeley Wali Modaqiq: Deputy Director General (DDG), National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Dr. Khalid Naseemi: Chief of Staff & Spokes Person for National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Julie Noblitt: The Green Ninja — Climate-action Superhero Prof. Robert Siegel, M.D., Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology Human Biology/African Studies at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences Dr. Beth Stevens: Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship Environment and Conservation at Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. Madam Anyaa Vohiri, M.A., J.D.: Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia Olga Werby, Ed.D.: President, Pipsqueak Productions, LLC. Mostapha Zaher: Director General (DG), National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Our breakout group was partly the result of the conversation started the day before in the Environment session. Some of the members of our breakout group were present in that session as well. The main discussion…

ICT & Human Rights Conference Notes and Thoughts

ICT & Human Rights Panel at IADIS The presenters in attendance, in order of presentation: Professor Sangeeta Sharma Title of presentation: “Reinvigorating Human Rights Through ICT” School of Public Administration University of Rajasthan, India Professor Alice Robbin Title of presentation: “ICTs and Health: Complexity Redux” Indiana University Bloomington Dr. Sarai Lastra Title of presentation: ICTs and Children: Bridging the Gap between Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives Universidad del Turabo Gurabo, Puerto Rico Dr. Miranda Kajtazi Title of presentation: Information Inadequacy in Information Society: advantages of ICTs School of Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden Dr. Jacques Steyn Title of presentation: Prerequisites for ICT Rights School of IT Monash South Africa Patrick Meier and Dr. Virve Siirak were unable to attend in person. I summarized Patrick’s work in my opening statement and I hope Dr. Siirak would comment on his work below or on our LinkedIn community (ICT & Human Rights—all are welcome to join our open group). Opening Statement I chose to introduce each subtopic of the panel as part of my opening statement and to give it a slightly unusual take for each topic. Below are my notes and I’ve posted the PDF of my KeyNote on…

Knowledge, Context, & Expectation

These are three necessary components of any product design: Knowledge: the background information that forms the foundation of product design Context: the ecosystem in which the product will be used Expectation: the alignment of goals between product creators and the users for which it was designed A failure to fully understand any of the above variables results in errors that propagate throughout the product system. But what if the product is disaster preparedness? Consider the design of an evacuation plan ahead of a disaster. You would need to understand the what kinds of damage the disaster is capable of wrecking; the probabilities for each outcome; the people and the ecosystem in which the disaster will occur; and expectations of all the participants in the evacuation plans. Tsunami and The Zoo A few years ago, I was teaching a fifth grade science class where we were discussing the possible damage from a tsunami in San Francisco (we just visited the Bay Model). The problem I posed to the students was to design a reasonable evacuation plan for The San Francisco Zoo animals. The Zoo lies on the tsunami flood plane, and as far as we knew there was no plan for…

Information Scaffolding

Here’s another way of thinking about crisis mapping as an ecosystem or a cell with a membrane allowing certain information to enter while keeping other out. Some data has data “receptors” in the organization and thus “gets in”. But some information doesn’t and some just doesn’t have the right format: wrong language, incomplete information, time delay, low quality, etc. Please let me know your thoughts on the communicative value of this illustration. Thank you! And here’s how Ushahidi can help.