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The time has come for policymakers to begin using innovative technologies to analyze data exhaust, in order to protect communities from multiple slow-onset crises that threaten to reverse hard-won progress in human development.
Robert Kirkpatrick is Director of the UN Global Pulse initiative in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
Robert designs and applies technology for crisis resilience and organizational change. He has spent more than 15 years creating software and the past 10 developing tools for public health, disaster relief, security coordination, citizen journalism, telemedicine, crisis monitoring, conflict mediation, and civil-military cooperation. His work with industry partners, government agencies, and humanitarian organizations has explored ways that techno-social innovation may enhance trust-building, information sharing, and joint decision making across boundaries and lower barriers to organizational change. He is a strong proponent of open data, open standards, open source software, and participatory development.
Robert co-founded and led software development for two pioneering private-sector humanitarian technology teams, first at Groove Networks, and later as Lead Architect for Microsoft Humanitarian Systems. In 2003, Robert worked in Baghdad to improve coordination between coalition forces and Iraqi government ministries. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Robert provided on-site technology support to civil and military responders. Following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Robert supported relief organizations in the disaster-affected areas designing tools for data collection and logistics. He participated in two missions in Afghanistan (2006, 2007) prototyping tools to improve situational awareness for NGOs involved in telemedicine and local capacity building. From 2007-2009 he served as CTO of the nonprofit InSTEDD, where he help to establish the first public health innovation lab, or iLab, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He now sits on InSTEDD’s Board of Directors.
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