Crisis Signals: The Future of Humanitarian Data

Our expert panel and innovation showcase explores the tensions and potentials for data management and analytics in humanitarian action.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


March 31, 2017 from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



Satellite imagery, social media, aerial robotics, and other emerging technologies are generating unprecedented amounts of real-time and granular data around conflicts and disasters. This raises questions and opportunities when it comes to leveraging actionable and predictive intelligence to save lives in humanitarian emergencies.

What promises do new approaches in information management and data science hold for the future of humanitarian action? What perils lay ahead?

Join us for an expert panel exploring how local communities, online volunteers, technology companies, and humanitarian agencies can responsibly collect, share, and make sense of crisis data for more locally-relevant and effective humanitarian response. The event also includes a showcase of innovations in humanitarian data-driven solutions and research from Switzerland, Silicon Valley, and beyond.


5.30-7.00pm – innovation showcase
7.00pm – welcome
7.10pm – panel discussion
8.15pm – networking & innovation showcase


Erica Kochi
UNICEF Innovation Unit

co-founded and co-leads UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, a group tasked with identifying, prototyping and scaling technologies and practices that improve UNICEF’s work on the ground. Erica also serves as Innovation Advisor to UNICEF’s Executive Director. Working with partners in the private sector, academia, and international development, the Innovation Unit supports UNICEF’s 135+ country offices in the practical application of design and technology to strengthen international development outcomes.

UNICEF Innovation has recognized success in innovative design of international development solutions. Erica was named to the TIME 100 “World’s Most Influential People” List in 2013. Other examples of this work include the Digital Drum, recognized by Time Magazine as one of the Top 50 inventions of 2011, gold and silver International Design Excellence (IDSA) Awards, a Red Hat prize for being one of the three top open source projects, and the award-winning RapidSMS – a system that uses basic mobile phones and SMS messages to communicate with front-line workers and improve the speed and quality of data collection and health and education services.

Jessie Mooberry
COO, SwarmX

Jessie Mooberry is a humanitarian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) practitioner. She spent the last six months as COO of SwarmX, an enterprise drone-solution ecosystem provider in SE Asia for top energy companies. Prior to that, she designed, built, and funded the first humanitarian cargo UAV nonprofit, Uplift Aeronautics. Mooberry advises startups on scaling and international dealmaking in her free time with her fund, Azul Ventures.

Jessie sits on the board of People’s Light in Malvern, Pa. and is a Social Enterprise Fellow for the Ariane de Rothschild Foundation at Cambridge University. She is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Stanford University Peace Innovation Lab.

Margarita Quihuis
Co-Director, Peace Innovation Lab

A behavior designer, social entrepreneur and mentor capitalist, Margarita Quihuis’ career has focused on innovation, technology incubation, access to capital and entrepreneurship. Her accomplishments include being the first director of Astia, a technology incubator for women entrepreneurs where her portfolio companies raised $67 million in venture funding; venture capitalist, Reuters Fellow at Stanford, and Director of RI Labs for Ricoh Innovations. She is a behavior designer and researcher at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and co-directed the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab where she conducted research on innovation, mass collaboration, persuasive technology and the potential of social networks to change society for the better. 

She is a recognized thought leader in the areas of innovation, emergent social behavior and technology and has been part of Deloitte’s On Social Roundtable and Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Open Innovation and Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology.

Nathaniel A. Raymond
Director, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology

Nathaniel A. Raymond is Director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) of the Harvard T.I. Chan School of Public Health. He was formerly Director of Operations of the Satellite Sentinel Project at HHI, which was a co-recipient of the 2012 US Geospatial Foundation Industry Intelligence Achievement Award.

Raymond was previously Director of the Campaign Against Torture at Physicians for Human Rights and served in a variety of roles at Oxfam America, including Communications Advisor for Humanitarian Response and Interim Coordinator for Tsunami Communications for Oxfam International. He has served in the field in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Gulf Coast, Jordan, and elsewhere. He is a 2013 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and a 2010 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Security and Human Rights Reform Fellow.  Raymond is a co-winner of the 2013 USAID and Humanity United Tech Challenge for Mass Atrocity Prevention. He has co-written four major peer-reviewed articles on the use of information communication technologies in humanitarian response and human rights work.


Joseph Guay
Humanitarian Innovation Specialist

Joseph Guay is an Associate at The Policy Lab  who has developed innovation strategies for the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI), World Vision’s Nepal Innovation Lab (NLab), the Global Protection Cluster at UNHCR, and the inter-agency Response Innovation Lab (RIL) drawing from Strategic and Evidence-based Design, Local Strategies Research, and systems thinking. Joe has helped developed information management solutions for human rights and humanitarian work, first at the Satellite Sentinel Project at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and later–through his teaching at Northeastern University’s Geographic Information Technology program—by providing remote-based information management and crowd-sourcing support for the Ebola pandemic (2014) and Nepal earthquake (2015) responses.


Malcolm Johnstone
Information Management Specialist, UNHCR

Malcolm Johnstone is a humanitarian specialist with experience from 14 breaking emergencies in all parts of the world. His work spans crisis information management, coordinating assessments, developing strategies around cash transfers and advising on adaptation to the pressures of climate change. Recently with UNOCHA and UNHCR in the Middle East, Malcolm has been improving information management practices for the humanitarian responses to the conflict in northern Syria, the refugee influx into Lebanon and the current attack on Mosul, Iraq. Malcolm has a Master’s Degree in Humanitarian Assistance and is completing a second in Sustainability and Adaptation to Climate Change. He is particularly interested in reducing suffering and improving lives through the restoration of productive ecosystems.


Photo: Armed conflict between 1989 and 2015 (in red and pink; Syria is excluded). (ETH Zurich / Luc Girardin with data from UCDP, NASA and ETH Zurich).

Event Photos