Writing (Professional)

The single most important piece I’ve written on humanitarianism is my 2018 analysis of Network Humanitarianism for the Overseas Development Institute. It diagnoses some of the problems facing the humanitarian aid industry, and describes a possible solution to those problems that is presently taking shape.

The overarching theme of my work has been the impact of technology on humanitarian aid. I started working on humanitarian coordination, then information management, and was then somehow pulled into innovation more broadly. My most recent interests are urban response, digital identity, and financial technology.

Humanitarian Reform

Network Humanitarianism (2018, ODI)

The aid system is broken – how can we fix it?” (2016, The Guardian)

The humanitarian future: can humanitarian agencies still fly the flag of high principle, or are they just relics of an imperial model of charity?” (September 2014)

De-Ossification Strategies (December 2011)

Humanitarian Innovation

The Black Hole of Humanitarian Innovation (2020, Journal of Humanitarian Affairs)

The Future of Cash (2018, CALP Panel)

The life and death of an innovation lab: a personal reflection (2016, ODI)

Beating Hindsight: Forecasting for Humanitarian Planning and Preparedness (2016, self-published)

How do we get there from here? The Futures of Humanitarianism (2016, self-published)

Digital Issues

Identity at the Margins: Identification Systems for Refugees (2018, Caribou Digital).

The Refugee Identity (2018, Caribou Digital)

Blockchain for humanitarian decision making: a risk analysis (2016, Start Network)

Aidcoin: A Revolution in Humanitarian Financing (2015, self-published)

Technology: bringing solutions or disruptions? (2011, Forced Migration Review)

Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality (2011, ICT4Peace Foundation/Berkman Center for Internet and Society)

Information and communication technology for peace: the role of ICT in preventing, responding to and recovering from conflict (2005, UN ICT Task Force)

Needs Assessment

Tales of the City (2016, Urban Humanitarian Response Portal)

Rapid Humanitarian Assessment in Urban Settings (2015, ACAPS)

Humanitarian Needs Assessment: the Good Enough Guide (2014, ACAPS)

Sphere for Assessments (2014, Sphere)

“If all You Have is a Hammer…” — How Useful is Humanitarian Crowdsourcing? (2010, MobileActive)

Humanitarian Coordination

Strength in Numbers: A Review of NGO Coordination in the Field (2010, ICVA)

Only Connect: Problem Sciences, Information Systems and Humanitarian Reform (2009, International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management)

Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction: Observations and Recommendations from the Field (2006, Strong Angel)

Establishing Coherent Approaches to Field-Based Information Management in Emergencies (2001, OCHA)

Information Management

Open source software for disaster management (2007, Communications of the ACM)

Better the devil we know: Obstacles and opportunities in humanitarian GIS (2006)

A little learning is a dangerous thing: five years of information management (2006, Humanitarian Exchange)

Surviving “Droughts” and “Floods”: Stretching the Metaphor for Humanitarian Information Management (2003, Public Entity Risk Institute)

Learning from Kosovo: the Humanitarian Community Information Centre (HCIC), Year One (2001, Humanitarian Exchange)

General Issues

Blame capitalism, not corrupt aid, for fat cat charity chiefs” (2017, The Guardian)

The world is stuck in the past, Hans Rosling showed us the way forward” (2017, The Guardian)

The New Humanitarian

Refugees Deeply