FEATURE4 July 2016

Harnessing the power of the crowd for humanitarian innovation

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The International Committee of the Red Cross is ensuring its fieldworkers’ needs are met by using an ambitious new innovation technique that draws on crowdsourcing. By Rob Gray

Red cross crop

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was established in Geneva more than 150 years ago and its founder, Henry Dunant, was the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, this impartial, independent organisation still has its headquarters in Switzerland and continues its laudable humanitarian mission to protect and assist the victims of armed conflict.

Wars in Syria, Yemen, Mali, South Sudan and numerous other trouble spots around the world bring danger and suffering for trapped civilians, and peril and misery for displaced refugees – all on a huge scale. So the ICRC’s work is more vital than ever.

While terrible humanitarian crises remain a horrifying constant, the world is in a state of flux. New models are emerging in the commercial sphere to disrupt markets and turn old processes upside down, while developments in technology, communication, collaboration, co-creation and crowdsourcing also have profound implications for the third sector. In the humanitarian space, ICRC is ...