Hurricane Sandy and the rise of Crisis Tech. / by Ken Miguel-Cipriano

Hurricane Sandy brought enormous damage to the east coast of the states, and in the aftermath we have seen a spike in crisis technologies that have garnered enough attention to break through long enough to possibly make a lasting impression. The disaster displaced cities and wrecked infrastructure, both physical and cyber. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and we saw this at work this last week. As the storm began to touch down we saw up to the second weather tracking on the news, aggregate apps, and in many ways even through Instagram! An increased amount of damage created an audible need for food, shelter, and essential work resources. The response was amazing, and I saw the preliminary appropriation of established services to fit the growing need, but this was only the beginning. Specialized sites began to pop up to aggregate and organize the resources available, such as Hurricane Hackers, NeedMapper, Recovers.org, and established startup ShareDesk.

The technology has been there for years but the desire to bring them together was lacking until now. What we should ask ourselves is how can we keep this momentum to establish a sturdy and intuitive platform for crisis relief? The topic of crisis relief is never at rest around the world and it is in desperate need of reformation. We cannot afford to wait for the next disaster to tack on improved methods and resources. What is available to us now is the chance to build a proto-type platform that can be scaled for crisis relief. Which includes more than just natural disasters, but can include war affected areas, health outbreaks, and acts of violence.

Technology evolves at a blazing pace, so it is no surprise that culture lags miles behind. Our culture dictates how we perceive, process and act, so we must look here first before forming solutions. Many of us grew up with a certain view of aid and development,  driven by shoebox donations, 5k runs, and telethons. We're more than a decade into the 21st century, and were following severely dated methods expecting different results to a rapidly changing world. Of course there are great companies and NGOs making strides toward improvement, but the problem is that there aren't enough of them and we're not critical enough on the whole lot. It's a numbers game, the more ideas and iterations we supply, the closer we get to finding a viable framework. There will never be a defined solution to crisis management, what must be understood is that it is an endless process that requires our continued attention.

p.s.  First post is in, stay tuned for improved content and deeper analysis. Thank You.