The Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Studies is offering an online course over two weeks on “Digital Innovation in Humanitarian Action” from 17 – 28 October 2022.
Since the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, enthusiasm over the potential of digital innovations and new technologies to improve humanitarian assistance has dominated the aid sector. While it shows the prevalence of technological determinism and data revolution among aid actors, the relation of humanitarian assistance to innovations is not unprecedented. The growing involvement of tech companies in global philanthropy has only accelerated this “innovation turn”. From crowd-sourced data used to create crisis mapping to the expansion of drones to facilitate relief distribution, humanitarian innovations capture a large diversity of digital and technological creations meant to improve the efficiency of humanitarian assistance during disasters, conflicts and migration. Exploring the entanglements between neoliberal actors, innovation labs, “tech for good”, data management and humanitarian governance allows questioning the opportunities and challenges of such innovations beyond the “tech utopia”.