Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
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People’s Intelligence (PI) is an “Alert” winner of Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention. PI automates the collection of relevant quality humanitarian information from hard to access areas and verifies it by means of crowdsourcing and “dumb” mobile phones.
Upon successful development and deployment, PI will empower victims and witnesses by providing them with actionable information that can save lives in return for quality data about their location, type of incident suffered, number of victims and source of knowledge. Partnering organizations will receive early warnings and will be better informed and equipped to decide where to allocate resources and coordinate their efforts.

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

PI addresses many of the shortcomings of current documentation initiatives using crowdsourcing: lack of relevant and quality information, no or limited assessment of the reliability of the sources and the credibility of the collected information, reliance on the Internet, lack of feedback loops, and limited empowerment of those reporting information.

What is the innovative solution?

At the invention phase in the innovation process, PI will define the necessary functional requirements of the system in collaboration with humanitarian actors to automate (1) the reporting and collection of humanitarian information (2) the provision of actionable information to those reporting incidents, and (3) the attribution of reliability scores to a source as well as credibility scores to a piece of information to help organizations make a better use of their resources.
PI proposes to shift from current ad-hoc organization centric collection and verification processes towards permanent user centric information collection and verification processes. With PI, the users become active initiators and collaborators. Instead of monologues, we believe in conversations where victims and witnesses become initiators, are recognized as the real experts of their situation, and are guided in providing relevant and complete information in return for actionable information, while helping relief organizations in their decision making processes and resource allocation.

How does the innovation build on and improve existing humanitarian practice?

From a technological point of view, most existing crowdsourcing platforms operate along the same principles: gather (often incomplete) information from a multiplicity of sources, tag them either manually or automatically and present them in the form of a map, descriptive statistics or as a list of reports. None, however, seeks to engage in a dialogue with the victims and witnesses to collect better quality information and provide useful information in return. We’d like to turn this around as explained above.


The first phase of the project will produce a series of user’s stories that will form the basis of a functional requirements analysis necessary to the design, development, testing and piloting of PI’s technology. Lessons learned will also be collected and shared during the entire life-cycle of the project.

Latest Updates

Successes & challenges: automated collection & verification of crowdsourced information

12 Oct 2015

Christophe Billen, Founder of People’s Intelligence, talks about the successes, challenges and next steps for their HIF-supported project to automate the collection and verification of crowdsourced information to improve humanitarian interventions.


Results of the PI requirements Analysis Phase

1 Jul 2015

At last the results of the requirements analysis for the PI platform are ready!


Seasons greetings and next steps

24 Dec 2014

Looking back at 2014 and into 2015. A year ago, the whole project was still at an ideation stage. We were busy presenting, networking, establishing partnerships, further conceptualizing, planning and budgeting and of course fundraising.


People's Intelligence: Progress and Workshops

12 Nov 2014

We've been busy writing the results of our first two workshops, preparing for and attending a Mobile Unconference early November around the use of mobile technology in the context of crises, and agreeing on research support for the project with the TU Delft and the Leiden University new Peace Informatics Lab.


Readying for our first requirements elicitation workshop

1 Oct 2014

In one week's time we will be on our way to Geneva to run our first requirements elicitation workshop with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).


We'll develop PI with the Humanitarian Community

16 Aug 2014

At the end of July, Christophe Billen, Project Leader for People's Intelligence, went to Geneva and presented PI to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a meeting organized by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).


We raise interest!

1 Aug 2041

Amnesty International has signed a letter of intent, pledging among other things to host a development workshop in London in Q4 2014 to elicit their needs and requirements to develop and run PI


First steps

28 Jul 2014

With the assistance of our Reference and Advisory Board we established our first contacts with international organizations headquartered in Geneva and have a first series of meetings lined up for the end of July to present them with the concepts and ideas underpinning PI and discuss possible cooperation in developing PI with their needs and requirements at heart.


PI gets the go ahead

12 Jun 2014

PI intends to automate the collection of relevant human rights and humanitarian information from hard to access areas and verify it using crowd-sourcing and “dumb” mobile phones.


Related Resources

Report Information Management, Communication & Technology

Final Report: Automated collection and verification of humanitarian information using crowdsourcing

Case Study Information Management, Communication & Technology

PI Platform: Features and User Stories

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