Innovation Serving Humanity
Technology has the potential to transform the way we address the world’s toughest challenges. But, this will only happen if innovators know what technological tools humanitarian workers in-the-trenches truly need; and only humanitarian field workers know what innovations are truly sustainable. Unfortunately, there is a chasm between technological innovators and humanitarian field workers which almost always prevents this coordination from occurring. To bridge this gap, the UN Foundation, the Vodafone Group Foundation, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s preeminent technical professional society, are working together to create the Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) 2008-2010.
The Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC) will identify real world problems that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) face in the areas of healthcare in the developing world and disaster relief, and develop technologically oriented real-world solutions to address these problems. IEEE is looking to engage its Societies, Councils, Geographic Units and general membership in developing sustainable tools that will help alleviating suffering and will increase the effectiveness and/or efficiency of humanitarian aid workers on the ground – delivering health care or tracking diseases or providing relief to those impacted by disaster.
HTC will provide humanitarian experts, in the field of health and emergency response, a forum to present core issues they deal with in the field. They will have the chance to work with IEEE engineers to create or modify sustainable technology solutions to address the challenge. This is not a campaign with the goal of developing innovative technology for the sake of research and development. Instead, HTC will provide a platform to address large development issues and match them with sustainable technology solutions.
The HTC is an unprecedented opportunity to encourage IEEE members from around the world to collaborate using their skills and education to benefit humanity. The problems (challenges) will be framed with the environmental, cultural, structural, political and socio-economic and resource constraints so that solutions can be developed, deployed and sustained.
The Humanitarian Technology Challenge will raise the visibility of the IEEE through a comprehensive communications/outreach plan. It will enhance the bond with IEEE members by tangibly demonstrating the IEEE Core Purpose of “fostering technological innovations and excellence for the benefit of humanity.” It will provide an opportunity to collaborate with highly respected international organizations such as the United Nations Foundation, United Nations entities such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and International Red Cross. It will help us respond to the need voiced by several of our younger members to address world problems in a tangible manner. It will allow us to leverage the geographic and technical diversity of the IEEE in solving large scale problems. It will allow us to investigate the use of technology and social networking innovations to capture the interest and excitement of student and young professional members, worldwide. By doing this, we hope to cast the IEEE as essential to the global technical community and to technical professionals everywhere and to be universally recognized for the contributions of technology and of technical professionals in improving global conditions.
The participation of the whole IEEE Community is achieved through a group called the Society (and Council) Partnership Group (SPG).
This group’s role is to assist in coordination and forward progress of the project. Activities would include:
The RAS representative in the IEEE HTC-SPG is Gianmarco Veruggio <gianmarco_at_veruggio_dot_it>
All the news related to the HTC activities will be uploaded in this Wiki.
20 May 2008: Gianmarco Veruggio participates to ICRA08 in Pasadena (http://icra2008.ieee-ras.org/) and is available to meet all the interested people during the conference social and special events. In particular he takes part to
19 May 2008: Request for RAS Members' Input. Following the kick off call, a very tight agenda has been adopted
More details in the attached documents:
Letter Requesting Society Member Input htc_--_request_for_society_expert_input.doc
Identified Humanitarian Needs Matrix identified_humanitarian_needs_051608.xls
15 May 2008: Kick off call of the HTC-SPG.
HTC Project Membership List htc_society_partnership_group_steering_committee_membership_051608.xls
09 May 2008: The HTC Wiki Page opens.