I wanted to post an article from Mashable about CrisisCommons and its first CrisisCongress which took place last week. I was lucky to participate in the inaugural Crisis Camp last year and have been incredibly impressed by its meteoric development and impact here in the U.S. and in locations around the world as it looks to bring technologies promise to bear of disaster preparedness and response. Unfortunately, a treatment appointment prevented me from attending the Congress in person.
The article, “How CrisisCommons Is Helping The Tech Community Help Others,” by Geoff Livingston offers an excellent review of the work thus far and analysis of why it has been so successful so quickly:
The CrisisCongress took place last week in Washington, DC. The event, a convening of more than 80 tech-savvy leaders from five countries, aimed to create social media-based solutions to help communities facing disasters like the recent Haiti and Chile earthquakes…
CrisisCommons has inspired a huge swath of people from various global communities to come together to help. Whether itâ€™s a hardcore coder building the Oil Reporter mobile app, a member of the Ushahidi team, or a social media communicator, people with different skill sets connect and work without any personal agenda to achieve solutions that make a difference…
Within a year, CrisisCommons launched and built a dedicated community spanning 10 countries. Almost all of the original networking began online via social media tools, migrated to CrisisCamps, and eventually the Congress itself. According to Gael Musquet, charge d etudes, Departement Amenagement du Territoire in France, the reason the Camps were able to enjoy so much far-reaching success so quickly was that they were structured in a way where everyone could emulate everyone else, and learn from each otherâ€™s successes.
â€œIt is based on the power of the Internet to show what we are doing, and how we are doing that,â€ he said. â€œThat helps people to reproduce the methods of groups who have succeeded, and realize the same things in different cultures with the different languages. For me, things like wikis and Twitter represent the power of the Internet.”
The challenge now is continuing to sustain and expand on the early success:
CrisisCommons is also looking to learn from past mistakes and experiences. â€œIn many ways weâ€™re preparing for the next Haiti simply by learning how to organize these events and hosting them again and again,â€ said [Andy] Carvin. â€œMeanwhile, some of our projects have disaster preparedness in mind as well as disaster response. For example, ourÂ CrisisWiki.org project is designed so that anyone can add disaster-related resources to the wiki at any time â€¦ Then, if thereâ€™s a disaster nearby, itâ€™s easy to pull together the resources, because many of them have already been curated there.â€
However, the future holds some challenges for CrisisCommons. The hardest part is moving from survival to sustainability, said Berrent: â€œCrisisCommons will have to look beyond the next crisis and into their own three to five year future. [The] structure around building community chapters, working with international governments, and creating sustainable revenue models are serious endeavorsâ€¦â€
The full Mashable article can be found here.