Ushahidi: A Story Of Non-Linear Innovation

Alan Moore | No Straight Lines | January 21, 2013

As described in No Straight Lines – what we face in a complex challenging world is a design challenge. Here is a story of how without spending any money a group of highly motivated people came together from around the world with multiple-design skills and capability, to create what has become the cutting edge in crisis management, and a new radical design of NGO. This organisation is called Ushahidi.

Kenya provides a recent and inspiring example of getting stuff done when you have no money and no resources, by being able to describe a real problem and then being literate and knowledgeable enough to conceive the possibility of creating an entirely new means to meet the needs of the problem. That problem at hand was not a small matter, it was the escalating violence ensuing from a bitterly contested election. In 2008, Kenyan citizen journalists and activists were actively using Web 2.0 tools and applications such as wikis, blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and SMS messages to organise and share news and information about the recent post-election crisis, chronicling violence, sharing crisis photos and raising funds to help the needy. However, the information was not being harnessed and aggregated as a singular source of information, making effective on-the-ground coordination difficult...