Crisis Mapping has been an inspiring example of community-led open innovation applied to big problems. Leveraging both technology and crowd sourcing, passionate participants have been able to provide detailed real time information in places of crisis, where insights about people and conditions are in short supply.
It’s a good story and the most recent Crisis mapping workshop in New York City made it clear that this community is still vibrant and moving forward. Hosted at the New School with active support from a variety of organizations, including private sector players like Google Crisis Response, the long weekend was an active engagement of hands-on practitioners. Much of the time was spent out in the community visiting sites of real life challenge and in collaborative workshops.
However, that very vigor raises interesting questions. As these innovators tackle problems with greater complexity, will open innovation’s organic collaboration and loose organizational models be sufficient? Can they retain the same kind of community and continue to scale not just the size of their efforts, but the types of challenges they undertake?