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Data Philanthropy: Private-Public Sector Big Data Partnerships

Robert Kirkpatrick (UN Global Pulse), Mark Leiter (Nielsen)

A growing body of research – from both the public and private sectors – have shown that massive passive data from Twitter feeds, web content and mobile records can help us better understand when populations change their behavior in times of crisis, be they financial, health epidemics or natural disasters. For example, academic researchers have shown how cell-phone location data was used to understand how human travel affects the spread of malaria in Kenya, while mining of anonymized Yahoo! email messages provided a detailed view of international migration rates.

We know that using innovations in data science for the greater good is promising, but the formation of public-private partnerships to make this feasible in practice is simple to say and complex to do.

Our multi-presenter session will showcase a number of these partnerships, from the perspective of leading private sector comapanies from the Big Data community, laying bare the practicalities, agreements, methods and modalities.

The session will be wrapped up by United Nations Global Pulse Director Robert Kirkpatrick, who will reflect on the lessons learned, and options for expanding the practice of Data Philanthropy for the greater good.

Robert Kirkpatrick

UN Global Pulse

Robert Kirkpatrick is Director of the Global Pulse initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, which aims to harness big data for a real-time understanding of human well-being.

Robert’s activities in government, academia, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector have focused on developing innovative solutions at the intersection of technology, policy and social change. Robert has more than 15 years of experience in the design and use of advanced technology tools in business, public health, disaster relief, security coordination, citizen journalism, telemedicine, crisis monitoring, conflict mediation, and peace building activities. His work has focused on strengthening public policy, enhancing crisis resilience and catalyzing organizational change. Robert advocates open data, open standards, open source software, and participatory development.

He co-founded and led software development for two pioneering private-sector humanitarian technology teams, including Microsoft Humanitarian Systems. In 2005 he supported response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina as well as vital relief organizations work following the Kashmir earthquake. In 2006 he contributed to situational awareness and information flows for telemedicine and social program monitoring in Afghanistan. During 2007-2009 he served as Chief Technical Officer of the nonprofit Innovative Support to Emergencies Diseases and Disasters (InSTEDD) where he helped established the first public health innovation lab in Cambodia. He now serves as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Mark Leiter


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Brandon Ballinger
11/07/2013 1:54pm EST

I’d love to see the slides from this!


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