Willow Brugh is the director of Geeks Without Bounds, an accelerator for humanitarian projects. In times of crisis, the group deploys teams of hacker volunteers and humanitarians to provide technology solutions to troubled areas.
In October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy made landfall, the Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed its Field Innovation Team, which included Brugh and members of Geeks Without Bounds.
“The Field Innovation Team was about how we could start to bridge different groups in figuring out what they need and having a better response system in general,” Brugh said. “It was very much around field response organizations, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and NPOs [non-profit organizations] to help them often only support the official responders. What we’re finding is that that’s not a scalable approach. So, if you only set up network for the first-responders, the Office for Emergency Management, the police department, etc., they’re better off, but they’re still trying to deal with a massively messy situation.”
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