In today’s hyperconnected, knowledge-intensive world, digital technologies such as social media, big data and the cloud have fundamentally changed our society. Revolutions are tweeted and solutions to problems are now co-created and crowdsourced. Issues that were once local or regional now have the potential to go viral and become international incidents. How can we leverage new technologies to solve some of society’s most overwhelming problems? How can we use these technologies to bring new stakeholders to the table and to help solve enduring problems such as conflicts and war?
This is the challenge being tackled by a group of business analytics and MBA students from the Social Media Lab at the Ted Rogers School of Management over the next few days in Ottawa, at Canada’s first #HackingConflict Challenge, a part of the #DiploHack Challenge.
The event brings together students, academics and civil society representatives, diplomats, techies and social entrepreneurs, to explore and “hack” real world problems. One of the many goals of the challenge is to introduce innovative tools and methods into the field of international relations and public diplomacy, as well as to help participants forge new connections. The students are presented with a fictional crisis and work together to devise a solution that takes advantage of new technologies that are now available to us. Expert judges at the event vote on the best ideas. Two winners will be chosen, one by the judges, and one by the public via online voting.
#HackingConflict is co-organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the SecDev Foundation (Canada), the Canadian International Council, in partnership with Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. The first #DiploHack was organized in London in 2013 (featured in Wired). Past #DiploHacks have been organized around themes linked to freedom of speech, internet freedom and sexual violence, women in education and cybersecurity strategies.