Robert Kirkpatrick

UN Global Pulse

Robert Kirkpatrick is director of the UN Global Pulse initiative in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. His current work involves research and development in mining both the open web and massive passive data to detect the early impacts of crises on vulnerable populations.

Kirkpatrick designs and applies technology for crisis resilience and organizational change. He has spent more than 15 years creating software and the past 10 developing tools for public health, disaster relief, security coordination, citizen journalism, telemedicine, crisis monitoring, conflict mediation, and civil-military cooperation. His work with industry partners, government agencies, and humanitarian organizations has explored ways that techno-social innovation may enhance trust-building, information sharing, and joint decision making across boundaries and lower barriers to organizational change. He is a strong proponent of open data, open standards, open source software, and participatory development.

In 2003, Kirkpatrick worked in Baghdad to improve coordination between coalition forces and Iraqi government ministries. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he provided on-site technology support to civil and military responders. Following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Kirkpatrick supported relief organizations in the disaster-affected areas designing tools for data collection and logistics. He participated in two missions in Afghanistan (2006, 2007) prototyping tools to improve situational awareness for NGOs involved in telemedicine and local capacity building.