Peace Innovation in The Hague

Peace Innovation in The Hague

How can technology help address local challenges? Through the combination of sensor, communication, and computation technologies, can the resulting “mediating technologies”, including social media such as Facebook and Twitter, increase positive engagement between different communities? Can we design technology that increases people’s ability to be good to each other?

On Friday 29 August 2014, a selected number of students and professionals met at Leiden University to launch Stanford Peace Innovation Lab|The Hague. A few days before, Mark Nelson (Co-Director of the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab) gave an introductory training course on how technology innovation could drive positive social engagement. The students then came together to explore how to put this into practice within the local context of The Hague.

Their first objective is to organise a two-day peace innovation event in October 2014, bringing together local stakeholders, technologists and representatives from the private sector. The aim will be to develop fast prototype interventions to address local challenges.

The group identified several local challenges and target communities, asking: How could technology help to address the lack of social cohesion between the expatriate and local communities? Can Facebook or Twitter provide new opportunities to enhance the social integration of local minorities? Could we develop a new digital platform to help resolve neighbourhood disputes?

Peace Innovation – Day 1: identifying local challenges – from right to left: Lena Vogel, Daan Eijwoudt, Alixandra Greenman, Timo Ruiten, Jonathan van Geuns and Ulrich Mans.
Peace Innovation – Day 1: identifying local challenges – from right to left: Lena Vogel, Daan Eijwoudt, Alixandra Greenman, Timo Ruiten, Jonathan van Geuns and Ulrich Mans.


During the two-day event, citizens will work together to first identify which groups already create the most mutual benefit in The Hague, across some significant difference boundary, and then systematically search for opportunities to measurably increase that positive engagement.  This allows the team to practice designing and deploying positive mediating technologies where they can quickly train on easier challenges, while unlocking significant new resources, and building the rapport, trust, engagement, and skill capacity crucial to doing successful co-design with the community.  In future events we will then work our way down through the next best opportunities, building resources and Peace Innovation capacity as we go, so that by the time we start working on the problems and situations of negative engagement in The Hague, the local Peace Innovation Lab will have significant local talent, trust, and capital to draw on for those much more difficult challenges.

Stanford Peace Innovation Lab|The Hague is part of the new co-lab initiative, a partnership between Stanford’s Peace Innovation Lab and Leiden’s Peace Informatics lab.


High-Level Panel Session ‘Big Data for Humanity’

(Event recap is a repost of the  summary from the Leiden University College The Hague)

On Monday 18th of August, the Peace Informatics Lab (Leiden University) hosted a high-level panel session on “Big Data for Humanity” in The Hague. The event was organised in cooperation with the Leiden Centre of Data Science, New World Campus and Leiden University Campus The Hague, and was part of Campus The Hague’s “Big Data for Peace Summer School” week.

Thanks to all attendees of the high-level panel session Big Data for Humanity – with a special thanks to Ingrid van Engelshoven (Deputy Mayor of The Hague), moderator Ellen de Lange (OneWorld) and our panelists:

  • Robert Kirkpatrick: United Nations Global Pulse (Director)
  • William Hoffman: Data Driven Development, World Economic Forum (Associate Director)
  • Mark Nelson: Stanford Peace Innovation Lab (Co-Director and Founder)
  • Jaap van den Herik: Leiden Centre of Data Science, Leiden University (Director)
  • Caroline Kroon: Open Development, Cordaid (Senior Corporate Strategist)

Big data for humanity

How could the ever-growing amounts of digital data help us improve the conditions of the global poor? Will more data allow us to improve policy responses to humanitarian crises and violent conflicts? Could Big Data help us bring about peace, development and stability?

Big Data has often been described as a fuel for both innovation and our economy. It is being applied in many areas, for example financial markets, health and fast moving consumer goods. With this panel session, we want to explore current trends in and prospects for Big Data to become a driver for human development. This event is part of the Peace Informatics Lab’s efforts to build a community of practitioners, researchers and policymakers interested in applying Big Data and data analytics in the field of peace, justice and development.


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