Digital Peacekeeping: Enhancing Experimentation and Innovation Within UN Peacekeeping
A partnership between UNU-CS and the ICT Division, Department of Field Support, will enhance technological experimentation and innovation of UN peacekeeping through support for research, participatory design principles, evaluation and the facilitation of innovation-learning networks.
UN Peacekeepers continue to stretch and strain under growing demand for their services, expansion of their mandate, and shifts in global security realities. They are being asked to increasingly do more with less in more complicated contexts. In response to these pressures, a robust Digital Peacekeeping partnership between UNU-CS and the ICT Division, Department of Field Support, has emerged. The project will enhance technological experimentation and innovation within UN peacekeeping through support for research, participatory design principles, evaluation and the facilitation of innovation-learning networks.
The rationale of this work are firmly rooted in factual, normative, communication and design theories. Through this work we hope to help advance the technological and innovation capacity of UN peacekeeping through collaboration, experimentation and integration of ICTs into its overall strategy and by making practical and forward-looking policy recommendations that will ultimately lead to improved and participatory peacekeeping.
The following research questions will be addressed:
- How do peacekeepers envision the role of ICTs in peacekeeping operations?
- What are the most promising areas for innovation and experimentation in the peacekeeping space?
- What are creative ways in which ICTs for peacekeeping can be designed, test deployed, experimented with and scaled?
- How can UN peacekeeping institutions be best organized for innovation and experimentation?
The Digital Peacekeeping project is comprised of three phases containing a number of activities; the outcome of each phase will serve as an input to the subsequent phase:
Phase I will use a process of appreciative inquiry to engage peacekeepers in change efforts. Qualitative stakeholder interviews will be analyzed, using inductive and grounded theory, to reveal key emergent themes.
Building on this analysis and the opportunities identified, Phase II will then be directed towards participatory and collaborative design of effective ICT innovations. Iterative usability testing will be applied to determine whether the system is actually capable to deliver on its promises. User satisfaction questionnaires, field observations and focus groups will be used as diagnostic instruments.
The final phase takes the previous results and develops an integrated understanding of the social, technical and institutional affordances and constraints towards ICT innovations and learning across peacekeeping operations. This will result in several innovation workshops bringing together key players for collective reflection and mutual learning on responsible research and innovation in UN peacekeeping. To measure success formative, summative and follow-up evaluations will be carried out.
Peace Tech, UN Peacekeeping, Design, Innovation
Click here to download a short document with research details about the project.