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Atrocity Prevention Challenge: Tips For Ideas

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As our efforts continue in the Atrocity Prevention Challenge Ideas phase, we thought we'd offer some pointers. After all, with such a pressing topic and so many directions in which to head with our new ideas, where and how do we get started? Enter Challenge Themes: a handy tool we use on every challenge to guide and focus our Ideas phase.

At their core, Themes represent specific areas of opportunity for our ideas – ones that have been identified through conversations with USAID and Humanity United, as well as through the common topics and trends our community surfaced during Inspiration.

You'll find the Atrocity Prevention Themes at the top of the Ideas phase page and if you click on each one, you'll see a list of questions to help spark your fresh, creative and entrepreneurial thinking for this challenge.

Here's a quick Themes rundown to get your Ideas energy flowing:

Applying Technology


Technology can enable and enhance how humans exchange information. In remote areas it is often hard to use a high tech solution – so tapping into technologies that are already used can be powerful. Often these technologies can be hooked into more advanced systems for global communication with a little innovation.

  • How might we leverage available technologies such as radio & mobile (zip dialing, text messaging, video, panic buttons) to report, learn about and prevent violence?

  • Could advanced technologies such as satellites, mesh networks, unmanned aerial vehicles or solar power be adapted to help?

  • How might we connect and confirm seemingly-isolated violent acts into larger patterns (algorithms, social media and search trends, expert analysis, crowd prediction markets)?

  • What approaches are brand new and which have been prototyped before? What can we learn from existing attempts?

  • How might we help without unwittingly aiding attackers with information (providing anonymity, time delays, private vs. public access)?


Signaling Danger


People have traditionally used a variety of simple means to signal and spread messages: chain letters, carrier pigeons, fire, smoke signals, sky lanterns, kites and flags.

  • How might we use or augment these methods that have worked for years to spread secure information to prevent atrocities?

  • How might we use low-cost warning signs to inform and alert others of violence? Are there ways to connect low-tech with hi-tech (e.g. using satellite imagery used to detect these alerts, or adding a video camera to a weather balloon)?

  • How might we use symbols to communicate across languages and cultures?

Hubs, Connectors and Networks

From traveling salesmen to nomadic tribes to the town market, people naturally share information. Using hubs, connectors and networks can transform the way information spreads.

  • How might we leverage gathering spaces to collect and disseminate information without putting those sharing it at risk?

  • How might we encourage and motivate people to share information they might overhear about violence or planned violence?

  • How might we activate natural connectors (traveling sales/service/trades people, diaspora communities, local influencers and leaders), infrastructure (rivers, coca-cola supply chain) and networks?

  • How might we balance the use of insiders and outsiders to help critical safety information flow best?

Creating Clarity

Making it visual – whether through maps, videos, photos, or drawings or infographics – often makes things more tangible for people. Beyond visuals, effective storytelling may help create awareness by making the intangible clear.

  • How might we create awareness of whether violent incidents are getting closer to your community?

  • How might we use location-enabled devices to report and map violence?

  • How might we create stories or enable others to use effective storytelling to help create awareness by making the intangible clear?

  • How might we help people identify themselves as victims and create awareness of a global community that cares?

Enabling Action

Fear of danger or punishment, anger and other emotions can get in the way of sharing information to prevent violence. What new tools, campaigns or resources can we create to increase awareness of the ways to help?

  • How might we decrease conflict by emphasising commonalities, shared humanity and building positive interaction?

  • How can we make it really easy for people to help?

  • What channels of popular culture such as tv, radio, sports or music might be leveraged to spark action?

  • How might we support potential victims to share information and let them know there are others who can step in and help them?

  • How might we turn potential perpetrators into allies by making them think twice before taking a violent action?

    What new ideas will these Themes spark for you? Share them with us!

Finally, one more tip, consider hosting a challenge OpenSTORM using our Brainstorm in a Box toolkit.
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