Normally, relief organizations around the world scramble to respond to global crises after they’ve happened, wasting valuable time and money responding to situations that they could have possibly been better prepared to handle. Last week, InSTEDD launched (with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and Google.org) to tackle this issue in a decidedly 21st century way. The goal of InSTEDD, which stands for Innovative Support To Emergencies, Diseases, and Disasters, is improve to early detection, preparedness, and response capabilities for global health threats and humanitarian crises. The organization will work with relief and response organizations, governments, academia, and scientists around the world to address gaps in information flow with software and other technology-based tools and services. InSTEDD will act as sort of an innovation laboratory, and will support the humanitarian community in preparing for and responding to global public health emergencies.
InSTEDD is one of the first projects of Google.org’s Predict and Prevent initiative. Google.org is Google’s for-profit, philanthropic arm, which aims to make its charitable donations work more like venture investments. “Our hope is that InSTEDD can serve as a broker for bringing multiple technology companies, including Google, together to contribute to the greatest needs in responding to global threats in an open, transparent and non-competitive space”, said Dr. Mark Smolinski, Director of the Predict and Prevent Initiative at Google.org. “In the case of infectious diseases, for example, the time has come to change our usual thinking from responding to threats only after they happen, to thinking about what we can do to prevent epidemics from occurring in the first place.” Learn more about this innovative organization at InSTEDD.