Crowdsourcing Innovations in Disaster Management for Cotopaxi


The City of Quito, Ecuador needs help to prepare for the likely eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano situated 30 miles from Quito.

Cotopaxi is currently spewing ash (latest images here). The last large-scale eruption was in 1877, and it is believed that another one is now inevitable. If it erupts, some communities will have less than half an hour to evacuate.

The scale of the challenge is overwhelming. Yet there are those of you out there with good ideas for how to mitigate the risks, especially using technology and innovation, or those of you who know others who have relevant experience, skills, and know how.

We want to ask you to help us spread the word and volunteer to join a series of online coaching sessions to help the city get smarter about how to prepare. Please, we need your help.

We will convene a dozen online sessions to help the city address the major pressing challenges in disaster management.

The goal of these online sessions is to:

  1. Better define and understand the nature of the problem
  2. Help connect those people with relevant experience and know how to city officials to help Quito better manage the impending disaster
  3. Identify innovative and practical ways, especially using new technology, to tackle the challenge at hand
  4. Result in at least 2-3 implementable ways per topic of doing things differently that could potentially save lives, save resources, and allow for money to be spent on what matters most.

What We Need From You?

  • Volunteer your time and skills by signing up HERE. Choose the sessions of greatest relevance where you have the most to contribute:
    • Thursday, October 1 – Coordination of Communication 
    • Monday, October 5 – Evacuation Planning 
    • Thursday,  October 8 – Cost Effective Human and Animal Shelters
    • Monday, October 12 – Citizen Sensing and Citizen Science
    • Thursday, October 15 – Protection of Vulnerable Populations
    • Monday, October 19 – Construction of a Skills-Based Expert Network
    • Thursday, October 22 – Continuity of Communications Systems 
    • Monday, October 26 – Air and Water Quality and Sanitation
    • Thursday, October 29 – Food Safety and Cold-Chain Supply Management
    • Monday, November 2 – Access to Health Services 
    • Thursday, November 5 – School Alternatives During a Disaster
    • Monday, November 9 – Innovative Financing for Redevelopment
  • Forward this invitation widely to your networks. The magnitude of the crisis is grave and the timing is urgent. Please take the time to share this invitation with the right people.
  • We don’t need to “crowdsource widely” and attract a lot of participation. We need to “crowdsource wisely” and make sure to get out the word to the “right” people with relevant know how.
  • Suggest another session or tell us how we can do this better.


  • Each session will run online from 11 am EST for 1.5 hours on a Monday or Thursday (see calendar below)
  • Each session will be attended by those city officials with responsibility for that topic, who will share background information about the current state of readiness.
  • Each session will be moderated by an expert in the field.
  • Each session will be staffed by volunteers who will take notes and follow up the session to develop good ideas into more concrete and actionable proposals backed up by research.

Many thanks for your assistance and for volunteering your time and expertise to help the people of Ecuador.

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