Kenya’s Ushahidi, the firm behind Ushahidi open source mobile-based app that allows users to crowdsource crisis information, yesterday announced it would be adding three new members, namely Clay Shirky, David Kobia and Erik Hersman, to its board of directors.
The new appointments will be effective from September 19.
Both Kobia and Herman are part of the team that founded Ushahidi and still work at the organisation as Technology Lead and Director of Operations and Strategy respectively. It is believed that their appointments will ensure access and direct input to the management team of Ushahidi.
The organisation’s current board currently has individuals with skills and experience spanning different fields such as mobile phones, activism, citizen journalism, impact investment, Africa and conflict early warning systems.
Current board members include Dr. Sally Chin, Dorcas Muthoni, Stephen King, Beth Kanter, Ethan Zuckerman and Juliana Rotich.
Ushahidi also announced the board will be chaired by Ethan Zuckerman, Director of Civic Media at MIT.
According to a statement by Ushahidi: “The addition of these new directors will further diversify the outstanding talents and wide-ranging experience that our directors already bring to Ushahidi. Each is a widely respected and deeply experienced business leader, and together they will provide our board and management team with new insight and perspectives relating to Ushahidi’s mission, business and the rapidly changing technology industry.”
Below is a brief profile of the new board members as supplied by Ushahidi:
About Clay Shirky
Clay Shirkyis an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.
He has a joint appointment at New York University (NYU) as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and Assistant Arts Professor in the New Media focused graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.
He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1996. His columns and writings have appeared in Business 2.0, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired. Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.
His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client–server infrastructure that characterizes the World Wide Web.
He is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Advisory Board. In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson calls Shirky “a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. You can find him on Twitter at @cshirky.
About David Kobia
David is a co-founder and technology lead at Ushahidi and brings more than 10 years of product development experience and a multidisciplinary background to his work, with a focus on social and emerging technologies. He works in a variety of roles, from designer and coder to strategist.
After pursuing a BS in Computer Science at the University of Alabama, he has been a professional software developer and has worked with almost every web technology in use today.
In 2010, he was a recipient of MIT Technology Review’s TR35 award (35 top innovators under 35) and the Humanitarian of the Year award. You can find him on Twitter at @dkobia
About Erik Hersman
Erik Hersman is a technologist and blogger who lives in Nairobi. He is Director of Operations and Strategy at Ushahidi. He is the founder of AfriGadget, a multi-author site that showcases stories of African inventions and ingenuity, and an African technology blogger at WhiteAfrican.com.
As part of Ushahidi strategy, he leads the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community.
Erik is a TED Senior Fellow, a PopTech Fellow and speaker and an organizer for Maker Faire Africa. You can find him on Twitter at @WhiteAfrican.