Humanitech Summit is Australia’s flagship annual event at the intersection of technology and humanitarian action.

Wednesday 17 May 2023
State Library Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne



Check in and connect (registration and morning tea)

Humanitech Summit will begin with a check-in session, providing ample opportunity to meet fellow participants over morning tea.


Welcome to Country

- Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Tony Garvey


Better together: Collaboration for better technology futures

- Penny Harrison – Chief-of-Staff, Australian Red Cross
- Justine Rowe – Chief Sustainability Officer, Telstra

The opening will welcome the audience with a Welcome to Country and set out the intention for the day.

You’ll hear how Telstra Foundation and Australian Red Cross came together to leverage their collective strengths and deliver transformational social impact for Australian communities by helping tackle complex social problems with the help of technology.
As part of this collaboration, Humanitech honed its Humanity First approach to technology which seeks to shift norms by putting communities at the centre of technology, expand methods by creating reciprocal partnerships, and drive change by exploring the opportunities, as well as the challenges.

Moving at the speed of trust

Humanity First domain



Human connections and community support: the missing pieces for building trust in tech

- Zoë Condliffe - Founder and CEO, She’s a Crowd

Zoë Condliffe is a Founder and CEO of She’s A Crowd, a social enterprise working to end gender-based violence through the power of storytelling and with the help of geolocative technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Drawing on the insights from her partnership with the Humanitech Lab in which She’s a Crowd used the Humanity First prototype to refine its Gendered Safety Scorecard – Zoe will highlight the importance of moving at the speed of trust to create a future where trust in technology is built on human connections and community support.



Navigating societal transformations driven by technology with trust at the centre

- Prof. Nicholas Davis - Co-Director, Human Technology Institute
- Vicki Mau - Director - Programs, Australian Red Cross
- Dr. Emma Quilty - Research Fellow, Department of Human Centred Computing
- Prof. Johanna Weaver - Director, ANU Tech Policy Design Centre
- Moderator: Katy Southall - Head of Humanitech, Australian Red Cross

Drawing on their diverse expertise, the central question for this panel is how can we navigate technology-driven transformations in ways that protect people’s rights and dignity and, in turn, promote trust in technology?

The uses of advanced technologies such as automated decision-making or facial recognition by public and private organisations have grown significantly in recent years. These technologies have a range of applications, including risk assessment, resource allocation, identity verification, and service delivery, and their uses and misuses have raised questions of privacy, fairness, and safety.

A growing body of evidence also shows they can replicate – even magnify - existing social vulnerabilities and inequalities, putting women, activists, and marginalised communities at higher risk of harm when mistakes happen. Yet, accepting, adopting and realising the potential of these technologies depends on the community having the confidence - in other words, trusting – that they are safe, reliable, and fair.

The panel will explore how trust is understood in relation to technology, and the role of evidence-informed and values-led policy and regulation in protecting human rights and dignity, and potentially enabling trust in these transformative tools.



Humanitech Lab: putting principles into practice

- Priyanka Ashraf - Founder, Maya Cares
- Jason-Urranndulla Davis - Founder, Hold Access
- Arash Tayebi - Co-Founder and CEO, Kara Technologies
- Andrew Walker - CEO and Co-Founder, AirSeed Technologies
- Co-moderator: Adelide Mutinda - Innovation Program Manager at Humanitech, Australian Red Cross
- Co-moderator: Lorenn Ruster - Responsible Tech Collaborator, Centre for Public Impact, and PhD Candidate at School of Cybernetics, ANU

Humanitech Lab is an innovation program harnessing technological innovation to meet social and humanitarian need. Led by Australian Red Cross with the support of our founding partner Telstra Foundation, we explore new approaches to designing and developing technology for humanitarian impact. We do this by partnering with start-ups using technology to tackle social and humanitarian problems and supporting them to validate, pilot and scale their impact.

This session will showcase the work of the 2022 Humanitech Lab cohort:

  • AirSeed– an environmental restoration company using interdisciplinary technology to create drone-planting solutions for landholders and communities impacted by extreme weather events and natural disasters. 
  • Hold Access- A digital wallet that empowers First Nations people and undocumented individuals to hold diverse identification with access to full capabilities in their control. 
  • Kara Technologies- a start-up providing fast and on-demand sign language for emergency information for the deaf community using digital humans (avatars).  
  • Maya Cares – a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence enabling Bla(c)k Women and Women of Colour and their communities to access real-time information and support when experiencing racism. 

The speakers will share the insights from the collaboration with Humanitech Lab, and how using Humanity First approach to design helped improve their ground-breaking solutions that tackle complex social challenges with the help of technology.



Community at the centre

Humanity First domain


From intrusion to inclusion: reimagining digital tools and platforms for better connections

- Peter Lewis - Co-Founder, Civility
- Vanessa Teague - Chair, Democracy Developers; Cryptographer CEO, Thinking Cybersecurity and Adjunct Associate Professor, Research School of Computer Science, ANU
- In conversation with: Chris Vanstone - Chief Innovation Officer, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation

In this fireside chat, cryptographer Vanessa Teague, public campaigner and broadcaster Peter Lewis, and innovator Chris Vanstone will explore the role of community and civil society in shaping a better future with the help of digital tools and platforms designed to serve public interest.

In their respective fields, the three speakers are doing the hard work of putting the principles of participation and collaboration into practice by developing approaches that tackle complex social problems in ways that empower community and enable better social outcomes. They will share examples from their current work – Vanessa’s initiative called Democracy Developers, Peter’s new venture and Chris’ work at TACSI on People Powered Social R&D – to explore how we can make participation easier for everyone and develop a better model of citizen engagement through purpose-built, humanity-first tools.


Engaging community as experts

- Celeste Carnegie - Manager of Community Programs & Engagement, Inidgitek
- Lauren Ganley - Head of First Nations Strategy and Engagement, Telstra
- Lauren Perry - Policy and Programs Manager, Human Technology Institute
- Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings - Associate Director of Research, Deakin’s Centre for Humanitarian Leadership
- Moderator: Julia Goodall, Strategy and Impact Manager - Humanitech, Australian Red Cross

The question of "Who are the experts?" often omits community from discussions about how we design, implement and use technological tools and interventions. There is a recognition that engaging community and people with lived experience as partners will lead to better social outcomes by better reflecting diverse community needs and values - co-design and human-centred design are just two examples of practices that have emerged in this space. In practice, however, community participation can be seen as a checkpoint rather than an ongoing and reciprocal collaboration.

Drawing on examples from various fields of expertise, including digital inclusion, co-design, human values-led policy making, and localisation of humanitarian response, the panel will share insights on how community involvement can create more equitable and inclusive outcomes. Using examples from their practice and research, the panel will also explore the barriers to community engagement and highlight the need for more inclusive and collaborative approaches to technology design and use.


Afternoon tea

Ensure better futures for all

Humanity First domain


From climate data to climate action: leveraging climate data for community resilience

- Joseph Glesta – Co-Founder and CEO, Climasens
- Eilish Maguire - National Senior Project Officer - Disaster Resilience, Australian Red Cross

Australian Red Cross has partnered with Climasens to scale its climate intelligence platform through the Humanitech Lab. This follows a pilot between Climasens and Humanitech to identify people most at risk of heatwaves in South Australia. The scale project will support Australian Red Cross and municipalities across Australia to better monitor heat waves and their impact on at-risk populations and help inform decision-making and program outreach.

This short talk will showcase how these kinds of data-informed tools can supercharge humanitarian decision-making, and how through the combined expertise of Climasens and Australian Red Cross they can better support Australian communities to build climate resilience.


Hacking the future of (humanitarian) service delivery

- Harrison Ball - Co-Founder and CTO, Performl
- Anthony McCosker - Professor, Node Director & Chief Investigator, Swinburne University, ADM+S Centre
- Chris Mesiku - Research Fellow, ANU School of Cybernetics
- Sanushka Mudaliar - Director, Red Cross Red Crescent Global Migration Lab
- In conversation with: Bonnie Shaw - Co-Founder, Place Intelligence

This panel brings together technologists, researchers, and practitioners to explore how we can create better community outcomes with the help of data, while leaning into the ethical tensions that arise from this work.

Data analytics are helping organisations like Australian Red Cross improve their humanitarian response and build community resilience. Intelligence platforms harness large amounts of data from various sources to paint a comprehensive picture of community vulnerabilities and resources. They can identify patterns and trends in social issues and help inform solutions to address them. Their uses raise concerns around privacy, bias, and discrimination, which is a particular challenge when dealing with vulnerable populations in humanitarian contexts. When integrated with other strategies, including community engagement and cross-sector collaboration, these can be powerful new tools that decision-makers in the humanitarian and social sectors can use to improve their interventions.


A field guide for what's coming next

- Tané Hunter – Co-Founder, Future Crunch

Explore the fundamental technologies shaping our future. Artificial intelligence, web 3.0, the Metaverse, robotics, clean energy, electric vehicles, genetics, synthetic biology - each of these is transformative in their own right. Together, they constitute a true industrial revolution, creating unprecedented change in every sector at once.

In this keynote, co-founder of Future Crunch, Tané Hunter, will explore how do today’s social impact leaders ensure they are creating sustainable and equitable initiatives that work for people and the planet?


Summit highlights

- Katy Southall – Head of Humanitech, Australian Red Cross

A quick wrap up of Summit highlights followed by an invitation to unwind and continue inspiring conversations with fellow Summit participants at Mr Tulk.


Continue the conversation @ Mr Tulk


Note: This program is subject to change

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