By completing a digital transformation programme, then CIO at Save the Children UK, Karl Hoods, helped creat a future-fit platform that allows the organisation to respond quickly in emergencies and target its communications on the basis of user segmentation. Hoods took up his new role as Chief Digital and Information at the Department of Business and Industrial Strategy at the start of April 2018.

At Save the Children, the implementation of content management analytics and personalisation, with a dev-ops capability built into the operating model, has put digital at the core of fundraising and marketing.

Hoods has also been looking at using blockchain technology to pre-register/check individuals and provide them with an approved identity for use. It will allow the rapid and safe deployment of volunteers during emergencies, eliminating the wait for necessary background checks to come through. Discussions are being held with other international NGOs to turn this into a sector-wide initiative. A second blockchain-based project is seeking to identify whether it is possible to cut the foreign exchange costs incurred in moving money between local currencies and dollars and back again to fund relief work around the world.

Meanwhile robotics and AI has come under Hoods' eye for humanitarian deployment situations, with an investigation into whether machines can make the critical decisions required in a crisis. AI models are also being developed for use across supporter data.