Chris Doten
Chief Innovation Officer
Washington, DC

Chris Doten is the Chief Innovation Officer at NDI and leads the NDItech team. Chris has designed and implemented programs in dozens of countries which apply integrated, context-appropriate technology to reach more citizens, track political processes, improve organizing capabilities, and open data. Chris specializes in the challenges of internet freedom and cybersecurity in closed societies and has worked with at-risk digital activists from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. Having previously worked for the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Chris is skilled at the pragmatic application of cutting-edge digital communications, big data and organizing tools in political campaigns. Chris earned a BA in Computer Science and History from Carleton College and a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

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In Fight Against Online Disinformation, A Variety of Tools Are Needed

Credit: Dave Taylor

In technology, you often hear geeks referencing the classic “garbage in, garbage out” problem. When the inputs to a system are bad, however beautifully crafted the program itself may be, the outputs will necessarily be bad as well. Our democratic systems are dependent on the input of citizens, but when disinformation is also an input the outputs of our processes can be deeply flawed. Disinformation and the systemic distrust it fuels has been a dangerous ingredient in the global surge of nativism, intolerance, and polarization undermining democracy and human rights around the world. Understanding and stopping disinformation is a tremendous challenge; any single solution will be incomplete so many will be required. In 2018, the fastest, most virulent and dangerous disinformation is spreading on digital platforms, and as such technical understanding is critical to wrap our heads around the problem.

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Can blockchain help rebuild trust in democracy?

Rachel Pipan, Allison Price, Tomicah Tilleman and Chris Doten (far right) in on-stage selfie right before their South by Southwest panel “Trust Crisis: The Need for Blockchain.”

Don’t get lost in the technobabble – blockchain is a confusing technology with a simple purpose: enabling groups that don’t trust each other to trade things or validate information without an all-powerful middleman. In a world where trust in institutions, including government, is declining, blockchain provides a useful way to create new systems to empower groups to work together and define what truth is. The blockchain is not synonymous with cryptocurrency, but it is related to cryptocurrency in the same way that the first application of the internet was email.

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What’s New in DemTools 2.0?

NDI is launching a new and improved version of DemTools, a technology toolkit for civil society and government, on December 9 in Washington, D.C. We’ve put a lot of sweat, tears, and code (no blood so far) into this adventure and are ready to share it with the world. DemTools 2.0 upgrades and expands our existing set of tools, which was deployed by 82 organizations around the world in the last year.

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“The Medium is the Message” for Relaunched NDItech Blog

Website design blueprint for redesigned NDItech blog.

On the NDItech team, one of our goals is to share what we learn and highlight the accomplishments of our partners. Our blog -- NDItech.org -- is our primary platform to accomplish that, but it is also a testing ground for improving the accessibility of online platforms across the Institute.

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From Strategy to Tactics - Assessment and Planning Tips for Technology-Enabled Programs

NDI meets with staff of OutBox Hub in Kampala, Uganda.

The goal of a planning a technology program assessment trip is to produce a detailed plan to meet program objectives and a shared vision between key stakeholders -- including the DC office, the partners, the field office team and other collaborators -- on how to make it all happen. We also need to be able to make sure that the partner's priorities and needs are matched to the appropriate tools.

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