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Willow looks at connections, systems, empowerment, and powerlessness and strives to both understand and improve whatever she finds.
Willow Brugh, known as willowbl00, works with digital tools to enable coordination between response agencies and emergent response groups in areas affected by fast and slow crisis. She studies citizen engagement and combining distributed and centralized decision making structures at the Center for Civic Media at MIT’s Media Lab. Previously she’s been a Professor of Practice at Brown University, an affiliate at the New England Complex Systems Institute, and a fellow at Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Moderating transumanist discussion groups lacked direct action, so she cofounded a makerspace in Seattle. Those lacked scale, so she cofounded the Space Federation to legitimize and link hacker, maker, and coworking spaces across the US. Those lacked impact on inequality, so Willow cofounded Geeks Without Bounds as an organizer and host of social good hackathons. Those lacked sustainability, so Geeks Without Bounds shifted into an accelerator for humanitarian projects. The capacity to use those tools and methods was lacking in the larger response space, so Willow became the Community Leadership Strategist at Aspiration to increase capacity in digital response.
In brief, Willow looks at connections, systems, empowerment, and powerlessness and strives to both understand and improve whatever she finds. Sometimes that’s with the Occupy Sandy Movement, sometimes it’s with the Naval Defense University.
She has transcendance tattoos that are impressive enough to be photographed for a National Geographic blog, and has keynoted the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference. Willow has successfully worked with FEMA Field Innovation Team for Hurricane Sandy, and was awarded a ceremony at the White House for her contribution.