Welcoming Desigan Chinniah to the Ushahidi Board

Ushahidi is overjoyed to welcome Desigan Chinniah, Dees, to the Ushahidi board. Dees experience championing the open internet and open source software at Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and building communities at technology firms like eBay and Gumtree makes him an excellent addition to our organization. His insights will be particularly valuable as we continue to serve our mission and simultaneously move on our path towards financial sustainability as a social enterprise. Dees also originally hails from South Africa, bringing insight and diversity that represents Ushahidi’s growing impact across the African continent and the world.

We are excited to welcome Dees, and will now let him share a few words:

Why I’m joining the Ushahidi Board by Desigan Chinniah

I’m humbled and honored to join the Ushahidi Board. Ushahidi has long since been at the forefront of shaping the flow of information via various technology advances from crisis mapping during natural disasters -to- realtime election monitoring updates -to- much more via their open-source software, services, tools and global programs. I wholeheartedly subscribe to their mission, values and code of culture. And I’m truly inspired by their group of super talented staff and passionate community — who albeit small in number, certainly punch well above their weight.

While I am still new to the organization, I’ve been an admirer from afar for many a year, alongside their complementary ecosystem from the iHub, Akirachix, BRCK, Gearbox. I have the utmost confidence that together with my fellow Board members, we can diagnose Ushahidi’s biggest challenges and help continue to grow its massive impact globally. The world faces many challenges right now: the reality of global warming, serious political instability, heightened visibility of total disregard for user choice and data privacy, fake news that spreads like wildfire,  inclusion and diversity conundrums, and more leading to most unwelcome and unsavory events. While it can’t solve everything there’s certainly a place for continued Ushahidi involvement to build solutions to address some of these challenges.

During my career I’ve had check-ins at a handful of internet juggernauts from Ask Jeeves, Skype, BBC, eBay, PayPal and Gumtree. And more recently I’ve championed the open internet at Mozilla - in various roles from leading community at Mozilla Labs -to- tackling the ambitious goal of bringing the unconnected of the emerging world online with Firefox OS -to- helping the product, technical and partner relationship aspects of releasing a new architecture for the Firefox browser Quantum due for release in late 2017. Most recently I’ve been assisting our Emerging Technology and Open Innovation teams’ explorations into VR/AR/MR, Voice/Speech, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Bots space. While that’s a mouthful — it would go amiss to not mention my honorary member status within the Mozilla Foundation organization with involvement initiatives such as the annual Mozilla Festival.

Desigan Chinniah, or simply Dees or cyberdees to many, is the Director of Platform Relations at Mozilla - the makers of Firefox. He has a Swiss Army Knife of talents at his disposal including being a veteran Dot-Com Firestarter & Futurist, a Non-Exec Advisor, an early stage Startup Mentor and now adds Board Member to his arsenal. A self-confessed geek, Dees lives in London with his wife, Sanne and their two kids, Summer Skye & Kiran Quinn. A South African by birth - he has now spent almost half of his life in the UK and shown ten-fold improvement on his Britishisms and new found love of the cold, rain and seasons. Visit: http://desiganchinniah.com for more. You should also follow him on Twitter. But don’t ever click this link. Dees was appointed to the Ushahidi board in September 2017.