christopher fabian

Co-Founder, UNICEF Innovation Unit

Christopher Fabian (@hichrisfabian) is a technologist who co-founded UNICEF's Innovation Unit in 2006 with Erica Kochi. He currently runs UNICEF Ventures, a team which looks at emerging technologies in the service of positive global change. In 2015, he led the launch of UNICEF's Venture Fund, the first fund of its kind in the United Nations which invests in early stage "frontier technology" like drones, data science, machine learning, crypto-currency, 3D printing, nano satellites, and genetics. The Innovation Fund (11.2M$) has made over 30 investments in 26 countries. 

Chris's teams have worked on infrastructure platforms for low infrastructure environments, including award winning work on RapidPro, an SMS-based information system with more than 3.5M active users in 35 countries.

Chris is currently focused on scaling UNICEF's work on data science and drones.  UNICEF Ventures has invested in "Magic Box," an open source data analytics platform that combines data and engineering from companies like Amadeus, IBM, Google, Telefonica, and others to produce insights and new scientific methods that help the organization make better real-time decisions.  Chris lectures at universities including NYU, Tsinghua, and Singularity at NASA..  In 2013 he was recognized as one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People."

Citations and Resources

Lecturing and Academia:
Designed Curriculum and Taught Courses
: NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, Columbia University, Art Center, Aalto University, IIT Delhi, Singularity University at NASA, Tsinghua University, Harbour Space
Lectures: Harvard University, King Abdullah Univeristy of Science and Technology, Yale, Wesleyn, The New School, University College Dublin

Team Accolades:
Teams he has led have won recognition on TIME Magazine's list of the 50 best inventions of 2011, through Gold and Silver IDSA International Design Excellence Awards and a Red Hat Prize for top open source projects in 2012, as well as being recognized by Fast Company as one of the world's top 10 most innovative teams in 2014. In 2013, he was listed as Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

Publications and Media:

  • "Innovation for International Development: Navigating the Paths and Pitfalls", on "The Balancing Act of an Innovation Unit."[26] (2016)

  • "How The Tech Sector Can Help Stop Ebola" (2014)[27]

  • "The Ethics of Innovation" (2014)[28]

  • "Adolescent Girls and Technology, Supporting Participatory Engagement." Chapter 7 in Adolescent Girls, Cornerstone of Society (2012)[29]

  • "Using Mobile Technology to Unite (for) Children." Chapter in Mobile Technology for Children: Designing for Interaction and Learning. (2009)[30]

  • "Agents of Scale" in LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation (2016)