Start with the Human, Technology Comes Later: Values for the Digital Transformation of Peacekeeping

Lynne Hall, Samiullah Paracha*, Gillian Hagan-Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As the United Nations inevitably embarks on the digital transformation of peacekeeping, it raises key questions - 'technology' or 'human' first. This paper argues that narrowly focusing on technical solutions may move this world body closer to a modern infrastructure, but misses it opportunities for bigger, more impactful peacekeeping process improvement. Whereas, starting with 'humans' or peacekeepers, their goals and pain points and the context of their interactions, means that solutions are targeting meaningful outcomes, not just new software. Using the value sensitive design approach to technology design, the paper extends its application to peacekeeping by integrating human values and the values instantiated in existing or imagined technical designs. These values were distilled out of a mixed methods study carried out at a peace mission deployed in Africa. Analysis identified four horizontal themes (positive UX, integration, connectivity and privacy) across three use contexts (workplace productivity, personal physical safety and well-being). Core values were being safe, family connection, doing work well and being cared for by their organization. Such human-centred technological interventions will enhance the needed capabilities for the peacekeeping forces to win when they need to and to safely enforce lasting peace in a dominant but non-violent fashion where possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-410
Number of pages16
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • digital peacekeeping
  • human-computer interaction
  • universal human values
  • value sensitive design


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