The refugee crisis is a global economic, humanitarian and political catastrophe that affects us all. The refugee crisis isn’t new. But it’s getting worse, and growing faster than ever. Money alone won’t fix it. We need ideas. More ideas. Bigger ideas.

The United States has a history of disruption and leadership in this space. We don’t accept things for what they are – we make them better. We have intelligence and energy that we can apply in ways nobody else can.





The Crisis Lab is designed to cultivate data-driven solutions to global problems whose effects reverberate across every sector of society. These solutions mean creative collaboration with startups and companies like yours and entrepreneurs like you, with a shared commitment to the joint purpose of business and change.




Learn about the Global Refugee Crisis

Nearly 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to violence or persecution. These people are displaced. They are in a desperate search for better places to live – but often are forced to travel hundreds of miles through conditions just as treacherous as the places they are fleeing from. Their realities amount to what the UNHCR and the Hive define as one of the greatest challenges of our generation.

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What is the Hive?

The Hive is a special projects unit of USA for UNHCR headquartered in New York City that uses advanced data science to develop groundbreaking new models for consumer engagement, sparking action among Americans in new ways around the refugee crisis. As the organizing partner of the Crisis Lab, the Hive harnesses new energy around the crisis and related issues.

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The Smart Data Manifesto

Nearly 40% of CEOs, CMOs and CDOs report they intend to engage with NGOs, non-profits and social enterprises in data-driven partnerships in the years ahead to remain nimble, unlock growth and enable innovation. The social sector, with its expertise in how to drive advocacy, galvanize passion and motivate societal change, represents a new toolkit for commercial brands critical to influencing consumer behavior change and the bottom line. Addressing this new normal, the Hive and UNHCR are cultivating the NGO, social enterprise and nonprofit as the next critical business partner.

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To address the crisis in new ways, UNHCR’s technology and innovation projects are transforming the face of humanitarian aid.


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Crowdsourcing Ideas

UNHCR Ideas – help.unhcr.org

UNHCR created UNHCR Ideas to crowdsource solutions to specific challenges facing aid workers on the ground. Developed with input from refugee populations, the first solution implemented from the platform, help.unhcr.org, is a simple and user-friendly platform that delivers information to displaced people about services available to them in their host countries.

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Driving Service Innovation

Liter of light

Based on interviews with refugees in camps in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, UNHCR Innovation’s Energy Lab developed a sustainable energy solution for lighting needs in refugee camps. Community-manufactured lighting cuts costs dramatically, provides a livelihood for residents of the camps and is environmentally friendly.

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Powering Decisionmaking

Axis Data Visualization

UNHCR aid workers make budgeting and resource allocation decisions that affect millions of lives. To better see and understand the information that informs those decisions, UNHCR’s Link Lab developed Axis, a new internal data visualization tool. Axis enables UNHCR staff to visualize and analyze real-time data to craft insights and adjust the wayx the organization serves refugees and displaced people.

In The News

Check out who is talking about us in the media




Convening thinkers and innovators to address the crisis:

Upcoming events:

February 9th, Techfugees in NYC: Join us in New York City for our first innovation summit in partnership with Techfugees. Learn more.

March 11 – 15, The Hive at SXSW: Are you attending SXSW interactive? Sign-up to participate in our March 13. Hackathon or to meet with the Hive/UNHCR.


We are convening the country’s greatest minds – corporations, tech and media start-ups, academics and data wizards – to create bold solutions that make life better for millions of the world’s refugees.

This crisis isn’t going away. 60 million people are displaced.

Governments must do their part to handle the geopolitics and take long-term measures to stem the flow of refugees. But for real change to happen right now, we need the agility and ingenuity only the private sector can provide.

No one has a cure-all. But we all need to do something now.

Small solutions can change a lot of lives.


Do you have an idea you think will help change the world? Do you have an event coming up centered around technology and innovation? Join our community today!

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