MagicBox Concept Visualization

How can we use illustration and storytelling to convey the journey to build a complex unconventional open-source data platform which can analyse pandemics and other moments of global crisis?


UNICEF Innovation is building Magic Box, a real-time digital platform which is used to analyze moments of global crisis and exogenous shocks. It is a system that catalogues amongst other factors, temperature, terrain, and population data, which helps track movements of people and potential risk areas.

Magic Box is comprised of both public and private data. Public data includes  weather, maps, and population and socio-economic data, and some epidemiological data. Private data includes mobility and behaviours at aggregate levels.

Currently, Magic Box processes data from different sources in order to forecast the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, but future versions might be used to contribute to work around climate change or urbanization, and not necessarily purely for acute emergencies.

While it cannot tell us when or where the next epidemiological outbreak will be, or the next earthquake or civil unrest, what makes Magic Box valuable and unique is that it can provide information that will support UNICEF’s response efforts in line with our humanitarian partners and experts. By doing so, UNICEF’s program and field teams will be able to work more quickly to reduce the impact on children and communities, becoming more proactive rather than reactive.


For this project, we worked with illustrator, Sadi Tekin ( to create a metaphoric narrative which explains how a crisis like the 2014 Ebola pandemic led to collaborations with unconventional partners like Amadeus, MIT, Telefonica and Google. The booklet is an attempt to convey how we’re leveraging the power of data, science and technology and the power of our corporate and academic partnerships to tackle and prevent emergency crisis.