In the biggest threats to humanity, humanity (not technology) must be the answer deployed to solve the problem. So far in in human history, people are always "the fancy innovation" that solve complex problems. Unfortunately, so many planners don't engineer solutions that effectively leverage networked people solutions. Planning seems unable to adapt to reality that humanity is much more connected than organizations, hierarchy and most our mapping "sees". We are a network, a fragmented network but full of potential to connect, collaborate and swarm on the fly.
But most agree it was not drugs or fancy innovations that brought numbers down.
Local volunteers going house-to-house to explain the virus, or tirelessly burying bodies in the safest possible way, were crucial to stop the spread.
Communities accepting the realities of the virus and changing their everyday lives, and families allowing their loved ones to be taken to isolated treatment centres all played a strong role.
Weak health systems were bolstered - Liberia only had some 60 doctors to treat its entire population before the outbreak began. But an influx of local volunteers and international teams helped.
Despite these efforts some scientists say there is a chance the virus will never go away. If cases do not get to zero, it could become endemic - part of the fabric of diseases present in countries at a low level.
And other outbreaks are likely.
But the hope is the world will be better prepared and have learnt to pay greater attention, should Ebola, or another disease like it, strike again.
Network power becomes proportional to the risks/threat we face. In most crisis, it is no longer an awareness issue but an issue that we have not sorted out how to manage the logistics with just-in-time humanity. The movement of millions of people out of the war zone is not the work of an organization but that network of children and parents, brothers and sisters swarming away from danger. From the refugee crisis today to Ebola outbreak in 2014, huge numbers of talented people want to help and participate in the solutions.
However, sorting out what works needs to be done, what work can be done, and building quality control by volunteers on volunteer work remains elusive as a system to most contexts outside wikipedia.
The basic components to massive distributed engagement, the ultimate in civictech is not crowdfunding but crowdwork support technologies. Stacks of organized services that accelerate the processing and sorting of volunteers by volunteers, and also empowering large groups of people breaking down challenges, developing strategies together, break strategies into work, breaking work into tasks, assigning tasks to vetted volunteers and also manage volunteer checking and rechecking their work and feeding results and observations back into strategic context.