We often use the metaphor of survival when talking about innovation – but there are some situations where this is literally true. In the kinds of crisis condition in which humanitarian agencies operate the need to find novel solutions and implement them quickly is always present – and may be the difference between life and death.
Not surprisingly this is a field full of innovative activity, both in the form of organized programmes from major agencies and also via bottom-up entrepreneurs and user-innovators. We have begun work on a project looking at humanitarian innovation and will return to this theme again. But for now two useful resources:
Some fascinating case study examples can be found here
And a literature review trying to position the humanitarian innovation system in the wider context of innovation can be found here