Introduction to Innovation

Much of the thinking around innovation associated with the HIF stems from ALNAP’s research on innovations in international humanitarian response, which itself draws on a wide body of research and experience from the private and public sectors. ALNAP’s 2009 study on Innovations in International Humanitarian Action explores in detail the role of innovation in improving humanitarian performance. Some of the key concepts and processes explored in that study are summarised here.

The following definition of innovation is used by the HIF:

Innovations are dynamic processes which focus on the creation and implementation of new or improved products and services, processes, positions and paradigms. Successful innovations are those that result in improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, quality or social outcomes/impacts.

This definition is drawn from specific attempts to pin down exactly what warrants being called an innovation, and to examine the process that successful innovations pass through from conception to scale-up. It is also important to recognise that novelty should not be seen as good in itself, rather innovations need to be judged on the basis of their contributions to improvements in efficiency, effectiveness, quality or social outcomes.

For a more detailed exploration of any of the issues discussed in these pages, please read ALNAP’s 2009 study on Innovations in International Humanitarian Action, other supporting documents can be found in the Innovation Library.

 

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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