Lead User Innovation in Floods Resilience

Organisation: IFRC

Partners: Palang Merah Indonesia; Zurich Insurance; Hamburg University; Pulse Lab Jakarta; Humanitarian Leadership Academy; Global Disaster Preparedness Center

Location: Indonesia

Type of grant: Core – recognition

Status: Ongoing

  • Photo by Carlos Alvarez, a water filter for low-income families, one of the products from the Local Innovation Challenge. During a disaster, water should be available for everyone.

  • Photo by Carlos Alvarez, Starside developed a series of participatory activities (e.g. games and simulations) for teaching disaster preparedness to kids in local schools.

  • Photo by Mortiz Göldner, Engineer Don Kamarga designed this floating library to help his community have access to spaces to attend even when the city floods. "The idea of crafting floating structures didn't emerge as a business model, we just wanted to help people we love", said Kamarga during the Floor Resilience Innovation Conference.

  • Photo by Carlos Alvarez, A participatory game for teaching families waste management. Ms Annisa Hasanah created this game to bring communities an easy activity to better understand the importance of managing waste and the implications for the environment.

  • Photo by Mortiz Göldner, Made Kusuma started his sustainable farm in Gunung Kangin, Bali. The Black Soldier Fly reduces organic waste up to 60-80 percent and makes for high-protein animal feed.

  • Made Kusuma started his sustainable farm in Gunung Kangin, Bali. The Black Soldier Fly reduces organic waste up to 60-80 percent and makes for high-protein animal feed. Credit Mortiz Göldner

  • Ecofunopoly, an educational board game designed to raise environmental awareness. Ms Hasanah, Local Innovator

Application and testing of an innovative private sector methodology to identify and support local innovators who have developed products and services to address humanitarian needs that they have experienced first hand.

What is the humanitarian need?

Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard and cause some of the largest economic, social and humanitarian losses. Many people living on front lines are addressing the humanitarian impact of floods through their own ingenuity and means, but lack the support to scale and more widely disseminate their ideas and approaches. Through testing and adapting a proven local innovation methodology to the humanitarian sector, we can position ourselves more efficiently and effectively address humanitarian at a local level.

What is the innovative solution?

Our primary objective is to determine the feasibility of using the Lead User method in a humanitarian setting. We believe the methodology can help position us to better support local innovators, through funding, partnerships and the dissemination of their ideas. The current approach to innovation, which includes significant funding going into building innovation labs in Europe and North America, seems inefficient.

With our study we will find out different ways that individuals and communities innovate in order to better cope with the challenges and problems associated with floods. The key question is: What kind of user innovations exist in the area of flood resilience? Together with local partners we aim to discover people and organizations who have already developed workable solutions for their own needs, but who, for different reasons, could not yet diffuse those inventions to others. We will then closely investigate the inventions with regard to their potential to serve others and make them available to a greater audience.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our objective is to confirm whether or not the Lead User method is applicable to humanitarian settings. Through the process we aim to identify local innovators and specific innovations that can be supported, disseminated and scaled. If the methodology is successful in a floods context, we will test it in other humanitarian contexts to confirm its wider applicability.

Results of the work will be published in case studies, blogs and academic research papers.

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

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