Journey to Scale: UPDATE #1

Published on 27/07/2016

The Journey has now officially started!



Working with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, back in April we launched an ambitious new area of work, seeking to understand and support the process of scaling innovations with the potential to bring about transformational change in the humanitarian system, for the benefit of the millions across the globe affected by crises.

This initiative builds on five years’ experience in innovation management within the HIF and beyond, where we have supported over 80 innovations through development and implementation, enabling the creation of successful prototypes and pilots.

Unique opportunity

This initiative presents a unique opportunity to explore and address the key challenges of sustainability in humanitarian innovation, while building rich partnerships and developing new methodologies for scaling innovations in the humanitarian system beyond project funding. Our initial step is to identify and select three ready-to-scale humanitarian innovations, and develop bespoke support able to significantly accelerate their replication and thereby the positive impact across the sector.

The call

We launched a one-off Call for Proposals looking for cutting-edge innovations that are ready to scale. Our intention was to cast the net far and wide to identify ideas and innovations wherever they may come from – public, private, national or international.

We received 39 expressions of interest and were incredibly pleased by the wide variety of projects that came in:

  • Sectors: WASH, ICT, Refugees and IDPs, Health, DRR, Cash, Nutrition, Conflict Violence and Peace, Emergency Education
  • Types of organisations: 61% NGOs, 23% Private Companies, 13% Research Institutes, 3% Governmental organisations.
  • Geographic areas: 46% EU, 28% North America, 13% Asia-Pacific, 8% Middle-East, 2.5% Africa, 2.5% South America.
  • 85% of applications came from non-previous HIF grantees.

Thank you to all who applied to this initiative!*

The selection process

All applications were analysed in detail by leading innovation and thematic experts from the HIF and beyond, following our bespoke criteria, regardless of the routes to scale proposed by applicants. Shortlisted candidates were then presented for approval to our Scale Funding Committee, a group comprised of representatives from both the HIF Funding Committee and the HIF Board.

The Shortlisted Teams

The 9 teams demonstrating viable forward thinking towards sustainability and the greatest promise of impact have been announced. These teams will be have access to tailored support to develop their scaling plan over the summer. During this period we’ll seek to provide a combination of individual support and collaborative exchange around new approaches to scale and sustainability of humanitarian innovations. This stage will include a combination of:

  • Individual remote consultations
  • Suggestions on appropriate tools and techniques
  • 3-day residential retreat
  • Follow on support during final proposal development

Next steps

Moving forward, we want to share widely and regularly, all the latest news from this initiative and reflect on the extensive experience of the different teams’ journeys so all this precious and extensive learning and innovation can contribute significantly to the humanitarian knowledge base.

Do not miss this exciting journey! Follow our latest news join in the conversation on twitter via #journeytoscale.


*Due to the number of applications we received, unfortunately we will not be able to provide individual feedback to those who were unsuccessful.

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

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