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We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

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.
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Latest Updates

Identifying local innovations in Indonesia

20 Jun 2018

IFRC report back on their ESI project in Indonesia, through which they successfully identified local innovations that had the potential to increase people’s resilience to flooding, engaged 100+ people in an event to support local innovators, and planted the seeds for follow-on partnerships


Lead User innovation in floods resilience

24 Aug 2017

After working with partners to implement a new lead user methodology, IFRC takes this approach to Indonesia.


Related Resources

Report Disaster Risk Reduction

Final Report: Lead User Innovation in Floods Resilience

Case Study Disaster Risk Reduction

Innovation in Flood Resilience in Indonesia: Learning from a two-track innovation process

Article Disaster Risk Reduction

Lead User Method vs. Innovation Contest – An Empirical Comparison of Two Open Innovation Methodologies for Identifying Social Innovation for Flood Resilience in Indonesia


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