In the world of business, innovation can be considered a mechanism of survival, ensuring stability for a business and security for the bottom line. In the humanitarian sector however, innovation truly becomes a matter of survival, the difference between human life and death.
At the 2015 Humanitarian Innovation Jam, hosted by UNHCR Innovation and Georgetown University, passionate students, scholars, advocates, and practitioners congregated to discuss this profound subject of humanitarian innovation. The theme’s main focus centered on innovation management, and how humanitarian organizations can apply innovative solutions to some of the most dynamic challenges. Howard Rush, a Professor of Innovation Management, put the issue in perspective: “Innovation takes place in an ecosystem. We all need to understand where we fit in that system.” Realizing and implementing the best strategies to manage this ecosystem represent a crucial process when approaching humanitarian issues through an innovative lens.
By fostering an environment that is conducive to innovation, we can develop solutions that provide real value for the end-user, and consequentially save lives. Olivier Delarue, a lead advocate of UNHCR Innovation recognizes that “innovation needs critical staff to unleash its full potential.” A staff with the right tools and the right mindset can put humanitarian innovation management to action and produce solutions that have the potential to change the world.