Responsible, evidence-driven innovation

Innovation in humanitarian action has often embraced risk and this is welcome. But an uninformed embracing of risk, and the shifting of risk onto the most vulnerable people, may undermine the very humanitarian ethos that underpins our work. GAHI is moving swiftly to convene the humanitarian system to develop standards for responsible innovation.

Responsible innovation is as much about evidence as it is ethics. There is a critical need for foundational frameworks that inform the gathering of evidence, drawing on the excellent work of innovators in practice. GAHI is working closely with the Response Innovation Lab and others to build field and policy-ready frameworks that can help us to tell the story of why innovations work and should be scaled – or why not.

Specifically, we are trying to build a framework that can:

  • Facilitate the development of common standards for learning about the potential impact of innovations in humanitarian action, in order that those innovations can be driven scale
  • Support humanitarian field innovators to collect evidence to improve innovation practices and the ability to scale, and to increase humanitarian impact
  • Identify the inevitable gaps - where technical or sector-specific evaluation must accompany innovation and scaling-focused learning
  • Identify the limits of ‘good enough’ Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) and what is simply too cost- or time-inefficient to incorporate into MEAL for innovation
  • Help actors to identify points of leverage – where, why and how innovations are scale-ready