The Humanitarian Innovation lab dialogue series: Defining the 'how's' of humanitarian innovation at NTNU

DS 85-1: Proceedings of NordDesign 2016, Volume 1, Trondheim, Norway, 10th - 12th August 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Boks, Casper; Sigurjonsson, Johannes; Steinert, Martin; Vis, Carlijn; Wulvik, Andreas
Author: Nielsen, Brita Fladvad
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: NTNU, Norway
Section: Design for Sustainability
Page(s): 196-205
ISBN: 978-1-904670-80-3


Humanitarian crises are expanding in frequency and the humanitarian system is overwhelmed by the difficulties of linking sustainability, resilience and urgent response through humanitarian action. Technological, service and system-oriented changes are requested and humanitarian actors ask for assistance from academia for how to create a new humanitarian paradigm. Norway plays a central role within the humanitarian system as a major donor country and hence also a policy driver for humanitarian innovation. Norway has created a central network for private sector to access the humanitarian market, yet only 0.16 of this market is filled by technologies from Norway. NTNU is a central hub for innovations that potentially can drive the humanitarian paradigm change; yet the humanitarian context is less explored cross-disciplinary at NTNU. The solutions are here; we need to bring them to context - or bring the context to the innovation? The creation of the HumInLab has required collaborative reflection on who should be included within this collaboration and how innovations impact the 'real' problems of humanitarian action.The Oslo Peace Research Institute and the department of product design at NTNU have lead three seminars during 2015 with the aim of framing humanitarian innovation from a Norwegian perspective. Stakeholders from Norwegian academia, NGOs, private sector, humanitarian sector and governmental institutions have been gathered to discuss what Humanitarian Innovation (HI) should mean in the Norwegian context. Participants have included the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Church Aid, International Red Cross in Norway, the Research Council, the Norwegian Emergency Perparedness System NOREPS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Research Council. At the end of the dialogue, a research collaboration has been asked by the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland. The paper will answer which should be the key objectives of a Norwegian humanitarian innovation platform and how should we collaborate to affect these?The paper will include a brief summary of relevant background literature on humanitarian innovation, and the potential of such an innovation lab based on the undertaken discussions.

Keywords: humanitarian innovation, humanitarian markets, collaboration, agenda spaces


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