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Managing Humanitarian Innovation:

The Cutting Edge of Aid          

Out Now!

This is a follow up to my first book but this time I decided to tap into the best minds and most innovative people working in the field to contribute to this collective work. Co-Edited with Abi Taylor, and comprised of the work of dozens of other authors, this book is really the first of its kind as it's designed to help people working on truly challenging and world-changing ideas.

Synopsis: The challenges facing humanitarian logistics are huge. Refugee camps present enormously challenging environments in which sudden spikes in demand, difficult to access locations, disruptions due to conflict or disasters, as well as normal supply chain problems are commonplace. This means that orders for medical and other supplies can take weeks and sometimes months to fulfil, severely impeding humanitarian operations. There is also a lack of or slow adoption of technology routinely used elsewhere. In addition, humanitarian logistics are also expensive. When customs clearance, transportation, storage, middlemen and administration are added in, the costs of basic items are often exorbitant.

Managing Humanitarian Innovation presents a new approach that is beginning to transform the way humanitarian logistics are conducted. Innovation in logistics includes disrupting and improving supply chains through the use of technology, especially 3D printers, and engaging people to manage this approach. The book discusses what innovation is, and strategies for supporting it; it describes practical innovations and how they have been applied; and it outlines how innovation labs can be run. Finally it covers how to fund innovation and it suggests how humanitarian innovation might develop in the future.

This book brings together the real experience of practitioners who have made innovation work. It is a collaborative work written by and for the community of people involved in humanitarian innovation, in particular in the making and manufacturing of humanitarian supplies. The book is full of practical and actionable points of value to the humanitarian community.

Managing Humanitarian Innovation is essential reading for humanitarian practitioners as well as volunteers and others involved in humanitarian supplies provision. It is equally helpful to thought leaders, policy makers and educators.

Table of Contents (Draft):

Prelims [List of tables, figures, and photos : Acronyms : Preface : Acknowledgements : About the authors]                                                                                             

Part I: Setting the Context

  1. Introduction, key concepts and definitions:  Eric  James

  2. Primer on humanitarian innovation: Nezih Altay

  3. The potential of innovation: Relief aid of the future: Mickey McManus


Part II: Understanding Humanitarian Innovation and the Challenges it Raises 

  1. How change happens and the process of humanitarian innovation: Eric James and Abigail Taylor

  2. Problems and potential: John Bessant

  3. Innovation lifecycle and the missing middle: Ian Gray

  4. Complexity theory and humanitarian Relief: Jenny MacCann

  5. Knowing for the twenty-first century: Reflexivity and rigour: Robert Chambers


Part III: Organising Humanitarian Innovation

  1. The leadership and management of innovation: Eric James

  2. Understanding change: How does change happen?: Duncan Green

  3. Ethical and responsible use of ICT: Nathaniel Raymond

  4. Building partners for innovation (and resilience): Justin Henceroth and Ashley Thompson

  5. Influencing innovation adoption using the matrix of influence: Duncan McNicholl


Part IV: Lessons from the Frontline

  1. Advanced manufacturing and humanitarian aid: Brenna Sniderman et al.

  2. Humanitarian innovation labs: Bridging innovators and humanitarian challenges: Kate Wharton et al.

  3. Lessons from the Nepal innovation lab: Sebastien Maupas  et al.

  4. Turning a conversation into an opportunity: Abi Bush

  5. Collaboration and the importance of process: Robin Borrud and Stephanie Gliege

  6. Three-stage design process: Desi Matel-Anderson

  7. Design identification: Planting the seeds of empathy: Rich Lehrer and Annie Johnson

  8. Open-source 3D printing: Joshua M. Pearce  

  9. Piloting 3D-printing technology to increase access to prosthetic devices: Matt Ratto

  10. Opportunities and challenges in the HELIOS project: Martin Blansjaar

  11. Field Ready: Transforming aid: Tessa Fixsen-Lavdiotis


Part V: Summary and Challenges for the Future

  1. Q&A with experts in humanitarian innovation

  2. Concluding thoughts on humanitarian innovation: Eric James and Abigail Taylor



  1. The principles for ethical humanitarian innovation

  2. UNICEF’s principles for innovation and technology in development

  3. Technology readiness levels: This is ready … or is it?

  4. Measuring creativity

  5. Useful tools and techniques

  6. Innovation-management readiness assessment

  7. Useful links and websites



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