Evidence For Humanitarian Innovation

The Response Innovation Lab (RIL) and Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI) are leading a collaboration to build evidence for humanitarian innovation globally. This includes their partners and other leading actors in the Humanitarian Innovation space such as START Network, Humanitarian Innovation Fund, ALNAP and others.

RIL, GAHI and their partners are supporting to build an Evidence framework and tools that can help us to tell the story of why field-led innovations work, and should be scaled – or why not. More specifically, the framework should:

  • Provide the basis for developing common standards for learning about the potential impact of innovations in humanitarian action that can drive innovations to scale.
  • Support humanitarian field innovators to collect evidence to improve innovation practices, ability to scale, and 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 – what is simply cost- or time-inefficient to incorporate for innovation.


How do we make this happen?


Phase I: Initial Framework

  • Create a Humanitarian Innovation Evidence Framework that all partners work together on
  • Create “State of Knowledge” Report on Evidence for Humanitarian Innovation


Phase 2: Building a field-based toolkit (RIL)

  • Build a Humanitarian Evidence/MEAL Field Toolkit for use by local entrepreneurs, NGO innovators, innovation programs and many more.
  • Test the Field Toolkit through use cases across field locations and organisations
  • Roll out the Field Toolkit across the sector


Phase 3: Building a framework to inform scale (GAHI)

  • Alongside this, work with partners to expand the framework to:
  • Inform the scaling of projects;
  • Understand how learning can enable scaling;
  • Identify how technical MEAL functions can/should interact with this framework;
  • Identify how ethical frameworks, and responsible innovation considerations should interact with the framework.
  • Revise, test, publish and disseminate and use the scaling framework.




This process will pay attention to the specific values of RIL and GAHI, including but not limited to:

  • Our commitment to inclusion, and to ensuring voices of people and of field staff are incorporated. This is critical to the utility of the field toolkit and the integrity of the scaling framework
  • Our commitment to ethics and responsible innovation
  • Our commitment to, as much as possible, leverage tools that already exist – rather than seeking our own branding or our own space


Reference Group

The following agencies will be working in collaboration to create the Evidence system, frameworks and tools for Humanitarian Innovation:

  • Jennifer MacCann, Director Response Innovation Lab (RIL)
  • Rahul Chandran, Director Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI)
  • Alexander Warner, ALNAP
  • Neil Townsend, START Network
  • Dan Mcclure, Practical Clarity
  • Anna Skeels, Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF)

This is an exciting step forward for supporting better practices for humanitarian innovation to understand impact in the field, and scale what works. If you would like to be part of this program or have suggested contributions, please contact us.


MEAL for Innovation


Below is an overview of our current working model for Humanitarian Innovation Monitoring and Evaluation Tools: