Our team are dedicated to humanitarian innovation, and have led and contributed to innovation operations in live emergency zones, creating real solutions where it matters. The Response Innovation Lab has been created to build off the learnings of pilot programs in Nepal and Jordan. We will be ready to deploy the first interagency Response Innovation Lab in January 2017, to create a better, evidenced space together.




In collaboration with World Vision, the Nepal Innovation Lab (NLab) was established to foster inclusive, safe and innovative solutions for effective post-earthquake humanitarian action. The NLab provides a space for inter-diciplinary innovators to develop and test their ideas to effectively overcome local problems. The Lab matches local and international expertise, academic, private sector, NGOs and more, around significant barriers to supporting those affected by the earthquake.



The NLab works to share successes, failures, ideas, knowledge, skills and learning to boost innovation through the sector in Nepal. They host monthly ideas evenings with at least 30 participants sharing their passion for humanitarian innovation and explaining the challenges they face. They hosted TEDX Patan with more than 300 people to learn and be inspired by the possible solution to RE-Imagine Nepal. This was followed by 40 young innovators participating in a humanitarian challenge using human-centered design in innovation around the problems they faced. Nlab supported the first Kathmandu Humanitarian Maker Faire where 1400 people saw inventors showcase their innovations. Over 20 workshops have been run to share learnings from projects in the Lab to share and grow knowledge and successes.




FieldSight is a project which engages innovative processes and technology to build back permanent reconstruction in Nepal, better and stronger.  The project run by the UNOPS brings together an interdisciplinary group: Civil Engineering company (Miyamoto), a local Technology company (Rural Development Initiative) and other organisational support as needed.  The project tests new reconstruction processes using smartphones and a network of remote engineers and training programs to support low-cost, high-quality supervision while reducing construction risks that affect the safety of schools and public buildings. The outcome of the project is providing better construction supervision (including standards, quality assurance requirements and tools). Four NGOs have already approached the project and requested to use the product once finalised, and there are ongoing discussions to roll the process out regionally.



Field Ready has been looking at processes and technology to improve efficiencies of Supply Chains during disaster using digital manufacturing and 3D printing. In Nepal they have been working with a number of companies, academic institutions, local and international NGOs, and affected communities to provide much needed items which are more effective, easier to access and cheaper than is available. Examples of their work include:


  • Fixing basic water systems in displaced peoples camps to minimise water loss and stop standing pools of water around the camp.

  • Supplying health posts and hospitals with sanitary and specific items needed such as types of tweezers, wheels for hospital beds, clips for umbilical cords or even fittings to help a clinic regain power

  • Upgrading broken items and efficiency of goods such as stoves, to increase fuel efficiency and minimising indoor smoke emissions

  • Field Ready have trained 530 individuals in Nepal on 3D printing to enable the spread and sustainability of shorter, more effective supply chains long term.


Field Ready have been so effective in their work that they have been signed up by a large NGO to deploy into future disasters.  They are also working on agreements with other large NGOs and the UN to scale their program outside Nepal and the region.




A new model for community-driven disaster recovery is being piloted, called Hands Up. Through a mobile-enabled digital platform, community members can post up their needs and offers for help, and others in the community can respond directly. This project is accelerating self recovery of communities by empowering them to access what they need. The team will build on lessons learned during previous pilots in Fiji and Sri Lanka, with a focus on supporting recovery efforts and building social capital in preparedness. In Nepal 20 local organisations and groups are already collaborating on this project to create a better response.



The Explore Ideas program supports individuals and organisations to pursue rapid prototyping of a on the ground problem over a month period. This supports exploration, learning and prototyping to validate early concepts, and the development of a robust proposal for a solution that can be taken forward. Participants finish the month by preparing a report of key learning and the prospect of developing the idea further. The Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN) are an example of a group conducting research and prototyping for early warning system technology to support disaster response. The RAN are a dynamic group of engineers, designers and problem solvers with a passion for building local expertise and driving social change. Building on their expertise with both hardware and software solutions, RAN are seeking to develop a system that can alert communities, authorities and humanitarian responders up to a week before an event rather than the current 48-hour period. The RAN project has now developed a prototype with access to 25 years of disaster data. They have conducted two workshops with experts on the prototype and three large organisations have already approached them considering implementation of their process innovation.

Credit: Impact Hub
Credit: Impact Hub

"Innovation is not the result of chance, it’s the result of action.
It’s NOT a thing to wait for. It’s a thing to do."
- Phil Mckinney