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#HIP2015 2015 : Humanitarian Innovation Conference - Facilitating Innovation


When Jul 17, 2015 - Jul 18, 2015
Where Oxford
Submission Deadline Mar 31, 2015
Categories    humanitarian   innovation   development   refugees

Call For Papers

Deadline: 31 March 2015

Authors are invited to submit an abstract for individual paper proposals or a brief
outline for panel proposals or alternative sessions. These should include the title of the paper and an abstract of up to 250 words. Panel proposals should include the title of the panel, an abstract for the panel theme, and details of all the authors and papers to be included. We welcome presentations from academics, policymakers and practitioners.Please submit paper, panel and other proposals to:

Although we are interested in contributions on any aspect of humanitarian innovation,we particularly invite submissions that relate to the following themes:

1. Overcoming Institutional Barriers
Institutions – whether international or national organisations, UN agencies, government bodies,or universities – often have inherent cultural, political or financial barriers that can slow orprevent innovation from taking place. Institutions can also be understood as the social, cultural and legal norms that underlie people’s behaviour, which can also hinder innovation. Over the past years, humanitarian actors have sought ways to overcome structural impediments through
a variety of external interventions as well as inter- and intra- institutional reforms. Papers within this theme might reflect on the existing barriers, considering past efforts and new strategies for overcoming them. For instance, what has been the role of partnerships in fostering interinstitutional innovation? What lessons can be learned from the private, governmental, or military sectors in overcoming similar barriers to innovation? How have attempts to internally foster innovation and “intrapreneurship” within institutions (such as through innovation units or ‘labs’) been successful – or unsuccessful?

2. Knowledge Exchange & Education for Innovation
Processes of acquiring and sharing knowledge are critical to facilitating and supporting innovation at all levels of the humanitarian ecosystem. Papers addressing this theme might consider the variety of ways that education and knowledge sharing can intersect with innovation, from supporting its development through educational or training strategies to sharing information and knowledge about innovative approaches. For humanitarian actors and organisations, it becomes critical to ask how to provide education and training – for both affected communities and for their own staff – that appropriately fosters an innovative environment. How can NGOs and UN agencies better share and use their knowledge from innovative initiatives and incorporate lessons learned? Is there an imperative for researchers and academics to engage in knowledge exchange with humanitarian actors, and how can this best be done? How might formal or non-formal education contribute to local innovation and
provide relevant tools to support the innovative initiatives of individuals and communities? And how can other communities and larger institutions learn from these ‘bottom-up’ innovations?

3. Evidence, Metrics & Research
There has been increased recognition of the importance of evidence-based strategies and evaluative metrics in the design and implementation of humanitarian assistance. Evidence has a critical role to play in advancing humanitarian innovation as it challenges assumptions, assesses claims of efficacy, measures the impact of specific innovations and ensures the viability of programmes before they are scaled up. However, developing methodologies and incorporating evidence and metrics into programmes often remain problematic. Papers falling under this theme might seek to explore current approaches and difficulties with monitoring and evaluating
impact for humanitarian innovation. What are the roles of monitoring and evaluation
departments within UN agencies and NGOs? What lessons can be learned from private sector and tech industry approaches? What are examples of successful monitoring and evaluation approaches for programmes and advocacy?

4. Ethics & Principles for Humanitarian Innovation
While the push for innovative thinking, processes and programmes within the humanitarian sector has been viewed positively by most, this ‘innovation turn’ also entails a myriad of ethical questions and concerns that must be systematically addressed in order for innovation to continue to move forward and become fully accepted into humanitarian practice. Papers might consider the key critiques of humanitarian innovation from an ethical standpoint. What are the implications of humanitarian innovation for intellectual property, informed consent, vulnerable
populations, and the humanitarian imperative? How can the humanitarian sector draw upon existing sets of principles to inform or guide innovation in humanitarian assistance?

5. Spaces & Places of Innovation
Humanitarian innovation happens within and across diverse institutional, geographical, virtual, cultural and political spaces. Geographically, there is usually a clear demarcation between innovation at grass-roots or local levels and innovation as it occurs in international headquarters; meanwhile, broad inter-agency partnerships create opportunities for trans-spatial innovation. How are we to understand the sometimes fraught relationship between ‘bottom-up’ innovation that occurs among affected communities or within field offices and ‘top-down’ approaches to innovation favoured by institutions? Furthermore, as technology continues to
expand and disrupt the boundaries among various humanitarian actors, will new ‘virtual’ spaces provide opportunities for more inclusive exchange and interaction, or will different divisions be created or maintained along geographical and political lines? Why have innovation ‘labs’ and tech ‘hubs’ become popular, and what role do they play in the landscape of innovation? Papers related to this theme may choose to explore theoretical concepts such as the creation and disruption of boundaries between spaces and places of innovation, or to discuss innovation in
the context of specific initiatives or programmes.

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