CENTRIM – the Centre for Research in Innovation Management – has been asked by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to help with the training of their Innovation pioneers in the concepts and practice of innovation management.
To that end, Professor Howard Rush flew to Madrid to work with twenty-five of the pioneers from countries as far afield as Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Qatar, and Cook Islands to present a version of CENTRIM highly-esteemed ‘Managing Innovation’ course.
Professor Rush and Dr Dave Francis have been working to adapt the course for use in the humanitarian sector and other not-for-profit organisations. This research-based course received top rating in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework impact assessment has now been taken by over nine thousand managers in nearly twenty countries. Feedback from the Red Cross Innovation Pioneers has been exemplary.
For over 30 years CENTRIM has been making a major contribution to thinking within the field of humanitarian relief. In a multi-disciplinary and multi-partner research project combining the skills of both innovation scholars and humanitarian practitioners, the CENTRIM team has analysed and assessed the system of actors and factors that shape innovation within the humanitarian sector.
By developing an innovation ecosystem framework and associated analytical approaches derived from the field of innovation management, CENTRIM’s research has both raised awareness of the role that innovation can play in helping to bridge the afore-mentioned gap, and has made practical recommendations on how the significant barriers facing the sector can be overcome.
Their final report Strengthening the Humanitarian Innovation Ecosystem was one of the core contributions of the UK Department for International Development, who funded the research, to the UNs World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in May 2016. One of the principal recommendations from CENTRIM was for the building of a global alliance to strengthen the humanitarian innovation ecosystem.
CENTRIM team proposed a new institutional arrangement that would work to prioritise humanitarian innovation and coordinate the distributed efforts of the sector and wider actors through the establishment of some form of global alliance to bring together diverse actors to share experiences and ideas. It would take responsibility for raising funds, engage senior-level leadership, incubate new cross-sector initiatives and provide a platform for a for addressing the weaknesses of the ecosystem identified in their report in a systematic and sustained fashion.
CENTRIM’s recommendation was endorsed the World Summit. Donors committed $3 million dollars to establish the GAHI – The Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation– which will be hosted by ELHRA an organisation dedicated to Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance and housed in London from 2017. Twenty founding members have already singed up including UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Food Program, Word Vision, the ICRC and the IFRC.