top of page

Managing Humanitarian Innovation:

The Cutting Edge of Aid

Free Content

‘Field Ready’ Transforming Aid Worldwide by Tessa Fixsen-Lavdiotis

Leadership and Humanitarian Innovation

Eric James

"This book sets a new standard for combining theory and practice with a view of what's to come." - Giorgio Trombatore


Contains the latest by leading thinkers: Over 30 innovators, practitioners and scholars contributed including Robert Chambers, Duncan Green, Jenny McCann, Nathaniel Raymond and Mickey McManus. 


Practical and usable: This book brings together the real experience and is filled with lessons learned, case-studies, check-lists and tools. 


Comprehensive and readable: The book covers 27 chapters that cover various facets related to understanding, organizing and carrying out activities that improve aid in innovative ways.



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 fulfill, 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.

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.



Praise for the book (Endorsements)


"It is rare that one find a book on humanitarian aid that is relevant to both academic and practitioner audiences. 'Managing Humanitarian Innovation' does an excellent job giving insights and practical solutions to both audiences. Even more important it is inspirational and helps further the important discourse on innovation--one of the most important policy and operational areas facing humanitarian aid today."

                    Kirsten Gelsdorf, Director of Global Humanitarian Policy and Professor University  of  Virginia. Former Chief of Policy Analysis and Innovation, UNOCHA


“This book sets a new standard for combining theory and practice with a view of what's to come. It weaves together direct experience on-the-ground, unique ways of thinking and pathways to achieving extraordinary results. Eric and the various contributors have achieved this knowledge far from cozy institutes, but by being directly involved in the mud and sweat of humanitarian crises. It will surely be an inspiration for the pioneering approaches so badly needed in our sector.”

                 Giorgio Trombatore, Country Director, South Sudan, Relief International


“The humanitarian profession is going through a dramatic transformation, with new technologies, players, and approaches being introduced on a seemingly daily basis. Managing Humanitarian Innovation boldly takes stock of these changes and offers readers new conceptual frameworks and practical tools that are designed to make the most use of these emerging opportunities in the service of people most in need during disasters. Based on real case studies and forward looking, this is a 'must read' for aid workers, donors, government officials, and innovators drawn to the humanitarian calling.”

             Dr. Nicholas Haan, VP of Impact/Chair of Global Grand Challenges, Singularity University


“Eric and Abigail have done a really excellent job in drawing together leading experts across a broad range of innovations that are already being implemented in the 'for profit' world and demonstrating how these could be successfully employed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian preparation and response activities.”

             Dr. Peter Tatham, Professor of Humanitarian Logistics, Griffith University


“More than ever before in the history of modern humanitarian action has there been such a compelling case for bringing together the abiding values and objectives of humanitarianism with profoundly transformative innovation and innovative practices. Managing Humanitarian Innovation not only captures that conceptual need, but also provides a clear and practical road map for meeting that need."

             Dr. Randolph Kent, Visiting Professor, African Leadership Centre, King's College London

bottom of page