Worldwide Search for organisations to run Innovation Labs

Source: Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:59 PM
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Jointly managed by Start and CDAC Networks, the DEPP Innovation Labs is a two-year £10 million programme, funded by UK Aid, which will set up a network of labs to identify and support the development of innovative solutions to disaster preparedness. Up to four such labs will be set up in countries prone to disaster, with Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya, Mozambique and the Philippines being the countries considered to host them.

Start Network is now seeking to identify potential organisations to host these labs and would like to hear from a broad range of organisations in all sectors, from both international organisations but in particular from organisations based locally in one of the countries listed. Start Network is looking for organisations which:

  • Are already hosting existing innovation labs or working in humanitarian preparedness, or could form a consortium that offers both
  • Understands user-centric design
  • Can harness the creativity, ideas and solutions of communities affected by disaster
  • Can lead others through the generation and testing of new ideas and approaches
  • Can convene new partners and develop networks across private sector, academia, NGOs and government bodies to support the innovation

Organisations hosting the labs will be expected to deliver a pipeline of projects, identified from a range of partners, for example from their networks of grass-roots organisations or from entrepreneurs. These projects will aim to improve the preparedness of communities affected by disasters, using for example, new approaches, technology, business or organisational models. The role of hosts will include:

  • Supporting the innovations to grow, refine and scale either locally, nationally or internationally.
  • Supporting partners involved in the projects to build their own networks and to increase peer to peer collaboration.
  • Increasing leadership skills of the partners and enabling them to be more effective ‘change agents’ within the sector.
  • Participating in the monitoring, evaluation and learning processes of the wider programme.
  • Participating in key research topics, particularly on issues related to how to best identify and support emerging areas of innovation to have a broader impact in the sector.

Neil Townsend DEPP Innovations Programme Manager said: “We don’t necessarily expect organisations applying to have experience of running humanitarian preparedness innovation labs, because this is a new area of work. Some applicants may be very strong on humanitarian preparedness, while others may be very experienced at running innovation labs. It is important to us that organisations selected to run the labs have close connections with communities affected by disasters, and are able to harness their creativity, ideas and solutions. This is a chance to support locally-driven change within the humanitarian system and to channel meaningful support and resources to the people most affected by disasters. The labs will provide the mechanism to support many new projects across several countries, some of which will have the potential to take to scale and lead to system-wide change.

Saul Guerrero, Director of International Nutrition Initiatives at Action Against Hunger, who helped Start Network design the project, said: “This exciting venture is an opportunity to bring together organisations that wouldn’t normally collaborate, to support locally-led initiatives that will help communities prepare better for emergencies and disasters. Our expectation is that it will produce new ideas and approaches that are different to anything the humanitarian sector has previously considered.”

Indicative procurement timetable

Expression of Interest (EOI) issued -  11 January 2017
Deadline for EOI submissions -  31 January 2017
Request for Proposal (RFP) issued -  week of 6 February 2017
Deadline for RFP submissions - 12 March 2017
Tender evaluation complete and  suppliers shortlisted - 31 March 2017
Due-diligence complete, supplier selected  and contract signed - 30 June 2017
Lab set-up and go live - 1 July 2017

Expressions of Interest (also available in Arabic, Bengali and Portuguese)
To express your interest in running a DEPP Innovation Lab, please complete and return this document.
Email your response to and mark a copy to
The Expression of Interest stage has now closed.  Please check back soon for further information on the Request for Proposal stage.

Email the team at
Read more at DEPP Innovation Labs.

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