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The Innovation Process
Module 3.4

Local Adaptation

Understand how your solution interrelates with local systems

Introducing a new solution to a context may also require changes by other actors, such as community members, local partners or suppliers. In unstable humanitarian settings, with vulnerable populations, several things need to be considered including:

  • The need to involve users in the adaptation process to make sure the solution fits in with their lives and does not expose them to harm.
  • The need to assess each of the humanitarian parameters to check that the solution will fit with those in the context.
  • The need to assess whether supporting systems are in place, eg, maintenance and supply chains

We then provide a number of tools for thinking through adaptation requirements for the users and members of the crisis-affected community. These include tools from the Recognition stage (Personas, Observations and Risk Log), as well as the introduction of new tools to understand ‘user journeys’ and provide guidance on how to design behaviour change initiatives for adaptation.

To think through the adaptation requirements for partners we use a stakeholder analysis tool and an interest/influence grid, before introducing the concept of value network analysis to map the ecosystem and better understand who and what needs to change for the solution to be a success.

Significant adaptation can be required to translate a solution from one field to another. Adaptation can require a series of Minimum Viable Product development cycles, configuring to local circumstances, and will still need to be piloted – perhaps a number of times.


3.4 A Review the problem context
This activity will help you understand how other organisations, people, structures or processes may need to adapt to accommodate your proposed solution.
3.4 B Assess local behaviour change requirements
This activity will help you understand how people affected by crises, particularly the problem holders, may need to change behaviours in order to best benefit from your proposed solution.
3.4 C Assess partners’ change requirements
This activity will help ensure you have mapped all relevant external stakeholders and partners and assess whether your new solution will require them to adapt their own operations and processes.
3.4 D Map all ecosystem adaptation requirements
This activity will help you capture how all your adaptations requirements mapped out so far relate to each other in order to identify any gaps and further adaptations required.