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The Innovation Process
Activity 3.2 B

Assess solution maturity

This activity will help you assess the maturity of your shortlisted solutions to better understand how widespread their use is in the humanitarian sector, or beyond, and their applicability to your problem.

The solution you have identified may or may not be well-developed and well-understood. That is, it may or may not be in widespread use in the humanitarian sector or beyond, and there may be differing levels of evidence to support its applicability to your problem.

In order to fully understand the adaptation requirements of a solution, you will first need to assess its maturity. We provide a specific tool for technology-based solutions. For non-technology-based solutions, we recommend assessing the level of evidence that supports the solution and the relevance of this to your intended use, as well as guidance available for implementation. (We are currently working on a tool to help you in this assessment.)

Technology Readiness Assessment

First developed by NASA, the Technology Readiness Scale is a categorisation standard used to assess the level of maturity of specific technologies that have since been adopted by other sectors, including the healthcare sector. It is a simple scale from 1 (basic research) to 9 (proven and ready to scale).

Review the solution you are proposing to adopt. If it is not a mature solution, assess what level it appears to be at (good technology development organisations and businesses should be able to tell you which of the readiness levels they are at).

If they are between levels 1-6, then you are going to be part of their ‘invent’ process. The upside of this is that if the solution does not yet fit your design criteria, you could have some influence in inserting these criteria into the invention process. However, if you are seeking a quick ‘off the shelf’ solution then an innovation at this stage is probably not suitable for you (unless there are no alternatives).

If the innovation is at levels 7-9, it may be more difficult to adapt to your requirements (although, it may still be easier to adapt than a mature solution, depending on the flexibility of the provider), but is more likely to be at a deployable stage for piloting.