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The Innovation Process
Activity 5.3 B

Assess operational requirements

This activity aims to ensure that your project delivery, research budgets and plans are feasible, based on the operations capacity you have available to you.

Operational Checklist

It is impossible to run an effective pilot without effective operations, and operational problems can easily result in failure. Operations are the mechanics that support the implementation of the project delivery and research workstreams, including logistics and procurement, security, HR, finance, legal, IT, administration and communications. Again, if you and your current partners lack capacity in these areas, you will need to ensure you have an operational partner who can provide this support.

The main way of ensuring that operations support – and don’t stifle – innovation pilot projects is to ensure that the functional areas are engaged from the initial planning stages. You can do this by going through a checklist of key issues that you need to factor into your plans.

There are two key objectives for this exercise: for those who are familiar with humanitarian fieldwork, it is to identify how your innovation may run into difficulties within your organisations’ standard operating procedures, systems and processes that aren’t necessarily set up for innovation projects and research; for anyone less familiar with humanitarian field work, it also serves to highlight the importance of these functional tasks in ensuring the safety, security and smooth running of the pilot.

Ideally you would carry this out as a meeting in part of your planning process. However, if you cannot convene all the functional focal points at one time (either face to face or online), then use the Operations Checklist as an interview sheet to work with each functional area focal point individually to complete it. The checklist covers six key functional areas for operations:

  1. Finance, including budget, payroll, payments, banking, purchasing orders and all other “back end” finance processes
  2. Logistics, including supply chain, procurement, travel, accommodation, vehicles, and permissions from local authorities
  3. Human resources, including recruitment, disciplinary and dismissal, insurance, and staff wellbeing,
  4. Administration, including office and functional tasks that require administrative support
  5. Security, including security and protection of all people and property associated with your organisation
  6. IT, including all ICT infrastructure, and the running of the IT systems, as well as digital security.