Look for existing solutions to your problem
This section is under development and will be published during 2018/2019.
Search is the process of seeking solutions to the problem that may already exist. We recommend three concentric circles to search in. First: is there anything being used by other organisations or people in your context that could help solve the problem you are facing? Second: have there been any solutions developed in other humanitarian contexts that could be used for your problem in your setting? Third: are there any solutions in other sectors or industries that have been used to address this problem or similar problems, for example in the development sector, in social enterprise, by governments or the private sector?
Search can be as informal as talking to others in your organisation or community; it can be undertaken at Cluster meetings or through a web search. More formally, it can involve traditional procurement processes, like requests for expressions of interest, and even the use of crowdsourcing platforms. The key is finding the balance between depth and breadth in your search – between rigour and being completely exhaustive. Our primary concern is that whatever method or methods you use, you need to carry out your search before you think of trying to invent something yourself.
Your search will produce one of two outcomes: either there is already a solution that you can adopt/adapt, or there isn’t. We have two parallel stages in the innovation process that deal with these two scenarios.