Humanitarian Innovation Conference: UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner calls UN system 'stodgy and sclerotic'
- 29 July 2014
- Media coverage
IRIN reports on Alexander Aleinikoff's keynote address and the role of innovation within the broader humanitarian system
The article, 'Innovation – What's new?', covers UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Alexander Aleinikoff's keynote address at the recent Humanitarian Innovation Conference. The article refers to Aleinikoff's comments on the difficulties faced by staff on the ground in innovating within 'stodgy and sclerotic' UN organisations. He said plenty of innovation is in fact taking place throughout the UN's operations, but staff often don't report back on it to headquarters, '[b]ecause they are sure that if they tell headquarters it'll be squashed.'
More broadly, IRIN reports that several branches of the UN now have dedicated innovation units, as does the International Committee of the Red Cross. The article looks at a collaboration between UNHCR, Stanford University and Ennead, a prominent firm of US architects, to devise a toolkit for designing a good refugee settlement in the heat of an emergency. It also looks at UNICEF's successes, including the YouReport system, which lets young people communicate with decision makers through mobile phone messages.