Start Network publishes 2016 Business Plan
The Start Network has published its 2016 Business Plan which will enable the governance, membership and external stakeholders of the Start Network to understand, endorse, support and participate in the activities of the Network.
Foreword by Dr Randolph Kent, President, Start Network
The Start Network has consistently challenged the conventional. When it comes to new approaches to collaboration, experiments in alternative funding arrangements or responding rapidly to new crises, Start’s 27 members are setting examples for a growing number of organisations in the humanitarian sector.
As the Start Network puts together its business plan for 2016, this plan, like those in the past, will reflect members’ continuing commitment to collaboration, innovation and rapid response to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. Each of these, however, will increasingly take on new meanings and implications as we look to 2016 and beyond.
Collaboration more and more will have to include how we as concerned agencies deal with what the World Humanitarian Summit and many others refer to as ‘local’. However, while the term all too often is interpreted as reflecting a specific geographical entity – a village, a town – increasingly in the 21st century, ‘local’ will have to reflect an emerging virtual reality.
While the crisis-affected may remain in the immediate future in relatively defined physical communities, early warning, access to the affected and types of assistance will increasingly reflect boundaries all too often ignored. Those boundaries involve social networks and social media, cyber currencies and increasingly active Diaspora – all which define local and all which take the concept of local well beyond physical confines.
These elements, though well known, have generally failed to become part of response strategies. The challenge for Start members will be to determine how best to use the virtual elements of the local as well as the physical to enhance the speed and effectiveness of their response.
Though the ‘speed of change’ is recognised by all, Start members will need to be better aware of the dynamics of change that result in truly transformative innovations. Innovation in the sector remains at best incremental; all too often a belated acknowledgement of what in other sectors have become well established practices. To capture innovation that truly could transform humanitarian response, Start members will – individually and jointly – have to search for innovations that are at the forefront of scientific and corporate practice. Towards that end, they will have to promote an organisational ethos of innovation that pervades the entire organisation, not a single department, and that recognises that cutting edge innovation can strengthen the impact of humanitarian response.
The Start Network has frequently been at the forefront of humanitarian response, and that, too, has been recognised by a growing number of those with humanitarian roles and responsibilities. As one continues to respond to the most vulnerable, Start members will be aware that in a growing number of instances the intensely vulnerable also are on the doorsteps of or actually within so-called developed countries. The extent to which such crises are incorporated into humanitarian strategies will be ever more important. It will demonstrate that humanitarian concerns are not confined to traditional aid recipients, but reflect the fast moving pace of need. Here, too, the Start Network can make its mark.
The Start Network’s business plan in the final analysis needs to reflect many challenges, and certainly those that will reflect the emerging realities of local, innovation and new dimensions of vulnerability.