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Local culture and everyday practice

Date added

09 April 2019


This paper looks at translating innovation ‘culture’ into local culture, and innovation ethics into ‘everyday’ practice. This reflection piece by Kristin Bergtora Sandvik is the second in a three-part series that explore ethics questions faced by community-centred innovation labs. It is based on her experience as an ethics advisor to DEPP Innovation Labs, a two-year programme that manages labs in four disaster-prone countries (Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya and Philippines). 

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One of the central questions for humanitarian innovation is what it means to ‘localise’ the innovation agenda beyond simply funding innovation structures in the field. Community engagement in the innovation context faces potentials and pitfalls that are similar in some ways to traditional aid encounters but that diverge from them in others.

For example, in contrast to traditional aid schemes, innovation labs engage in highly structured processes of ‘selection’ and ‘deselection’ of innovations – and with them, a highly visible processes of ‘defunding’. How is this negotiated in the local context?

Read more about DEPP Innovation Labs.

Download the reflections paper