Accelerating Innovation for Resilience (AI4Resilience)

Bangladesh faces several intersecting humanitarian challenges such as the Rohingya refugee crisis, climate-related vulnerability, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many humanitarian innovation efforts are top-down, leading to the development of solutions that are not aligned with the needs of local communities. Programs, initiatives, and investments to foster local innovation will ultimately only be successful over the long term if they are part of efforts to strengthen collaboration, partnerships, and capacity across the local innovation ecosystem as a whole.

Through Accelerating Innovation for Resilience (AI4Resilience), we activated a network to strengthen the local humanitarian innovation ecosystem, and incentivize organizations and intermediaries to design and deploy solutions that could lead to systems-level changes in Bangladesh. 

Our program was designed to allow the insights and natural leadership within the local ecosystem to emerge over time while building new capacities and networks for solution acceleration. This started with collectively mapping Bangladesh’s innovation system for humanitarian response and community resilience. Through this process, we identified strategic opportunities for transformation, leading to a Challenge Competition to incentivize, facilitate, and support ecosystem actors’ development and refinement of solutions.

The AI4Resilience program…

  • Launched in June 2022 in Dhaka with 42 in attendance for a day-long workshopping and discussion event, to produce a systems map following a series of consultations and interviews with 27 people and followed by a second, virtual “systems sensing” workshop 
  • Produced a systems map (casual loops diagram) of Bangladesh’s humanitarian innovation system and identified leverage points for systemic change
  • Designed the AI4Resilience Challenge with inputs from stakeholders and systems sensing discussions
  • Received 66 applications from organizations and individuals and selected 23 organizations to participate in Challenge, with over 100  individuals from these organizations actively participating in ongoing sprint sessions and open learning to develop their solution concepts.
  • Hosted 3 open learning sessions and design sprint sessions for our participants and then the 10 Challenge Finalists
  • Organized a Solutions Showcase for the 10 Finalists to present their stories and meet with key advisors in the field and selected 4 Challenge Winners
  • Supported 4 Challenge Winners and active stakeholders in constructing a  humanitarian innovation ecosystem network

AI4Resilience engaged stakeholders throughout the program, resulting in an organic network that continues to work together to strengthen the ecosystem.


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