Commodifying knowledge for Humanitarian Innovation in NGO-Business collaborations: An Integrative Literature Review

Authors: Mette Apollo Rasmussen*, Roskilde University, Denmark, Lars Fuglsang, Roskilde University, Denmark, Søren Jagd, Roskilde University, Denmark
Topics: Development
Keywords: NGO, business, collaboration, humanitarian innovation, business models
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Humanitarian innovation is argued to be a promising way to support humanitarian action. This paper addresses how NGO´s, with their presence on emerging market, can play a crucial role in supporting bottom up innovation and, more generally, how NGO and private companies can collaborate to support humanitarian innovation. The aim of this study is to provide a review and discussion of the existing literature concerning business-NGO collaboration in relation to Humanitarian Innovation. Further, the study aims at identifying the NGOs unique position for providing and sharing knowledge with businesses to develop innovative solutions in the frame of Humanitarian Innovation. The research question this paper seeks to answer is: “How can NGOs use their position and knowledge from emerging markets to develop Humanitarian Innovation in collaboration with private businesses?” To answer this research question, the article proceeds in two steps. First, the literature on humanitarian innovation is reviewed with focus on how the concept of humanitarian innovation is understood in the literature. An integrative review was chosen because it has the potential to generate a comprehensive understanding, based on separate research findings, of problems related to collaboration in humanitarian innovation (Whittemore & Knalfl, 2005). Secondly, we shortly discuss experiences of collaboration based on interviews with Danish Refugee Council. We contribute by exploring the international literature with a focus toward interactions between NGO´s and businesses and describe how experiences are picked up in the emerging markets and translated to knowledge, which can be commodified and turned into new business model for NGO´s.

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