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                ‘The innovation methodology that DCHI has developed over time, tailored to the humanitarian sector and tested with the coalition, offers plenty of opportunities.’
  you also need to set up a refugee camp, for example. We can exchange knowledge and experience on these issues.’
Martin Wijnen recognises Wim Jansen’s concerns regarding the obstacles that can get in the way of open cooperation on innovation. At the same time, he is optimistic: if it can
be successfully done somewhere, then it
must be in the Netherlands, he believes. ‘Collectiveness, allowing coincidence to lead you from one thing to another, something we like to call serendipity, requires heterogeneous groups. Sometimes, we in the Netherlands
are blind to what we see. Here, it is just very common for very different parties to come together and work on solutions with an entrepreneurial attitude - the Dutch polder model in optima forma! We don’t always realise just how unique that is. Believe me, when I look at how things work in Germany, France or the US, for example, then it becomes clear that this is a very unique model.’
The hard part: execution and scaling
The innovation methodology that DCHI has developed over time, tailored to the humanitarian sector and tested with the
coalition, offers plenty of opportunities.
Now is the time to capitalise on them, is the general opinion among the board members. Mariëlle van Miltenburg of Foreign Affairs:
‘It is time for the humanitarian organisations themselves to give further shape to how
they give substance to innovation. What
has been achieved could now be scaled up
and made sustainable, where possible with partnerships with the scientific or business communities. That is their challenge. DCHI has provided the impetus for this. Until now, it has been the motor to introduce humanitarian organisations to other networks; that is what it was all about. Now that it is clear what is possible, I hope that the baton will be picked up and that it will be used intensively.’
Martin Wijnen of Defence also believes that the ball is now in the sector’s court. ‘DCHI has played its role as knowledge broker well, and that has had its effect’, he says. ‘It is difficult, however, to trace back positive outcomes to DCHI. Take, for example, the methodology that has been developed; that is a real tangible result. Now, people have to implement it. We do notice a certain conservatism in the sector: if someone else thought of it, it simply can’t
be right. Some think in terms of opportunities, others in terms of threats. Unfortunately,
you do not only see progress in this respect. Nevertheless, I do expect to see results in the end: without a platform that brings the parties together, you will not make any progress - an insight that should spur action.’
Investing will remain necessary
Suzanne Laszlo expects that some efforts will still be needed to get innovation sustainably and effectively on the map among emergency aid organisations. ‘The emergency aid organisations on the board have all been
very committed to getting off to a good
start. We have achieved results and now we have something beautiful on the table. The trick now is: how do you embed it? To be honest, I had hoped that the sector would
have been more receptive to this by now, but
it is recalcitrant. We will still need a push to get over the hump and turn it into something sustainable’. Marieke van Schaik confirms this: ‘We are thinking a lot about what is needed to gain sufficient traction. Fortunately, the good examples are available, but we must continue to invest in this potential.’
Humanitarian Impact Re-imagined

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