innovation starts with people.

Welcome to UNHCR Innovation Service

We believe UNHCR must continue to utilise an innovative approach to the growing humanitarian needs of today, and more critically— the future. As the world becomes increasingly complex, UNHCR must become more adaptable and agile. We must adapt to new systems, technologies, and innovations to be fit for purpose; challenging the status quo.


At the UNHCR Innovation Service, we aim to support a culture of creativity and collaboration across the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). We don’t consider ourselves innovators per se, but rather, the facilitators who bring innovation tools, and learning environments to those who require support, in order to help contribute to improvements in how UNHCR works. Regardless, if you’re a refugee or a UNHCR staff member, we want to help you create an enabling environment for innovation and continuous learning.

Latest: We have a new report on what humanitarian innovation looks like in practice. Find it here.

This is What We Do

UNHCR’s Innovation Service facilitates innovation in UNHCR and aims to promote refugee-led innovation across the world.

Refugee-Led Innovation

Refugees are innovators. Read this article about refugee-led innovation & stay tuned for more resources.

Experiment With Us

Find out how you can experiment with us on humanitarian processes & solutions.

We hate buzzwords

What does innovation even mean? Download our innovation glossary to find out (no, it’s not technology).

The Year in Review 2016

UNHCR Innovation Service has launched a website and a new publication to highlight how UNHCR incorporated innovation into its response in 2016. The website includes a set of essays, a Year in Review video series from UNHCR staff, insights from the field on how we can better position the organization for the future and put refugees at the forefront of the process. Discover what the Innovation Service was up to in 2016, dig into our diversity and activity figures as well as our favorite quotes from our colleagues from around the world.


Submit a promising practice

The objective of this online space is for UNHCR staff and affiliates to share knowledge on what works and what doesn’t in the field and at Headquarters. If you have an idea about how UNHCR can better address the challenges faced by persons of concern, this is a safe space to share it. The UNHCR Innovation Service will also work jointly with UNHCR colleagues to produce case studies every quarter based on the conversations and promising practices added to this portal.