Saying Goodbye to our Innovation Manager…for now!

Saying Goodbye to our Innovation Manager…for now!

Team – June 6th, 2019

Our Innovation Manager Stephanie will be on Maternity leave until the end of this year. Before she leaves we wanted to hear about her highlights so far, and her aspirations for when she returns!


What drew you towards working for DCHI?

A combination of things. I really wanted to work for the humanitarian sector, but I wanted to do it in such a way that would bring my other capacities of working with the private sector, knowledge on innovation and new business models, together. So when I saw the job for innovation manager at DCHI, it brought all those aspects together which I feel are able to create a change.

What have been your personal highlights so far (event, network moment, Project success etc.)?

In the last 18 months that I have been at DCHI there have been many highlights. I think one of them would definitely be the Annual Event last year, where we spotlighted many successful partnerships on humanitarian innovation. The keynote speakers really stressed the importance of innovation within the Humanitarian sector, and also why it’s so important to have outside-in thinking to create more impact and more efficiency in the sector. Also, the opportunity to present our views to his Royal Highness King Willem-Alexander and Minister Bijleveld during a visit to Field Lab Smart-Base is definitely a highlight.

Ongoing, I love meeting like-minded individuals who really have a passion for humanitarian aid and for innovation, and see the opportunities that lie in front of them, in order to create better humanitarian aid together. An example of this is Human Surge, who have a platform that match those who are looking for work within the humanitarian sector together with employers.

Are there any examples of HI at work that stand out for you?

I think what has been really great to see this year is the potential that has arisen when DCHI changed the way of working and said “ok let’s look at the challenges that exist within the humanitarian sector and take that as a starting point for reaching out for new partners, knowledge and solutions”. What I find really inspiring is that if you start with a good challenge, there are a lot of opportunities and different ways of looking at new solutions and new ways of offering aid.

A concrete example would be last year during the humanitarian action challenge we worked together with Translators without Borders. They were looking for a way of learning more about marginalised languages and through us, met PNGK, entrepreneurs who are really good with machine learning. They were able to develop a prototype that could help learn languages quicker with a system, which would then make aid better.

What are you most looking forward to when you return to work?

When I return at the end of the year, the next Annual Event is planned so I am really looking forward to see how that will turn out and inspire the greater DCHI network. DCHI will also have finished both the Humanitarian Accelerator programme on Energy and on Safety & Protection and those pilot projects will be up and running. I am looking forward to seeing where those projects stand, what is being learnt and how we can share those lessons with the broader community.

Want to get to know Stephanie’s Maternity Cover Sandra Jaipal? Check out her interview!