Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation is a new way of delivering services to displaced people and their communities.
The term Symbiotic Innovation (SI) describes the essence of our groundbreaking approach.
Symbiotic – existing in symbiosis, or having an interdependent relationship
Innovation – the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods
The creation of the SI model was in response to a growing view that today’s large scale, one-size-fits-all approaches to social challenges are not only failing to meet the scale of need – they may in fact be contributing to the problem. This is because through our agencies we have created an artificial relationship with the communities we work with – a relationship where ‘service users’ are reduced to the sum of their needs and agencies assume responsibility (and authority) for deciding how these needs are met.
SI challenges this paradigm. This unique model is used to facilitate a relationship of equality and commonality between service users and agency staff – until the boundaries between both become porous. This approach of mutual learning through mutual action promotes a nurturing environment for the creation of relevant and scalable solutions beyond the jurisdiction of the agency. The SI philosophy is that solutions can only be sustainable if they are born of and thrive within the community – as it is the community members themselves who need to embrace these solutions in their day to day lives.
In essence, SI puts the humanity back into humanitarian work – the agency becomes home to a community of equals, striving for a shared purpose, rather than a meeting point for service providers and service users.