Protection Lab Scoping Study


  • Can innovation practices enhance GPC’s capacities in guiding, supporting and implementing protection programming?
  • If, so, could an innovation Lab help GPC improve the integration and implementation of protection as an integral part of humanitarian operations?

Building on the momentum of the WHS in May which emphasized the potential of innovation for improving humanitarian response, the Global Protection Cluster has partnered with UNHCR Innovation to explore these questions.

Key Themes and Project Structure

As a first step, we are undertaking a scoping study structured around three phases – inception, learning and analysis, and proposition building and recommendations – to help us learn:

  1. What are some key challenges being experienced in the delivery of protection? This question invites us to consider challenges from two perspectives: from that of the Global Protection Cluster, and the perspective afforded by the wider protection landscape (both at Headquarters and at the field level).
  2. What is the role of innovation in addressing (these) protection needs more effectively? In other words, what kinds of innovation practices might be useful for addressing GPC’s needs and challenges in meeting Protection gaps?
  3. Is there a role for a lab in enabling such innovation? Innovation “labs” are not the only way to operationalize an innovation strategy. Therefore, we will consider a range of existing approaches to innovation management to determine how GPC can best leverage innovation practices to improve its effectiveness and contribute to addressing wider protection gaps.

If there are innovation practices suited to addressing the challenges and needs above, we might then consider what functions a Lab would need to serve in order to support those practices; the role a Protection Lab might play, and for whom; and the core services and programs it would need to offer and perform in order to play this role effectively.

By beginning to map out the basic elements of a Protection-oriented Innovation Lab, we hope to assess whether a Lab is a viable and effective way to manage innovation for meeting protection needs.


We’re interested in hearing from you! Should you have comments, ideas or questions please contact us at