Innovation Lab
Experts developing plans together
What We Do
To meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, Innovation Lab supports the use of science, technology, and open data in promoting new ideas and the development of original tools to empower decision-makers in vulnerable countries to strengthen their resilience. Recent innovations in the field have enabled better access to disaster and climate risk information and a greater capacity to create, manage, and use this information.
Innovation Lab activities are designed and implemented in partnership with government institutions and key international and local partners, ensuring that all activities add value in planning, operational, and recovery activities. 
How We Do It

GFDRR Pillar One – Risk identification

Identifying risk is the first step in disaster risk management (DRM). Innovation Lab works to ensure that risk assessments meet the needs of decision-makers through proactive communication and engagement from risk assessment design to implementation of larger-scale investments in risk reduction, preparedness, and financial protection.

Risk Identification Factsheet


Open Data for Resilience Initiative

In 2011, GFDRR launched the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) to apply the concepts of the global open data movement to the challenges of reducing vulnerability to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. OpenDRI has developed a suite of complementary tools to improve risk information through better access to data:

·  GeoNode, a free and open source catalog of risk data and visualizations (see information on the new Ebola GeoNode here).

·  Community Mapping, a community engagement approach that gathers information about the built environment through crowdsourcing (e.g., OpenStreetMap)

·   InaSAFE, a tool that provides realistic disaster scenarios and their potential impacts

OpenDRI Factsheet


Understanding Risk community

Understanding Risk (UR) is an open and global community of 3,200 experts and practitioners interested and active in disaster risk assessment. Members represent more than 125 countries and include a range of sectors. The community convenes every two years at global forums, which provide organizations and individuals the opportunity to highlight new activities and initiatives, build new partnerships, and foster advances in the field of risk assessment. Understanding Risk 2014: Producing Actionable Information was held in London, UK. Previous events have been held in Washington, D.C.; Cape Town; Belo Horizonte; and Port-au- Prince.

Understanding Risk Factsheet


Code for Resilience

To strengthen community resilience to natural disasters through innovation, Innovation Lab supports Code for Resilience (CfR), an initiative that partners local technologists with disaster risk management experts to create digital and hardware solutions for DRM and other civic-minded activities.

Code for Resiience Factsheet


Spatial Impact Assessment

Innovation Lab's Spatial Impact Assessment (SIA) team uses satellite imagery and local spatial data sets to efficiently evaluate the entire extent of damage from a disaster and facilitate the development of a financial estimate for a country’s recovery. This work supports GFDRR’s Resilient Recovery efforts process by providing information before a damage assessment is undertaken and by providing independent validation. 

Spatial Impact Assessment Factsheet


The Challenge Fund

The GFDRR and the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) competitive Challenge Fund pilots new and innovative approaches to overcoming risk identification challenges and strengthens disaster and climate risk decision-making in developing countries. This fund provides small grants to projects that help bridge the gap between technology and on-the-ground user needs in the field of disaster risk identification.

Challenge Fund Factsheet



A new online tool for the development community, developed by GFDRR, in collaboration with BRGM (the French geological survey), Camptocamp, and Deltares, ThinkHazard!  enables development specialists to identify natural hazard information for a given area and incorporate measures to reduce it into project design.


ThinkHazard! Factsheet


Our Core Team:

Head of Innovation Lab – Dr. Alanna Simpson,

OpenDRI – Vivien Deparday,

Understanding Risk – Emma Phillips,

Code for Resilience – Dr. Keiko Saito,

Spatial Impact Assessment – Dr. Keiko Saito,

Challenge Fund – Emma Phillips,