Toolkit: Ethics for Humanitarian Innovation

Publication language
Date published
13 Sep 2021
Tools, guidelines and methodologies
Elrha, The Humanitarian Health Ethics Network, McGill University

In ethics, a virtuous circle occurs when ethical acts positively reinforce future ethical acts. The Virtuous Circle tool helps identify policies, processes and people that support ethical reflection or decision-making within an organisation or team – reinforcing the virtuous circle. The tool highlights three foundational areas that can influence your organisation’s ‘ethical climate’:

  • Ethical resources
  • Ethical practices
  • Ethical expertise

These three areas create the foundations for how people respond when facing ethical issues. The tool also asks vital implementation questions to prompt discussion. This exercise is intended to help you mainstream ethical consideration in your organisation, through both formal and informal structures. It should also serve to help create a system of accountability for innovators and oversight of innovation projects. By regularly reviewing these implementation questions and updating the three foundational areas (through ensuring adequate resourcing, reviewing practices, and developing expertise through training etc), an innovation project can be sure of a strong ethical base.