Reaching best possible solutions through focusing on people

New Approaches

A new eco-system of humanitarian innovation is evolving. Often led by non-traditional actors like designers or activists, new approaches are assessed, elaborated and implemented in humanitarian projects. Innovations linked to human-centered concept or social design foster new role models based on triple bottom line approaches. With new concepts, methods and principles these innovations try to answer the question:

How can we transform the most miserable places on the earth into sustainable habitats?

Three Spheres of Impact

The three sections of design cannot be understood as separate areas but rather as different starting points. In fact, it is the connection between the three emphases that is the strength of MORE THAN SHELTERS’ approach.


How we work

MORE THAN SHELTERS works interdisciplinary and draws on diverse methods from multiple disciplines. The focus is thereby on the creation of appropriate solutions in the humanitarian context and the efficient planning of emergency interventions, based on steady long term development and improvement.


In this regard the methodology of MORE THAN SHELTERS can be summarized under the term integrated design, meaning the contextual creation and planning of systems, structures and products. Integrated planning ensures participation of all stakeholders and affected parties and considers human habitats to be organic environments that need to be acted upon on all layers that define their reality.


Product Design



Our product design is about finding the right balance between needed standardization, which enables fast action when a conflict or natural disaster happens and cultural appropriation that takes into account the socio-cultural context and needs of affected populations. This is the background of DOMO as an innovative humanitarian product.




Social design processes always put the users or beneficiaries in the center and rely on their knowledge and creativity. Following the logic that people themselves know best what they need and what is good for them, projects are conducted in co-creation processes. New solutions for the most pressing challenges are developed in workshops and available, diverse expertise is used to connect and adapt the possibilities of the 21st century to local needs and knowledge.




Human reality is multifaceted and can only work as a well-functioning system when all parts and layers successfully engage with each other. Understanding of  complex and interconnected realities is valuable when treating causes – not just consequences – of malfunctioning in humanitarian contexts. We call this complex reality ecosystem and the operating in it ecosystem design. Four factors are crucial for ecosystem design: ecology, social issues, politics and economy.