Hourglass links humanitarian decision-makers with experts, innovators and fringe thinkers  


Ask us a question, and we’ll connect you with a volunteer expert. Together, we are creating a network of new ideas.

Time is a critical resource in humanitarian crises. We invest time in preparation and planning. We race time to reach the people in greatest need. We spend time wisely so we can have the greatest impact.

Now, we are asking for your time.

Hourglass connects the sharpest minds to the world’s most complex humanitarian issues. We are seeking experts in innovation, strategic foresight, and futures to advise our frontline decision-makers.

Just one hour of your time could help our leaders, staff and volunteers unpick a knotty problem, uncover new solutions, or overcome a barrier to change.

How does it work?

Hourglass is a self-organising network. Humanitarian staff and volunteer leaders from all over the world submit questions and challenges focused on their strategic priorities, burning issues and questions about innovation and the future.

Experts from around the world – people like you, with skills and experience in diverse sectors and from different backgrounds – sign up to donate an hour or more of their time.

We then match the National Society staff to the most appropriate expert. The pair are introduced and then organise their own meeting to examine the burning question.

You can decide how much time you want to invest and which of your skills and expertise you want to offer. Then once matched with a Humanitarian staff member or volunteer leader, you can help them with things such as;

  • thinking through approaches to innovation
  • applying futures and foresight methods
  • understanding new trends and their implications
  • approaching a problem from a different angle
  • exposing them to new networks, thinkers and actors

Why are we doing this?

We are the world’s largest humanitarian network – reaching 160 million people globally each year – but we know we do not have all the answers. We cannot find the most innovative solutions to the complex humanitarian crisis we face now, and in the future, if we act alone.

We believe in the power of networks and new perspectives, but we know many humanitarians can’t access new networks or are too overwhelmed to invest the time in developing them

There are many people both inside and outside our organisation and our sector with brilliant ideas, insight, and a desire to help solve humanitarian crises.

We hope that by linking these experts directly to our decision-makers, we can unlock new ideas, new perspectives, and new partnerships.

Personal connection, real challenges and space to talk honestly and openly are key. We will never unlock the full power of humanity in conferences, journals or policy documents. We are building a new way to tackle global issues.

Ask a question 

If you are working on a new idea or trying to find solutions to a tricky problem, our experts and specialists – from many different sectors – are here to help.  

Fill in a quick form to send us your question. You will soon be matched with someone from the Hourglass network who has a great experience and skills related to your challenge.

Become an expert

Join a network made of amazing experts, specialists and dedicated volunteers to solve some of the most complex problems in the world. 

Please sign up to donate one hour of your time. You will then be matched with a National Society member who is tackling a real strategic issue related to your expertise and interests

Our experts are here to help support people in the humanitarian sector with advice and guidance on innovation, foresight and transformation

Check out a small sample of them here

Become an expert!

Join a network made of amazing experts and dedicated volunteers to solve some of the most complex problems in the world.

How Hourglass works

Fill in the form
Tell us what you want to talk about

We look through our books
We connect you with someone for a chat about your question

An expert answers your question
We connect you, and you find a convenient time to chat