Who we are image
Who we are image
Who we are image
Who we are image

Who we are

The Airbel Impact Lab combines on-the-ground expertise with disciplines like research, human-centered design, costing analysis, and behavioral insights. With the goal towards scale and cost-efficiency, this helps us create, test, and drive to scale solutions with the potential for life-changing impact.

Our strength is in our unusual blend of people. We are embedded in a large implementing organization with deep technical knowledge and implementation experience. We pair this with designers, academic researchers, strategists, and behavioral scientists together with our external partners from academia, the private and non-profit sectors and government.


“Achieving large scale, cost-effective, life-changing impact requires tackling problems from multiple perspectives. We bring together diverse teams of technical experts, researchers, designers, behavioral scientists, and strategists to design and test potential solutions to some of the most pressing problems people face in conflict and crisis."

Jeannie Annan, Chief Scientist

Our diverse expertise

Behavioral Insights Icon Behavioral Insights

Behavioral science combines theories and evidence from economics, psychology, anthropology, and cognitive science to build an understanding of human behaviors and decision-making processes. Insights from behavioral science can be rapidly tested and applied to the design of policies and interventions to ensure they are effectively delivered and adopted in practice.

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Economic Evaluation Icon Economic Evaluation

We are a leader on humanitarian efficiency, helping policymakers and practitioners make better decisions about how to allocate and use funding. We track the cost-efficiency of our interventions and adapt project design or delivery to ensure that cost per output meets our targets.

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Design Icon Design

Our design approach uses qualitative field research to uncover our user’s needs, values and existing behaviors. We engage users in every step of our process; rapidly prototyping, testing and refining ideas with desirability, scale, impact and cost-efficiency as our core goals.

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Innovative Finance Icon Innovative Finance

Global humanitarian budgets are not keeping pace with our clients’ increasing, and increasingly complex, needs. We are designing and testing new approaches to raising finance for our clients, and impactful new ways to use funds before, during and after displacement.

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Research Icon Research

The lack of evidence and data in crisis-affected contexts often leaves humanitarians working in the dark. We conduct rigorous research to understand the problem, test impact, improve implementation, and get better at how we measure these. We use a range of methods from randomized controlled trials to qualitative interviews and observation, matching our methods to the driving question.

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Strategy Icon Strategy

Strategy refers to breaking down complex, ambiguous problems, prioritizing the most important areas to focus on, and finding rigorous, but efficient means of arriving at solutions. We focus on issues that are the highest impact, while also being resource- and time-efficient.

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Using evidence Icon Using evidence

We search, critically appraise and synthesize the best available research evidence and support IRC staff and leadership to use this evidence in making strategic, programmatic and investment decisions across all levels of the organization.

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Our board and advisors

Laurent Desmangles

Board Chair - Investor, Advisor, Board Member, Ex Senior Partner, Boston Consulting Group

Alan Batkin

Board Advisor - Chair Emeritus of IRC

Sarah R. Cannon

Board Advisor - General Partner and Head of Europe, Coatue

Kerwin Charles

Board Advisor - Professor of Economics, Policy, and Management at the Yale School of Management.

Arnold Chavkin

Board Advisor - Senior Advisor, Pine Brook Road Partners

Ben Cushman

Board Advisor - Senior Board Volunteer

Mehmood Khan

Board Advisor - CEO, Life Biosciences Inc.

Sarah LaFleur

Board Advisor - Founder and CEO, MM.LaFleur

Alex Laskey

Board Advisor - Founder, Executive Chair Rewiring America; Founder, CEO Carecubes

Stephanie Mehta

Board Advisor - Editor-in-chief, Fast Company

Amel Najjar

Board Advisor - Founding Executive Director of Children of War Foundation

Joseph Tabarani

Board Advisor - Founder and Chief Executive of Principia Analytica

Leah Joy Zell

Board Advisor - Founding Partner, Lizard Investors, LLC

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

Founder and faculty director, Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE)

Ann Mei Chang

Former chief innovation officer, USAID

Ben Cushman

Board Chair, Building Markets; Former COO, Supercuts

Betsy Paluck

Deputy director, The Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science and Policy

Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink

Principal, Google.org; AI for Social Good initiative lead

Carter Millican

Strategic design director, BCG Digital Ventures; founder, Millican. growth consultancy

David Mckenzie

Lead economist, World Bank Development Research Group, Finance and Private Sector Development Unit

Jeremy Weinstein

Executive director, Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Kaosar Afsana

Professor of Public Health, BRAC University

Lant Pritchett

Professor of the Practice of International Development, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

Lori Heise

Professor of Social Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH)

Paul Spiegal

Director, John Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health; Professor, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Sarah Hunter

Director of Global Public Policy at X, the Moonshot Factory (formerly Google X)

Stefon Dercon

Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University; former chief economist, DFID

Abigail Nydam

Global Director Design, iDE

Augusta Meill

Founder and Director, Agncy Design

Chris Larkin

Director of Impact, Ideo.org

Colin O' Donnell

Entrepreneur, Technologist, and Product Designer

Katie Skibinski

VP of Digital Products, Planned Parenthood

Krystina Castella

Designer, Author, and Educator, ArtCenter College of Design

Maggie Breslin

Director, The Patient Revolution

Mari Nakano

Design Director, NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity

Matthew Manos

Founder, verynice

Melanie Kahl

Facebook Community Leadership Program

Ulrik Hogreb

Design Director, WeWork

Work with Us

Are you a design or systems thinker interested in solving global humanitarian challenges? Get in touch or see current openings at IRC.

IRC Careers

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.