Purpose – This paper aims to identify gaps in the literature on innovation in humanitarian supply chains, and to develop an appropriate framework for future research through a systematic literature review.   
Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a systematic literature review approach and synthesise the discussion of innovation in humanitarian supply chains after reviewing 32 papers. The synthesis identifies the different contexts for and outcomes of innovation in humanitarian supply chains. 

Findings – The findings indicate that research on innovation in humanitarian supply chains is an underdeveloped topic. Gaps we identified in regards to the humanitarian context are:  (1) a limited discussion of the contribution by the beneficiary to the supply chain; (2) a limited discussion of reconstruction innovations; (3) a lack of study on field application for complex innovations; (3) the lack of discussion of the role of individual knowledge in humanitarian supply chain innovation and finally (5) a lack of study of position innovations where humanitarian organisations use supply chains as a way to market effectively towards donors. 

Originality/value – This paper develops a comprehensive framework for the classification of innovation in humanitarian supply chains and highlights gaps in the literature. Through this, it integrates innovation concepts and findings from the literature, to provide an overview of the current state of the literature on innovation in this particular context.

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