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Collaborating for Innovative Solutions in Global Health

By Tara Newton, Senior Communications Associate, BID Initiative

Jun 23, 2016

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Photo: PATH. Dr. Chilunga Puta giving a flash talk at Devex World 2016.

Photo: PATH. Dr. Chilunga Puta giving a flash talk at Devex World 2016.

How do we innovate to build a world where health is in reach for everyone? Last week, professionals in global health and development converged to learn from one another and push the envelope at Devex World.

The BID Initiative’s Dr. Chilunga Puta, BID Learning Network (BLN) Director, was featured as a luminary at Devex World, providing a flash talk on Improving Health through Peer Learning and Data. In the talk, Dr. Puta highlighted how the BID Initiative solutions will allow health workers to collect and use better data to make better decisions and improve overall health outcomes. She also discussed how peer learning networks are an innovative approach to developing sustainable, scalable solutions together. The talk was live streamed from the event on PATH’s Facebook page.

Tying into the themes of Devex World, PATH hosted a gathering to launch The Innovation Effect which aims to accelerate impact through unique partnerships, disruptive technologies, transformed systems and data-driven insights.

PATH President and CEO, Steve Davis, notes why innovation matters with these five key takeaways featured in a recent blog post:

  • Innovation still matters:It is clear that we need innovation now more than ever. Whether it’s incremental or revolutionary, it needs to be integrated into everything we do, every day. We should double-down our commitment to this agenda of innovation.
  • Innovation comes in many forms: Yes, there are new products and gadgets, but we also must innovate in systems and processes, and in financing and policy changes that combine to create the biggest impact. This also requires us to be very intentional about looking at innovation through multiple “lenses,” including gender, culture, adolescence, and national security.
  • Innovation will be turbocharged with digital tools:We can now do innovation differently with new tools in data, digital solutions, and social networks. We have a new level of connectivity that we’ve never had before. While we should not forget that health innovation often relies on basic biology, chemistry, and engineering, better use of data combined with better connectivity tools and ideas are letting us bridge gaps and accelerate networked impact.
  • Innovation needs to matter: We must constantly be asking, “So what?” To have impact, we must be more thoughtful and also more assertive about human-centered design and the scalability of ideas. We must aim to lessen global inequities in health and we must focus on impact: changes that will increase access, cost less, or be more effective. Urgent crises require urgent responses, but those responses should be part of a broader framework that keeps the big-picture development agenda at the center, and aligns resources accordingly.
  • Innovation that matters requires partnerships: Acting alone holds back progress. Successfully scaling up social innovation requires government, the private sector, and the social sector to come together, along with strong global leadership, to make an impact. I’m hard pressed to think of a single social innovation that has gone to scale without these three sectors working in partnership.

The BID Initiative approach to achieving our vision resonates with these takeaways – in particular new tools in data, digital solutions, and social networks; as well as building strong partnerships for sustainability and scale. We look forward to collaborating with partners and colleagues from last week’s events to challenge each other to be innovative in solving some of the biggest global health challenges.

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