By Marshall Stowell, Editor-in-Chief, Impact
In less than a decade, we’ve seen countless industries turned on their heads — many of us don’t buy CDs anymore, we download music, watch shows on Netflix, stay in an Airbnb or call an Uber instead of a taxi. Political campaigns are launched on Facebook and Twitter.
Less covered in the mainstream press, but equally exciting, is a range of innovations in global health that has accelerated progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goals, cut child mortality in half and put us within reach of an AIDS-free generation.
The funding landscape is changing as well. Government donors are reducing their global footprint and focusing shrinking resources in countries with the most pressing health needs. In countries where government donors have exited, social enterprises are replacing donor-funded projects and creative development models like franchised health centers and new for-profit condom brands are expanding.
Corporations are moving away from a model of corporate social responsibility where they hoped to amass social capital by “doing the right thing” toward a model of shared value where their social and business objectives meet and fortify each other equally. Philanthropists are seeking measurable results and a much deeper level of engagement where they can share their time, talents and financial resources in the prime of their lives, not at the end.
The business of eliminating extreme poverty in our lifetime is changing, and so must its workforce.
We partnered with the US Global Development Lab at USAID and Devex in an extensive survey of development professionals on a range of issues from funding sources to hard and soft skills. Some of the results follow trend, but others surprised us.
Also in this issue, we speak with DFID about their innovation hub and UNITAID discusses the importance of accelerating the introduction of new health solutions. Design thinker and social entrepreneur Pam Scott breaks the mold of yesterday’s philanthropist and talks about her work to reduce unintended teen pregnancy in Tanzania through human-centered design.
When we began to put this issue together, we choked a bit on the word innovation. It’s so overused, it’s been nearly rendered meaningless. But, as the Director of the Global Development Lab Ann Mei Chang, says in our Q&A on page 5, innovation for innovation’s sake is hardly the point – it’s about creating something new that actually delivers real value.
The world is watching as Nepal begins to rebuild amid aftershocks from the earthquake on April 25, 2015. (As I am writing this — two months after the initial quake — Kathmandu suffered three more shocks this morning). Innovation in the delivery of health products and services is critical. We, at PSI, along with many of our partners and peer organizations, are stepping in to make sure that much-needed health solutions are in place.
We’d love to hear from you as to what new approaches, tools and interventions are most vital in your work. As always, we welcome your comments and thoughts.