Global Health Innovation Insight Series

Being an innovator is never easy. But tackling the needs of patients and health care providers in underserved communities – in the United States and around the world – is especially difficult. The idiosyncrasies of the health care sector, the contextual barriers found in resource-constrained environments, and the already difficult-to-implement innovation process make entrepreneurship in this sector time-consuming, expensive, and risky.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored and exacerbated these challenges. From India, to Africa, to parts of the US, lower-resource communities were deprived of adequate access to essential health technologies including diagnostic testing, oxygen therapy, and vaccinations. Reimagining global health has never been more important.

To support the efforts of entrepreneurs from around the world to improve the health of the world’s poor in this critical moment in time, we are highlighting the work of Stanford’s Global Health Consortium for Innovation, Design, Evaluation, and Action (C-IDEA). Funded by NIH grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01, researchers at Stanford spent ~18 months capturing lessons in global health innovation. The resulting case studies, organized into six interrelated categories focus on the successful design and commercialization of healthcare innovation products and services.

Identifying and Validating Needs

Consure Medical I: Translating a Need into an Actionable Path Forward

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacy McCutcheon Ritu Kamal Christine Kurihara Anurag Mairal
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

After watching a colleague struggle with the care of his mother when she was affected by fecal incontinence, the Consure Medical team began investigating this…

The JaipurKnee Project I: Getting the Need Right

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the…

Understanding Market/Stakeholder Dynamics

CycleBeads I: Building Acceptance for a Simple Idea

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Julie Manriquez
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown’s Institute for Reproductive Health…

Life Force Kiosks II: Engaging Local Talent

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable…

PlayPumps International: Gaining User Buy-In

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Trevor Field, a retired British businessman and outdoor advertising executive, was deeply moved when he observed women and girls in rural villages of South Africa…

Getting to a Market-Ready Product or Service

DoseRight I: Moving out of the Lab

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

The Rice 360° Institute for Global Health Technologies seeks to design and implement technologies that improve health and reduce poverty.

DoseRight II: Transitioning to High Volume Production

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

When 3rd Stone Design, a product design, strategy, and development consultancy, licensed the DoseRight Syringe Clip out of the Rice University Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB)…

Inspire: Evaluating a Transition to Product Development

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon Amy Lockwood
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

Globally, pneumonia kills more children than any other illness. In developed countries, pneumonia and other acute respiratory conditions are treated via mechanical ventilators.

KickStart II: Overcoming Manufacturing Challenges

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses.

Respira Design: Complex Requirements for a Simple Solution

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

To help address the burden of childhood asthma in developing countries, Respira Design created an asthma spacer that was produced from a single sheet of…

Sales, Marketing, and Distribution

CycleBeads III: Implementing Too Much, Too Soon

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Amy Lockwood Julie Manriquez
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown’s Institute for Reproductive Health…

d.light III: Building Credibility and Trust

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Amy Lockwood Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy…

Life Force Kiosks I: Reporting and Accountability

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable…

KickStart III: Marketing to Hard-to-Reach Consumers

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses.

Maternova: Bringing Together Buyers and Sellers

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Maternova was founded in 2009 as a mission-driven for-profit organization with two main objectives: (1) to provide an online knowledge platform that would allow health…

PATH I: Building a Direct Sales Force

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

PATH II: Demonstrating Products in Rural Areas

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Phoenix I: Generating Preliminary Sales

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Julie Manriquez Christine Kurihara Anurag Mairal
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India.

Phoenix II: When Partner Sales Fall Short of Expectations

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Julie Manriquez Christine Kurihara Anurag Mairal
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India.

PSI II: Changing Perceptions and Behaviors

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies.

SafePoint I: Stimulating Adoption

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2011

After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections.

SafePoint II: Sustaining Adoption

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2011

After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections.

Defining a Viable Business Model

CycleBeads II: Creating a Dual Market

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Julie Manriquez
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown’s Institute for Reproductive Health…

Embrace: Deciding on a Hybrid Structure

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Amy Lockwood Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

While attending Stanford, the Embrace team developed an idea for an innovative infant warmer to help low-birth-weight infants.

IDRI: Neglected Disease R&D with a Nonprofit Model

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) was founded by immunologist Steve Reed in 1993 as a nonprofit global health research center dedicated to applying advances…

The JaipurKnee Project II: Scaling up the Business

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the…

KickStart I: Delivering Enduring Solutions

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

Having observed too many development projects that appeared successful at first, but then failed as soon as the development agency moved on, Martin Fisher and…

PATH III: Addressing Affordability Issues

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Denend
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

PSI I: Taking a Service Model to Scale

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Stacey McCutcheon
Global Health Innovation Insights
2013

Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies.

Securing Adequate Funding

d.light I: Securing Early Funding

Stefanos Zenios Lyn Thayer Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy…

KickStart IV: Measuring Impact

Stefanos Zenios Lauren Denend Edward Sheen
Global Health Innovation Insights
2012

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses.