“Being non-profit is a tax status, not a business model,” says Loic Sadoulet, Affiliate Professor of Economics at INSEAD. Effective business models for philanthropic initiatives were a key subject of the “Partnering for Global Impact” (PGI) conference in Lugano (Switzerland) on 9-10 July 2012.
This inaugural PGI event – organized by EBD Group and Gamil de Chadarevian in collaboration with INSEAD – brought together a heterogeneous group of some 280 social entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists and matchmakers. Other INSEAD-affiliated delegates (among them faculty, staff, students and alumni) included Christine Driscoll, Julia Hieber, Filipe Santos, Uwe Schulte, Mila Lukic, Krystian Fikert, Marc Le Menestrel, Mark Ruiz, Mae Shieh, Jack Sim and Caroline Watson.
While the presentations and discussions included a range of other topics (education, finance, housing, water), healthcare was a pervasive theme throughout the two-day conference. Below, I have therefore highlighted some of the healthcare-related discussions and presentations from PGI 2012.
During the opening session, Percy Barnevik (Chairman, Hand in Hand International) stressed that “extreme poverty is the root cause of many problems in the developing world”, with secondary effects on health, education, democracy and the environment. Given the dimensions of the problem, it cannot be addressed purely through charitable donations. Instead, principles from the business sector may be carefully adapted to help affected communities to improve their situation.
As Andrew Kuper (President and Founder, Leapfrog Investments) put it, the poor aren’t just “bankable” (as Muhammad Yunus had said), they are also potential entrepreneurs and investors on a “micro” level. Kuper stressed that between the extremes of “Donald Trump versus Mother Teresa”, impact investing encompasses a whole continuum of approaches. To put them into practice, however, “financial capital is not enough – human and knowledge capital are critical,” emphasized Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein (CEO of LGT Group and founder of LGT Venture Philanthropy).
A Framework for Social Entrepreneurship
Filipe Santos (Academic Director of INSEAD’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative) presented a framework for the new field, defining the Social Entrepreneurship approach through the following factors:
- addressing Neglected Societal Problems
- by Challenging Conventional Wisdom (and Status Quo)
- through Innovative Business Models
- that Empower People
- to deliver Sustainable Solutions (ideally Scalable/Replicable)
- achieving Multiplier Impact in People’s Lives
Referring to Adam Smith, Santos characterized Social Entrepreneurship as the “second invisible hand”, generating solutions for neglected problems through positive externalities. (For more information, you can refer to Santos’ recent presentation on the topic or his working paper “A Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship”.)
Improving Health on a Global Scale
The Panel Discussion on “Health” was moderated by Frank Welvaert, Managing Director of the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, which supports a range of international initiatives with the goal to “make sustainable, long-term differences in human health”. Welvaert asked the healthcare community to “focus on health, not disease” and to recognize that “impact” goes beyond the traditional outcome measures applied in the industry.
Simon Pickard of EABIS stated that in many respects, achieving better healthcare is “not a mystery, but a puzzle”: All the pieces are known, but they have to be put together in the right way. In order to do so, he called for an open dialogue across private and public healthcare organizations to overcome institutional agendas and competitive thinking.
Delon Human (President and CEO, Health Diplomats) outlined his focus on areas in healthcare such as nutrition (e.g. iron deficiency affecting one billion people), chronic diseases (with smoking as a key preventable factor) and female education (a crucial determinant of public health in poor regions). Michael Lindenmayer (Co-Creator, Eirene) pointed out the importance of care for the elderly, citing the example of South Korea, where children are trained as caregivers – thereby becoming more health-conscious at an early age. Dee Kyne (CEO, Pathfinder Healthcare) described how involving local communities leads to better health outcomes in low-income neighborhoods of Birmingham.
Gaurav Mehta (Founder & CEO of Project Dharma) described the distribution network for “base of the pyramid” customers they are bulding in rural India: Through education, underprivileged villagers become entrepreneurs and change agents, addressing issues such as anemia (through dietary supplements), diarrhea (through water purifiers) and indoor air pollution (through smokeless cooking solutions). As a result, these “village-level entrepreneurs” create behavioral changes in their own communities while simultaneously earning additional income to support their families.
At the outset of the panel, Frank Welvaert had observed that many of us appear to have “delegated” the responsibility for our own health to doctors, hospitals or the government. As became clear during the panel discussion, helping individuals to reclaim responsibility for their health may be one of the most powerful approaches to improve health around the world.
Success through Partnering
In addition to the talks and panel discussions, the two-day program also featured many company presentations and a partnering system to set up one-on-one meetings. Brief profiles of some additional health-related organizations are provided further below.
The first “Partnering for Global Impact” conference succeeded in bringing together key players from the “impact investing” and “social entrepreneurship” communities and highlighting innovative business and partnership models. Healthcare was a dominant topic, addressed directly or in the context of education, housing and the environment.
Through its strong presence at the conference, INSEAD clearly demonstrated its commitment to the field of social innovation, also evidenced by the Social Innovation Centre, the Social Entrepreneurship Programme (ISEP) and student/alumni activities like INDEVOR. Past INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Summits also covered the topic: The 2011 Healthcare Summit in Berlin included a satellite workshop on “Social Entrepreneurship in Healthcare”, organized jointly with ISEP.
At the 2010 INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Summit in Paris, John Kimberly and Roch Doliveux (CEO, UCB and INSEAD MBA’81J) had called upon business schools and their alumni to be a “force for good” in the world. Given the caliber, diversity and passion of its faculty, students and alumni, INSEAD appears uniquely positioned to answer this call.
Selected other healthcare-related organizations presenting at “Partnering for Global Impact 2012”:
- AllLife (South Africa): providing affordable life insurance to people with HIV and helping them to manage their health
- International Health Partners (UK): coordinating donations by the UK/European healthcare industry to medical charities
- Juan Felipe Gomez E. Foundation (Colombia): reducing neonatal and infant mortality in Cartagena, Colombia
- Pathfinder Health India (India): providing high-quality healthcare through a nationwide change of family medicine centers
- Ruby Cup (Kenya): bringing menstrual hygiene products and education to “base of the pyramid” customers (runner-up for the “Future Impact Prize 2012″)
- Seeding Labs (USA): catalyzing innovation in developing countries by supporting local technology transfer
- SwissLeg (Switzerland): supplying high-mobility prostheses to amputees in the developing world (winner of the “Future Impact Prize 2012″)
You can find an extended summary of PGI 2012, including a coverage of non-healthcare sessions in Mila Lukic’ post on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship blog.