Steve Davis’s PATH to innovative healthcare
Ahead of many conversations in September revolving around health at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Social Good Summit and UN week, the Skoll World Forum spoke to some of the world’s leading minds about healthcare trends across the globe.
Steve Davis is president and chief executive officer of PATH, a Seattle-based international non-profit organization that transforms global health through innovation.
Davis’s experience in running large not-for-profit organisations has held him in good stead leading PATH. The organisation’s mission to ensure quality healthcare is available to as many people as possible.
Sometimes even leaders have to learn a few lessons along the way, and his included the importance of listening, respecting and building upon the past, as well as learning to slow down.
A big lesson he learnt over the past year is to view his work through a global lens. This involves sourcing innovations, listening to customers’ expectations and introducing disruptive innovation to certain parts of the world.
Innovation today comes from many places. Countries are taking greater ownership of their healthcare solutions, funders are feeling the pinch of the global economic climate and new players are emerging in every corner of the globe.
His organisation is collaborating with several public and private partners to create a new vaccine that costs US$1 a dose to protect the poorest children from a deadly form of diarrhea.
Davis’s earlier work in the private sector has meant that he appreciates innovation can come from any business unit in any level of the value chain, from pure ideation, to adaption, to adoption and introduction, to scale up.
The best innovations can sometimes appear in small packages. While working in a small, rural clinic in South Africa, he met the head nurse who had hand drawn extra columns in her log book to enter extra details about her patients that no doubt saved lives.
Distributed innovation is flowing along new paths – not just from west to east or north to south. Indian manufacturers are now producing life-saving vaccines for patients in Africa.
PATH’s work now focuses on demonstrating outcomes, meeting demand, innovating to scale, collaborating for the greatest impact.
Davis says mobile technology is now helping some of the poorest people in the world. The mHealth project helps to address juvenile tuberculosis, vaccination and the safe pasteurisation of breast milk from donors, among other achievements.
“One of PATH’s most far-reaching successes is the vaccine vial monitor. It’s a small sticker, about the size of a pencil eraser, that shows whether a vial of vaccine has been exposed to heat. It can tell health workers whether vaccine has been damaged or is still potent. It’s been used on more than 3 billion vaccine vials since 1996 and saves the global health community at least US$5 million per year,” Davis says.
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Managing Director, The Strategy Group
Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.