This is where the challenge prize journey begins

Written on 11 April 2018

A global forum of doers

Over 200 people from 30+ counties met for two days in Milan to start acting on the biggest challenges of our time. All of us have collectively put 300 hours into 11 workshops and co-designed 25 challenge ideas.

Below you will find the outcomes of sessions on surgical equity, data for good and feeding the 10 billion, and the potential new challenges we are beginning to research to see if they will be viable prizes.

Our next step is to convene solvers, experts, frontline professionals, funders, campaigners and various other people around these topics. To make it happen, we need your support to reach out to new networks and bring in organisations ready to champion these challenges. Getting the prizes well designed and funded will require deepening our understanding of the problems, funding and the goodwill of many people along the way. If you think you can help, contact us here.

Surgical Equity Prize

Giving people access to healthcare. The Lancet Commission states that five billion people lack access to surgical and anaesthesia care leading to preventable morbidity and mortality.

Surgical site infections

  • Minimising ​surgical site infections is a multifaceted problem.
  • Experts considered different aspects ranging from the reliability of infrastructure, surgical techniques and personnel.
  • Opportunities included data collection solutions that could help in decision making and monitoring the scale of the problem.
  • Novel tools and approaches for training and incentivising behavioural change were found to be ideal for a prize.

  • Reduce surgical site infections through engaging tools and team-based approaches that facilitate continuous learning and improvement for health professionals and caregivers.
  • Reduce post-operative sepsis in children from the developing world who are undergoing major surgeries through training and advocacy tools for health professionals and caregivers.


Safe ​anaesthetic ​care

  • There is less than one anaesthesia provider per 100,000 people in most low and middle-income countries. Experts would like to see at least five.
  • Building teams that include anaesthesia needs addressing. One cost-effective solution is to equip nurses to step-in when anaesthesiologists are not available.
  • Lack of practical and easy-to-maintain equipment requires adapting anaesthetic machines and procedures.
  • Rather than importing products and therapies from elsewhere we should focus on developing them in low resource settings with local talent.

  • Ensure access to safe anesthesia through context-specific, affordable, sustainable and locally serviceable technology.


Blood banking and transfusions

  • Only about 40% of the blood collected each year is donated in developing countries, which are home to over 80% of the world’s population.
  • Workshop discussions focused on acute blood loss which is a major risk of death or disease.
  • There is plenty of future potential in blood substitutes. These are nano-technologies and chemicals that mimic blood.
  • Before these are perfected, one solution would be to create data-driven platforms for blood donations. This approach could help to incentivise donations and manage blood distribution in a affordable way.

  • Create a safe blood transfusion solution for people suffering acute blood loss through a data-driven and context-specific blood supply chain.
  • Develop an affordable blood substitute solution to treat people with acute blood loss.


Accessing surgical care

  • The task at hand is how to cater to the five billion people who do not have access to safe and good quality surgical and anaesthetic care.
  • This workshop started by looking into operating theatre technologies – mobile, modular, and plug & play surgical innovations. In the end, it opened up to wider barriers of providing care.
  • There’s plenty to think about when it comes to the patient’s journey of receiving surgical care: before, during and after operation.
  • Many people will not be able to start this journey in the first place.

  • Promote an educational supply chain for surgical technologies through the transfer of knowledge and skills in a context-specific manner for health professionals worldwide.
  • Design of simpler, safer and affordable operating environments (like ventilation and lighting) through adaptation of natural phenomena.
  • Access to safe surgery and anaesthesia through sustainable and innovative financing business models without dependence on aid.
  • Improve accountability of surgical systems through universally applicable intraoperative data collection and record keeping.

Data for good prize

Giving people access to information. Benefits of the digital revolution have not been shared equally and can transform education, governance and the economy to benefit all.

Modernising education

  • According to UNESCO, the year 2015 saw 264 million school-age children not enrolled in school. If this trend continues, 825 million of the 1.6 billion young people in 2030 will be left behind.
  • How can we be more proactive at making education more open to people of all ages, genders and origins?
  • What is needed is more flexibility in teaching with more space for informal soft skills. Digital tools powered by data and AI were considered good at delivering personalized education which is also affordable.
  • However, heading into the future will require balance. Technological empowerment should not come at a cost of human interaction and ability to build relationships.

  • Build digital tools or services that help young people match their skills & development decisions with the needs of the market.

Linking people with markets and finance

  • This group focused on empowering at risk groups such
    as women and diverse migrant populations.
  • We can help people to do new things and improve
    their quality of life through accessing enablers and financial instruments. Sharing the benefits of the digital revolution equally is key to achieving this.
  • Penetration of technology into conventional economies has the transformational power to create new markets and reshape existing ones.
  • There is a need to revisit revolutionary innovations like blockchain, cryptocurrencies and gig economy. There are plenty of opportunities in building on the flexibility and transparency which made these so groundbreaking in the first place.

  • Encourage financial independence among unbanked women in east Africa by building new financial products and services that leverage the spread of mobile technologies.
  • Support financial inclusion and viability for first generation of migrants.
  • Improve the planning and targeting capacity of governments in post-conflict areas.
  • Foster diverse markets & economic models for startups and SME through decentralised access to local and standardised market intelligence.

Data-driven governance

  • Supporting governance with data-driven tools was the most popular topic this year with two groups looking into it. The aim was to foster transparency, accountability and to improve the positive impact of governance.
  • Citizens across the world seek new platforms to get involved in the decision-making process and consult on how ‘success’ is defined.
  • At the same time, policy-makers seek new ways to make sure they are asking the right questions. They could benefit from collecting evidence for both future endeavours and by learning from past policies.
  • Digital platforms could deliver on all for these while promoting transparency and accountability.

  • Build a platform for citizen engagement in policy-making to inform policy design that (1) engage citizens and (2) can function in developing economies.
  • Decision-making tool to support government by providing user-friendly comparison of the impact of previous policy interventions.
  • Develop data-enabled tools or methods to improve government planning capacity in complex areas with weak governance (e.g. post-conflict zones) with focus on (1) population’s health and (2) water needs.
  • Empower citizens to create new measures of success and failure for governments through distributed analytics of existing data sets.
  • Standardise collaborative platform that use available data to guide policy design for local, regional or national government which is easy and open source.

Feeding the 10 billion

Giving people access to nutrition. The World Bank believes growth in agriculture can have up to four times the poverty alleviation power of other forms of economic growth.

Improving smallholder outcomes

  • Smallholder farmers ​are ​the main ​food ​suppliers in low and middle-income countries ​– reaching ​up ​to 80% ​in ​Asia ​and ​sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Their productivity sustains local communities and brings people of out poverty. Collectively, they have a massive impact on the environment.
  • Their daily struggles are harsh. These include the degrading soil health, lack of equipment or skills.
  • Consumer expectations makes it hard to promote more sustainable, seasonal or local food.
  • Ultimately, the group focused on overcoming the fundamental barrier of giving smallholder farmers access to water.

  • Make fresh water available equitably to smallholders through optimised models of distribution.
  • Allow extraction of water from a low water table for smallholders through small-scale, on-demand and affordable technology.

New sources of nutrition

  • The environmental, economic and health reasons for changing our diets are well established but people are not yet ready to give up on their favourite food.
  • Insects, algae, fungi and other unusual sources of nutrition were on the table for this discussion, along with existing sources that are largely overlooked.
  • The group decided that it is worth utilising cutting edge techniques like genomics to learn what a universal and well-rounded nutrition package should look like.
  • Conversely, a point was made that traditional foods and past technological opportunities are being underutilised and should be revisited.
  • Changing people’s diet for the better will boil down to either fitting into or shifting people’s traditional perception of food.

  • Accelerate adoption of macro-nutrient rich sources of nutrition for undernourished populations through low carbon methods.
  • Optimise personal nutrition for low income groups using nutritional genomics

Sustainable food systems

  • According ​to ​FAO, ​a ​third ​of ​all food produced ​ends ​up either wasted ​or spoiled. ​That amounts ​to ​1.3 ​billion ​tonnes of ​food ​– ​$1 ​trillion ​worth ​– each ​year.
  • Food systems require a makeover if we want to prevent waste and look after the environment. This will become even more important as we crank up the agricultural output needed to sustain the future population.
  • We need to promote sustainability of production, processing and distribution of food. There are also climate issues linked to energy, soil and water. These, in turn, have impact on migration and conflict situations.
  • The empowerment of being in control of growing food is also an inequality and gender rights issue.
  • All of these factors combined prove that agriculture has a truly transformative potential to make the world a better place.

  • Make fresh water available equitably to smallholders through optimised models of distribution.
  • Reducing food waste in retail using real time data-driven tools.
  • Eliminate or create alternatives to refrigeration for part of the fresh produce value chain using low energy or reuseable technologies.

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