This learning brief provides an overview of Grand Challenges Canada’s key learnings in scaling, sustaining, and measuring the impact of digital health innovations. Featuring organizations that are at the forefront of creating and testing new, versatile digital health approaches, this brief also includes reflections on the role of digital health tools in addressing compounding factors that affect access to digital health resources in low- and middle-income countries, including gender inequalities and the digital divide. Finally, the emergence of COVID-19 as a global crisis offers an important opportunity to reflect on the role of digital health innovations in addressing health needs, especially for women and children.
This knowledge brief provides a review of how a group of Grand Challenges Canada funded ventures experienced the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, their responses to adapt to the challenges and opportunities, and recommendations on how funders can incentivize ventures – especially those at risk – to invest in building their own resilience to future shocks and stresses.
The Grand Challenges approach identifies critical barriers holding back progress in addressing critical problems, develops targeted programs to fund teams to develop solutions to overcome these barriers and implements strategies to help to bring these solutions to scale in order to address the pressing challenges of the world’s most impoverished nations and communities.
Integrated Innovation® is the coordinated application of scientific/technological, social and business innovation to develop solutions to complex challenges. This approach does not discount the singular benefits of each of these types of innovation alone, but rather highlights the powerful synergies that can be realized by aligning all three. Integrated Innovation recognizes that scientific/technological innovations have a greater chance of going to scale to achieve global impact and sustainability if they are developed from the outset in conjunction with appropriate social and business innovations.
Grand Challenges Canada is committed to supporting gender equality, and is proud to partner with the Government of Canada in bringing its Feminist International Assistance Policy to life. Canada’s ongoing global leadership on gender equality will help drive progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.