When we talk of innovation, it is primarily in the context of developed countries, the countries for which it is accessible and that can afford to finance it, as innovation can be expensive. Innovation is based on significant profits and considerable margins, which form the basis of our economic system.
The question I would like to pose is, how can we ensure that the most underprivileged populations of the world benefit from innovation? Do we not live in a world where everyone has access to everything? With developments in communication and information technologies, progress has become accessible to all.
We have even seen that through access to innovation, namely social networks, it is possible to bring down a political regime.
Why can we not do the same thing in relation to less sensitive situations with less dramatic consequences, simply to improve the lives of underprivileged populations?
It is because innovation is accessible to all that it can be of benefit to all and can change the world.
Why, in developing countries, must we replicate an economic model that works for developed countries? Why not totally rethink the way in which these new technologies are brought to market, via economic and financial models that create value but that are adapted to these markets and, above all, enable value to be created at a local level? Why not make use of the creativity and gray matter of these populations to encourage them to play an active role in creating their own wealth, as opposed to keeping them idle and dependent?
I have often heard it said that there are countries where, thanks to the climate, any vegetation could be made to grow and the people could produce everything that they need in order to live. And yet, these same countries import all of their food, as nothing has been done to create and maintain local capabilities. Is it a question of ability, or of will? I leave you all to reflect on this question. The Greek philosopher, Seneca, said that “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult”. I would add that we do not want to dare.
I am certain that it is possible to find innovative models, and I think that there must be several, which would enable vulnerable populations to have access to the technologies of the future. Examples already exist, and we must make these known and build on them. Let us start small from humble beginnings, with the success of given approaches serving as examples to be shared. Ahimsa seeks to act as an incubator, an accelerator, a networker and, above all, a changemaker.
The solution will not come from us, which is perhaps why we are struggling to find it. The solution will come from the field, from the entrepreneurs who have started to revolutionize their lives and also our world, who might one day turn to these innovative models, and who will come to us and break down our silos.
The purpose of the forthcoming Ahimsa RoundTable (ART) on innovation, from October 15 to 17, will be to launch discussions with all of these stakeholders to reflect, in an original manner, on this movement that we wish to put forward, on the notion of accessibility and the creation of value, while offering a return on investment for all and, above all, for local and underprivileged populations. We want to find a new source of wealth from their poverty.
This new event will be like a jigsaw, with each participant a part of the puzzle. We aim to create a whole using all of the pieces present. If a single piece is missing, the puzzle will not come together. It is up to us to find the right way to operate. This is our challenge.
The puzzle will succeed if all of its parts are present and fit together, each accepting that they are part of a whole, with humility and without bringing egos to the table, with the shared objective of making healthcare accessible to the most underprivileged populations. That is what it means to create bridges, and to share. Looking after others is a worthy undertaking, but to do so for oneself, or for one’s silo, robs it of all momentum. I would like Ahimsa to contribute, in its humble way, to creating these bridges. It is time to exchange and share what we know, with a common wish to change the world.
A number of high-profile participants have agreed to take part, in October. We will start out small and demonstrate that, on our small scale, we can make things happen in the world. It will then be up to the major names in global health to scale our projects up and make them accessible to as many as possible. This is what I call the snowball effect. Let’s launch a humble initiative with solid foundations for once, set it in motion, and let it grow. It could achieve anything along the way…
Thank you for your confidence and for your very precious support.