Reverse Innovation in Global Health Systems: Building the Global Knowledge Pool

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The Globalization and Health series on “reverse innovation in global health systems” seeks to catalyze worldwide synergies in developing a robust knowledge-base on the bi-directional flow of knowledge and innovations between low, middle, and high-income countries. As guest editors of the ongoing series, we are delighted that this call for papers has generated an immense interest from all corners of the world. Most— if not all—submissions received to date move beyond the narrow constraints of traditional thinking in ways that challenge and rethink traditional practices within our health systems.

The series is couched within, and intimately interconnected to, a broader global movement aimed at recognizing the real potential of low and middle-income countries in contributing to health system challenges everywhere. This movement not only traverses many boundaries, but also includes recurring themes of social innovation. It is thus no surprise to us that many well-known thought leaders have added their weight to this conversation, from across the world.

For example, today, in London, Lord Nigel Crisp is launching the website Turning the World Upside Down, which focuses on exactly that – turning our mindsets on global health upside down.

“The simple fact is that people without the resources and baggage of vested interest of the developed west are finding new and innovative ways to provide healthcare, train health workers and improve health. In doing so they generate new knowledge which needs to be shared through peer-reviewed publications, as well as through more informal exchanges such as Turning the World Upside Down. Co-development is all about learning and sharing together from our different experiences and backgrounds to find better solutions for the future.”

-Nigel Crisp, Independent Member of the House of Lords & author of Turning the World Upside Down

Across the ocean, in Canada, we have seen an open challenge that seeks to stimulate the translation of reverse innovation ideas into practice for Canadian health systems. One such example is the ‘Colour outside the lines’ challenge for students, being led by the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation and its partners.

“Catalyzing and supporting projects that demonstrate the potential for successful implementation of reverse innovation ideas for global health is critical. Grand Challenges Canada is taking its first steps and we encourage everyone to share their emerging results widely to build momentum for reverse innovation and its effective implementation. The sustainability of the world’s health systems is at stake!”

Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada

Indeed, there are many others who are part of the rapidly expanding area of inquiry— all recognize the importance of a robust mechanism to learn, share and critique emerging results. Recognizing this momentum and interest, Globalization and Health has decided to make the call on reverse innovation in global health systems an ongoing collection.

We are enthusiastic about this global health adventure and look forward to publishing the inaugural group of articles of the series this summer.

Guest Editors Shamsuzzoha Syed and Viva Dadwal and Globalization and Health Editor-in-Chief Greg Martin

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