Posts Tagged ‘Health’

SOCAP Health: Creating the market that values health

May 30th, 2014




SOCAP Health is the first conference of its type, bringing together banking and finance, social enterprise and impact investing, health and medical care, and community development. You don’t want to miss it!

Together with The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, The New York Academy of Medicine and the Build Healthy Places Network, SOCAP Health will convene an in-depth conversation about what creates health in our society, and where entrepreneurial and funding/investing opportunities exist.

For more information and registration, visit:

Each year $2.7 trillion is spent on medical care in the US, and the recent changes in healthcare require a fresh look at innovative ways to leverage that capital. A systems approach to the social determinants of health opens up entrepreneurial opportunities and new investment frameworks that can drastically reduce healthcare costs and improve lives.

This landmark event will take a cross-sector view into what creates health in our society, and where new market opportunities exist. The conversations will explore frameworks and look holistically at health systems, social systems and solutions that generate well-being in communities. See how incentives can be better aligned to drive outcomes through case studies of organizations that are leading the field and creating the outcomes we seek. Position yourself in the ecosystem as we create the market that values health. Learn more and register!

SOCAP13 Video: Doing Well by Doing Good: Ways of Investing in Global Health

September 5th, 2013


The global health investment landscape is undergoing remarkable changes. Traditional government funders, critical to taking interventions to scale, are making cross-sectoral partnerships to solve global health challenges. Corporations, foundations, and impact investors invest in innovative, sustainable, and replicable solutions that ? when proven effective ? attract government funding, which can then provide continuity and take solutions to scale. Panelists will discuss their roles in this new era of investment and opportunities for pioneering and leveraging these investments.

SOCAP13 Session Recap: More than McDonalds: The Opportunity to Franchise Healthcare

September 5th, 2013

Franchise models represent the fastest growing industry for emerging markets. Wednesday’s session, “More than McDonalds,” explored how innovative, social franchise models are currently disrupting healthcare and extending access for vital health services to the people living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).


Over the past decade, bold pioneers such as Living Goods, World Health Partners, and others have taken the age-old model made famous by companies like Avon and McDonalds and have tweaked it to serve the historically under-served. While at a glance, a fee-for-service model of healthcare targeting the world’s poor may seem a little odd, a closer examination from today’s expert panel revealed that it’s actually one of the safest and most scalable solutions available for impact investors and those who are under-served. This is in large part due to its powerful ability to allocate risk and reward: proven models = significantly higher success rates = higher profits or SROI.

Food for thought from this session:


  1. The model’s appeal—franchisors like it because it grows with the help of other people’s capital; and franchisees and investors like it because they’re buying into a proven blueprint that’s replicable and scalable.


  1. The model’s limitations—there’s a temptation to grow the franchise and increase cross-subsidies in order to scale impact by creating new products and services at different price points. While well intentioned, chasing such rapid diversification and scale can, as Nick Pearson of Jacaranda Health cautioned, come at the cost of the brand and quality of service. E.g., Jacaranda has thought about broadening their medical offerings but hasn’t so it can focus on its core competencies: Maternity clinics


  1. Ways to protect a franchise’s brand and ensure quality—Unlike a commercial franchise where a provider can be shut down if its performance is not up to snuff, social franchises, where often the provider is located in a remote community and is the only healthcare option, “franchisors need work with providers to move them along the quality spectrum,” said Karen Pak Oppenheimer of World Health Partners. Franchise’s can also preform annual quality audits.
Paradoxes and remaining questions:

Products with higher margins require more training and education. “Franchises can’t be beholden to the god of sustainability”—there is some degree of subsidies required in emerging markets but how do you decrease the need for them overtime? “Is it more powerful to maximize equity or number of people being served?”


Special SOCAP13 Volunteer post from Nick Hiebert

Register now for Health Refactored, May 13-14

February 25th, 2013
Join the sharpest coders and designers in health tech, May 13 – 14, at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. At Health:Refactored, you can learn how to make the biggest impact in health care and wellness. Attend this event to learn, play, share ideas, network, and get inspired during two days of sessions, workshops, and talks led by industry experts.

Introducing Two Themes: Place-Based Innovation and a Focus on Health

December 6th, 2012

Launching with this issue of the Good Capitalist are two of what will be our continuing focus areas in the run up to the forthcoming SOCAP conference in September of next year.

The first: we will be writing about (while taking part in) a study project meets learning and IP sharing network that’s looking at what’s working for the pioneers in place-based innovation organizations; from incubators like GoodCompany in Philadelphia, to Bull City Forward in Durham, to what we do in the networks of HUBs in the United States from Seattle to Los Angeles to San Francisco and Berkeley, to cooperative communities like Vuollerim in Swedish Lapland.

Christopher Gergen, who has written an article in this newsletter, is going to be leading the learning group, and I will be part of it and also write about it for the Good Capitalist, as I expect will Christopher from time to time. It’s our hope that members of the learning group will be creating content to appear at SOCAP that will highlight what’s working around the country and around the globe in the sphere of place-based innovation. Christopher will be leading that theme, and I’m just along for the ride.

The second focus area launching with this Good Capitalist issue is on health, or maybe Health; imagining healthy families, healthy communities, and a healthy planet as one way to conceive of the goal toward which market-based, non-profit, and publically-funded poverty alleviation efforts are aiming. Using health as a frame changes the aim from stopping something to creating what we want to create. The game changes from reactive to proactive.

This shift is very appealing, and it’s consistent with what we intend to generate in the spaces we create. So, we’ve had some internal dialogue among the HUB and SOCAP team about adopting Health as the core theme for SOCAP13. We decided that putting the entire next SOCAP conference under the banner of health would make some people think the conference was too narrow and not for them. So instead we are going to make health an uber track, or even potentially a mini conference inside SOCAP13.

The health track will be the story of one person. We are looking at the frame of designing the United States healthcare economy for the benefit of an urban woman with chronic type 1 diabetes who is also keeping grandchildren. There is a confluence of technology and policy that could make this hypothetical patient an extremely powerful pivot point healthcare customer. This confluence would justify designing the economy around her from the standpoint of financial return for investors, lowered cost of delivery, higher degrees of self-managed health, and positive social change.

Her position in our societal balancing act makes her an obvious candidate of much attention when we use the lens of the permaculture principle that states, “make the least change for the greatest effect”. The urban grandmother would be the focus of a truly blended value economy, one where valuable things have respect and social worth, and things that cause damage pay the price.

With Obamacare, the urban grandmother is going to have a lot of powerful insurance forces that want her to live a healthy life, a life that lowers the long-term cost of health care provision to her. And there are amazing, low-cost mobile apps that can help her keep up with her blood sugar, her serotonin and depression levels, her activity levels and more, so she knows when to eat a snickers or when to take a walk to feel better.

Diabetes is a disease that can be managed by an informed person willing to do what it takes to get healthy. A health care economy designed to help the urban grandmother change her behavior – empowered by information and a community helping her take advantage of that information (maybe her teenage grandchild who checks her smart phone apps for her) – is a powerful one.

This is an economic design that would reduce the cost but bring higher quality health care. It’s an economic design that is already creating a flood of innovative digital health and mHealth startups that are getting real venture investment. (mHealth, or mobile health, is a term that refers to the use of mobile devices in support of public health, such as text message reminders to take medications.) It’s a space where mission creep is not a risk for an impact investor; if you are serving chronic type 1 diabetes “customers” you will be serving and empowering the poor and helping them become more able to better manage their lives through a combination of tools and behavior change.

For startups targeting that valuable urban grandmother client as their focus, it all boils down to: step 1, integration of the plethora of mobile apps into something it’s easy to manage and not confusing to someone trying to put together a diabetes management plan; and step 2, adoption.

Putting the power of health decisions and data gathering into the hands of the urban grandmother is a great idea, lowering costs while increasing quality. But, take note, it’s a market where new entrants need to be sure they enter in a culturally sensitive way. In this new arena of prescribing jointly managed behavior change as the path to health, there are a lot of power relationships that have to be tended to with high awareness of the difference between a well-meaning intent and the potential impact on the recipient.

All of those cultural complexities – the clear social good of bringing powerful technology tools to poor people that can increase both health and agency – make this a really interesting story that I think can point to how we could Accelerate the Good Economy, which is the theme of the next SOCAP.

Where this story will go, I don’t know. This is the kind of project that lends itself to creating a documentary and maybe attempting to make it a transmedia story (using web, mobile, real world, poster contests, and other means to influence social action and carry an activist’s goal forward).

The transmedia approach may be a potent framework for actually redesigning the health care economy the way this story is exploring. It would mean bringing in lots of voices, including of course those of the people we are trying to help. Partners who could help put these pieces together and make it happen have emerged. It could be that the resources will arise to enable this story to reach that place of change-making potential. Either way it will be part of a major SOCAP13 focus that I and perhaps others will continue writing about in the Good Capitalist. Stay tuned.