Building Bridges - Knowledge Cafe

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May 06, 2019
by Yasmina Ghandour
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Building Bridges - Knowledge Cafe

Facilitators discuss main lessons from Knowledge Cafe during Salzburg Global program, Bridging Worlds: How Can We Use Business and Economic Development Strategies to Support Better Health? Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

During Bridging Worlds: How Can We Use Business and Economic Development Strategies to Support Better Health?, participants took part in a knowledge cafe with several stations discussing topics linked to creating better health. Participants moved every 30 minutes among stations.

Each table had a facilitator who gave a brief impulse talk on the topic and then led the discussion. We spoke with each facilitator to garner what their take-aways were.

"The main takeaway, I think, was the variety of different ways of applying investment tools and innovative finance tools to different health and social challenges at the global level, and then at the national level and local level, and how we need different approaches for those different scales of challenge that we’re dealing with. The message that I was trying to get across was what the range of options are for using investments to make a difference in social challenges such as health, and also the importance of engaging investors because they are asset owners who have power, and so, therefore, engaging them in using that power as part of our process of change.”

Stephen Muers, trustee of the Friends Provident Foundation, and head of strategy and market development at Big Society Capital

Key points from “What can be achieved by innovative finance and activist investors to align better business strategies with population health?”

"We were looking at co-production and grassroots initiatives and looking at their contribution to the health and economic development agenda... we had a really interesting discussion between the dynamics of the merits of a big local versus the merits of scaling. And I guess at the end of the day we agreed there’s a place for both. There’s so much potential around a local initiative but actually replicating it and growing it is not always the best solution. You might lose so much in that process. There again we do need to get scale in certain circumstances and when you do scale it’s important to do so under a framework that provides an enabling framework.”

Sarah Deas, director of Co-operative Development Scotland

Key points from “What are the challenges to incorporating co-productive/grassroots initiatives into wider local/national/international health and economic initiatives?”

"My main takeaway from the knowledge cafe discussion was that the idea by the organizers who formulated the question whether data was the new oil was a very important question... there are some very intriguing parallels between data now and oil in the history of the 19th century, in particular, and of certain power structures and other historical developments that were very important... I realized that looking into those parallels and seeing also where the differences are and the parallels are is absolutely vital when dealing with the questions of data... my message was to consider data rather as a currency rather than as oil... this would allow us to distinguish between the public value of data and the private value which have to be distinguished... my practical message was to really push for the idea of attaching a monetary value to data and actually let people be paid for giving their data.”

Franz von Roenne, senior GIZ manager

Key points from “Data is the new oil: what are the main opportunities and threats regarding inclusive economies and health arising from this disruption, and how can or should they be managed?”

"Overall, evidence from around the world suggests that greater gender equality has a positive effect on the health of males and females and gender equality tends to be associated with a convergence in the health outcomes of men and women. Pressures on boys and girls to conform to gender norms is huge... Women in the workforce face different stresses than men because of expectations gender norms place on women as caregivers... economic development policies need to be gender aware – consider how policies impact men and women and what is happening to gender equality as economic development strategies are deployed. But beyond being gender aware, we must look for opportunities to transform gender norms. Unless there is encouragement and support for men to assume more non-traditional roles, further health gains that comes from gender equality will be stymied. And as a result, further economic development may itself also be affected.”

Tessie San Martin*, president and chief executive officer of Plan International USA

Key points from “The significance of gender in economic development strategies to support better health”

*Extract is taken from a summary email sent by Martin


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Bridging Worlds: How Can We Use Business and Economic Development Strategies to Support Better Health?, is part of the Health and Health Care Innovation multi-year series. More information on this multi-year series is available here.