Founders and funders: purposeful innovation

Bridging the gap between science and business to create impact

How can scientific research translate into innovative and scalable solutions to global challenges such as food security, health, and humanitarian problems? And how can these solutions contribute to accelerating empowerment, democratisation, and equitability, particularly in low-resource settings and communities?

Christiaan de Koning, Oxford Saïd Research Affiliate, and Thomas Hellman, DP World Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, explore these questions with members of the Founders and Funders community as part of the Business: the next 25 years series of events. Professor Bram Govaerts, Director General at CIMMYT/CGIAR; Kristoffer Gandrup-Marino, Chief of Innovation at UNICEF; and Dr Louisa Ludbrook, Vice-President Sales at Oxford Nanopore Technologies, talk about purposeful innovation and how they combine developing new technologies with orchestrating ecosystems to deliver impact now and in the future.

Although the speakers come from very different types of organisations working in different areas, a number of common themes emerge:

  • The need for balance: whether it’s managing the tensions between ‘technology push’ and market need, or between responding to an immediate crisis or creating resilience for the future, we need to think in terms of both/and rather than either/or.
  • The power of data: insights from data not only underlie many innovations, but allow organisations to scale solutions and to build resilience for the future.
  • The importance of collaboration: technological solutions are only scalable once people are actually using them, and this requires building knowledge within user communities; in addition, users innovate further by discovering new applications.

Founders and funders: Purposeful innovation