What Sickcare and Global Energy Can Learn From Each Other

What Sickcare and Global Energy Can Learn From Each Other

Few, if any, industries can be fixed from inside. If you give a conference and only have few people sitting in the audience, the likelihood is that at the next year's conference the same people will be talking about what they talked about last year.

At the invitation of a friend, I was invited to attend a conference on the challenges and opportunities presented to bring electricity to 1.3 billion people in the world, 60% of which live in Africa. Here's the problem:

In 2012, nearly 25 percent of the population of 105 developing countries had no electricity. 1.3 billion are living in the dark. 

I went because I know little or nothing about the subject but suspected I could learn something and meet people that might be applicable to global sick care problems. I was right.

  1. When it comes to global warming, the biggest offenders suffer the least but have the most to lose.
  2. The debate continues between building basic infrastructure (in the case of electricity, revisiting the 2nd industrial revolution) or leapfrogging to a cyberconnected world (the 4th industrial revolution). Think cell phones v landlines.
  3. Energy and sick care are both wicked problems and solving one part will create unintended consequences that will only require another solution.
  4. Innovation starts with mindset.
  5. Rules create ecosystems that create business models that foster or destroy innovation and entrepreneurship.
  6. Reverse innovation is a valuable as forward innovation and it takes courage.
  7. There is a cost of sustainability for both sickcare and energy that needs to be factored into the ROI and social impact.
  8. Public/private/social partnerships are necessary if the sum of the parts exceeds each alone.
  9. Food poverty, income poverty, education poverty and energy poverty results in sick care disparate outcomes and are just a few of the many social determinants that feed on each other.
  10. Money is not the problem. The African diaspora send billions back to the continent each year.

Despite the billions of dollars and enormous efforts spent to achieve the UN sustainable goals in energy and health, Africa is still lagging behind. Doing things the same way is unlikely to have them in hand anytime soon.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

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  • Brett Martin

    Africa has the untapped potential for not only electricity but massive farms to fulfill the world shortage and their consumption as well. The Chinese have already bought or leased large pieces of agricultural lands and using their technology to increase production as well. So green revolution in a World Bank Aid scheme can really help the Africans out of their decade long famines and malnourishment.

  • Sarah Thomlinson

    The truth is Africa has lots of money to spare, but it's all eaten up by the corrupt people in power.

  • Dawn Collins

    People are so often confused, it's not that they are climate change deniers, its very clear that the climate is changing. The only question is whether it's caused by humans or a natural occurrence.

  • Ollie Kerswell

    I'm so excited of what will happen in the future!

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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