Scaling health strategies


Great business ideas go global to serve customers around the world and to gain economies of scale. By contrast, market forces do not work as efficiently in the social sector. Social innovations too often remain local or national. Although many of the ideas and the entrepreneurs behind them have the potential for global spread, the social sector still lacks a process that focuses specifically on the global scope of change and the resources and mechanisms necessary for globalizing an idea successfully.

At the heart of the AHA! collaboration is the desire of Philips Foundation and Ashoka to leverage their respective complementary expertise in social innovation and systemic change and business solutions of scale and technological advancement, with the ultimate goal of narrowing gaps in access to healthcare. Be it medical issues like maternal health, chronic conditions or issues of affordability and infrastructure, Accelerating Healthcare Access will innovate and connect new solutions that close the systemic gaps that have long plagued the growth of a quality healthcare ecosystem. 



In this context, Philips Foundation and Ashoka organised the first Accelerating Healthcare Access Summit in Eindhoven. The four-day event took place from June 20th to June 24th 2018, convening a large and diverse group of actors in the healthcare ecosystem. Fourteen Ashoka Fellows were joined by Philips leadership and employees, industry experts, healthcare leaders, businesses and citizen-sector organizations to step into the next paradigm for accessible healthcare.

These four days of discussion and collaborative problem solving resulted in valueable key insights and impact on the Ashoka Fellows and the main challenges they're trying to address. For detailed takeaways and key learnings from the event, please download the Globalizer Summit Report here.



For social entrepreneurs, the ultimate goal is to permanently change and improve a system or industry. This means that their solutions go beyond treating symptoms of social problems—and look to redefine the underlying and broken patterns, mind-sets, and structures that cause the problems in the first place. This vision for systemic change addresses the root causes or systemic drivers of a problem and fixes those gaps through building capacities, infrastructure and support for the solution.



In this context, scale should focus less on increasing the size of an organisation or having the organization replicate its work in different areas, and should focus more on scaling the impact of innovative ideas. This fundamental shift in approach usually requires strategies that scale both the direct and indirect impact of the organisation in order to more quickly reach a ‘tipping point’—the point at which impact self-accelerates without depending on the organisation that initiates it.

Intentionally generating indirect impact involves engaging other actors from beyond the social entrepreneurs’ organizations with the model or idea. This means ‘opening up’ the idea and empowering others to co-create the solution; i.e help replicate the idea, advocate for the idea, push for the idea to become policy, build on the idea and/or strengthen the model and its impact with complementary activities. These actions then allow for more efficient and leveraged strategies to ensure that the idea is able to gain maximum impact, moving towards the creation of new norms and real changes in systems.

For more information on the Ashoka Globalizer Program and its impact, visit the Globalizer website: or read our 5-year report