HSIF: Managing Growth in Global Health Innovation — Tyler Saltiel

PATH collaborates with multi-sector partners to advance appropriate technology solutions for the health needs of people living in low-resource settings.

The importance of health in reaching development goals and improving lives is now widely accepted and the conversation regarding global health has transitioned from why to how. PATH is a leader in global health innovation, working across five platforms — vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations — that leverage its expertise in scientific and public health, advocacy, and market dynamics. Through this work, PATH is able to take innovation to scale and partner with organizations and governments in developing countries to bring modern medical science to those in need.

One of the perennial challenges in this sector is sourcing adequate funding to maintain the life-saving work. Thanks to the help of the Haas Social Impact Fund, I had the opportunity to spend my summer working with PATH’s strategy team on solutions to this challenge. Our team worked with others across the organization to identify which of PATH’s expertise could be offered as a consulting service. We worked to define the services that could be offered, conducted market research in global health consulting, and analyzed competitors or alternatives to consulting that are available. We had the opportunity to get creative about ways that nonprofits could generate revenue beyond the traditional grant and contribution funding.

PATH is an international health organization driving transformative innovation to save lives. They have multiple offices located across the world, including Ethiopia, Ghana, India, and Peru.

There were a number of important key learnings in the strategic leadership of an organization, chief among them was the importance of managing growth in a way that doesn’t create reliance on one funder or customer. Doing so creates an over dependence on uncontrollable factors and a potential going concern or a change in strategy from the funder or customer could create a crisis. Generating revenues from a diversity of sources was core to our approach and essential to determining whether a new service offering was viable.

One of the other most significant takeaways was the importance of making allies and building support across the organization. Especially in highly segmented organizations where teams have a high level of independence, it is helpful to build an alliance of individuals who can advocate for your project and lend their resources. Ideally, this process results in a project that creates benefits for a greater number of teams and generates a greater benefit to the organization as a whole. It also requires that the project demonstrate its viability. If you can’t gather support from a wider group, it is likely that the project is not yet ready for introduction.

About the Haas Social Impact Fund

The Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) is student-run and almost entirely funded by current Berkeley-Haas MBA students who voluntarily donate a small part of their summer salaries to support their classmates’ social sector endeavors. HSIF provides grants to full-time MBA students who accept summer internships in the social sector. These grants allow students to put their Haas MBA to use for organizations that are doing important work in communities around the world but cannot offer to pay a “typical” MBA salary.

Hear from more of our 2017 HSIF recipients through our blog. To learn more about the Haas Social Impact Fund and/or to make a donation to the Fund, visit our website.