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The Oxygen CoLab Meet up on Growth, Impact and Value

In February we ran the first ever Oxygen CoLab meet up and it was more than we could have asked for in terms of expert input, informed attendees and enthusiasm to try and find solutions.

Oxygen CoLab — Scale Breakout Room
Growth Breakout Room: Starting with scale, how different routes-to-market impact upon Oxygen Concentrator innovation

Oxygen concentrators in low resource settings in district and remote health facilities often end up in equipment graveyards, we need improved products that are fail-safe and the spread of COVID-19 has highlighted that what’s on the market today is not robust enough.

In an ideal world, an Oxygen Concentrator with outstanding performance and accessibility in low resource settings would exist. This concentrator would be environmentally robust, fool-proof, work with uncertain power supplies, and eliminate the need for time-consuming maintenance.

We asked participants to imagine a world in which the right solution had just been invented and now it was up to them to take that product to market. What growth, impact and scale models might be necessary to succeed? Together we sought to identify the biggest risks associated with getting the right solution to the people with the best potential scale and impact.

We were delighted to welcome experts from FCDO, UNICEF, Muso Health, PATH, UCL’s Institute of Healthcare Engineering, Fre02, Energy Saving Trust, GCE Group, Diamedica, Build Health International, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Lean Med Innovation, Open O2, Centre for public health & development, GH Labs, Spark Health Design, CREATIVEnergie, and the Access 2 Energy Institute.

These amazing practitioners brought forth knowledge and experience about medical systems, oxygen technology, market requirements, business acumen and more. During the meet up we split into break out rooms so that we could really dig into specific areas of Growth, Value and Impact.

Here are some of the learnings that emerged from the meetup -

  • Fighting fragmentation — In the short term, taking a new product to market at scale in low and middle income settings is challenging because of the fragmentation in each distribution landscape. How might we design for fragmentation or else how might we make markets more viable to global suppliers? Both routes to market lead to very different types of product innovation.
  • Research needs a business plan — Too much focus on Oxygen Concentrator device research and optimisation will not provide the implementation science research needed to scale the final solution. We’re on the hunt for evidence that will help to inform the business model that accompanies the ideal Oxygen Concentrator.
  • An Oxygen Concentrator is not a stand alone solution — A large part of creating impact and value is solving for human errors, providing effective Oxygen packages, and creating better systems for preventable maintenance that avoids the equipment graveyard. These factors may lead to high impact, especially right now as the pandemic unfolds.
  • Design for Low Resource Settings — Research and development surrounding new Oxygen concentrator designs must focus on the most impactful criteria for Low Resource Settings, more work is needed to prioritise the long tail of concentrator shortcomings to arrive at the most impactful criteria to design for.

You can read a write up of the Growth, Impact and Value breakout rooms here and access the digital whiteboard of ideas we shared on the day.

Impact Breakout Room

Next steps

We love the energy of this group and we’re keeping that momentum going.

More meetup workshops are listed below. If these meet ups overlap with your interests or expertise, do express your interest here and/or sign up to the March 11th event here. We’re building a community around those that are seeking to solve this innovation challenge to test and learn together on the various challenges and solutions.

We’d like to thank everyone again for joining this first meetup and making it such an amazing success. We all learned so much from each other and this session will shape the next steps that we take along the journey of the Oxygen CoLab path.

We will continue to share what we learn along the way, so watch this space for more information and if you are on Twitter, follow @COVIDactionTech for updates.

If you are working on Oxygen Concentrators and would like to join us or contribute get in touch on

The Oxygen CoLab



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