Diving Deep: Examining Innovations in Food Security and Affordable Healthcare

Following the successful launch of the 2023 Global Leadership Program (GLP), student participants continued to immerse themselves in the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem to gain a deeper understanding of the key opportunities and challenges related to social impact innovation. Over two weeks, students analyzed the key considerations for designing successful, user-centered solutions to complex problems with a particular focus on how technology is impacting the future of affordable health and food security. 

“When we talk about innovation, we often picture complex algorithms, cutting-edge technology, or groundbreaking ideas. However, the heart of true innovation lies in the heartbeats and stories of those we aim to serve.”—Abby Mbuthi, BSc (Hons), Computing, Kenya. Read more about Abby’s experience

Through guest masterclasses and fireside chats, students have heard from leaders in the sustainable agriculture and health tech industries, including Lesley King of Partners in Health (PIH); Doug Galen, CEO of Rippleworks, and Amy Klement of Imaginable Futures who shared their lessons learned and best leadership practices. Students also had the opportunity to connect with various industry partners and visit entrepreneurial ventures around the Bay Area including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cohere AI, Coursera, Google HQ, Lucile Packard Foundation, Stanford Nano Labs, Verily Life Sciences, and more.

For instance, at Google HQ, students participated in a responsible innovative discussion, engaged in a resume advising workshop, and asked questions of an employee panel featuring members of Africans@Google, a Google resource group for African employees. Then, at AWS, students delved into Amazon’s pioneering initiatives within the agriculture and healthcare sectors, engaged with distinguished organizational leaders, learned about Amazon’s unique “working backwards” model for innovative design, and applied the model to real-world challenges in agriculture and healthcare in Africa.

“A highlight of our day was the introduction to Amazon’s unique ‘working backwards’ model. This informative session provided an inside look at how Amazon develops its innovative products. Now, after gaining firsthand knowledge about this ‘working backwards’ model, I am utterly fascinated by how it underpins everything Amazon does.” —Naokoka Balaluka Naomie, BA (Hons), Business Management, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read more about Naomie’s experience.

In addition to the energizing guest speaker sessions and site visits, students continued to exercise their creative problem-solving muscles through weekly leadership, design thinking, and ideation workshops. Throughout these dynamic learning experiences, students demonstrated immense thoughtfulness and ingenuity by applying their insights to localized problems of practice within their cultural contexts.

Thank you to our partner organizations for their collaboration in creating meaningful learning experiences for students engaged in the Global Leadership Program.