Health Innovation Learning Lab 2019

The County Innovation Challenge Fund and Villgro Kenya will co-host a Learning Lab focusing on innovation in the health sector. The theme of the one-day event will be Building a Robust Ecosystem for Health Innovations in Kenya to Catalyze Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage. The event is scheduled to take place on June 11th 2019 at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi from 8am to 6pm. We are excited that the timing will coincide with the 5th Nairobi Innovation Week when stakeholders will focus conversations on how innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem can support Kenya’s Big Four Agenda.



The Challenge

There is consensus across the global health community that embracing innovations is a crucial part of the ambitious plan to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals. By creating better tools, products and approaches – and constantly refining existing ones – we can make faster and more efficient progress to better health outcomes. However, many promising innovations fail to move beyond their pilot stages and never achieve impact at scale.  

The Opportunity

Kenya is globally renowned as a hub for innovation and the country’s healthcare landscape is dotted with many innovative solutions at various stages of development and scale. Existing policies are supportive and proactively advocate for innovations to catalyse faster progress. Though fragmented, there are several opportunities for financing healthcare innovations including a number of challenge funds, hackathons, innovation incubation and accelerator funds, as well as impact investors. While the fundamental architecture and drivers of healthcare innovation do exist in Kenya, there are ecosystem challenges that inhibit the seamless movement of promising solutions along the continuum from ideation to sustainable scale. The existence of a vibrant network of actors in the innovation ecosystem provides an excellent opportunity to learn, adapt and improve by drawing on this collective experience.

The Learning Lab

In view of the foregoing, Options Consultancy Services, KPMG and Villgro Kenya among other strategic stakeholders are planning to convene a Learning Lab event, with the following key objectives:

  1. Explore the perspectives of diverse actors in the innovation ecosystem on how to better support promising innovations across the scaling pathway in order to reap their full potential to bolster Kenya’s quest for UHC.
  2. Examine the existing financing models for innovations, identify gaps and challenges and recommend actions for restructuring funding and attracting new streams of investments across the scaling pathway.
  3. Provide a platform for networking and mutual learning among actors in the innovation ecosystem including innovators, funders, investors, policy makers, researchers and academia.

The conceptual design, format and content of the Learning Lab will allow participants to walk through the intricate innovation growth pathway from ideation to sustainable scale. Through engaging key note speakers, expert panels and group work sessions, participants will isolate the drivers, enablers and best practices for effective scaling of innovations. As well, the discussions will highlight the common challenges and pitfalls that stifle advancement of innovations thus leading to the ‘valley of death’.

The Outcome

The main product from this event will be:

(1) Workshop Report capturing the proceedings of the meeting and

(2) A Learning brief.


The Learning Lab will be attended by about 100 participants drawn from a mix of public and private sector, including: policy makers, innovators, researchers, academia, funders, for-profit and social enterprises

Date & Venue

The date of the event will be 11 June 2019, coinciding with the Nairobi Innovation Week (10-14 June 2019) at University of Nairobi. The venue of the Learning Lab will be at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi from 8am to 6pm. The detailed program will be updated and available for downloading on this page soon.