Reverse innovation in global health

Jakob Zinsstag, Kristina Pelikan, Tanja Hammel, Julia Tischler, Antoine Flahault, Jürg Utzinger, Nicole Probst-Hensch


The term “reverse innovation”, also known as “trickle-up innovation” is being popularized since 2010 with an initial focus on corporate development and economics. In brief, reverse innovation refers to new ideas and solutions adopted and tested in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), which subsequently spread to high-income countries (HICs). Reverse innovation very much applies to public health and wellbeing; indeed, a model for reverse innovation in global health has been proposed. Experience and lessons from reverse innovation in global health suggest system-wide benefits that arise from partnerships between LMICs and HICs. Further examples of reverse innovation in global health focus on integrated approaches to health and demonstrate potential for HICs. Intercultural and multilanguage competence are central elements for global partnerships to leverage reverse innovation as global innovation. Existing global product development partnerships have a high potential and should be expanded as platforms of global innovation hubs in health.