Innovation and Creativity In Healthcare For The African Doctopreneur

Hamza Asumah, MD

As the CEO of a healthcare consultancy firm, I have observed over the years that the healthcare inaccessibility challenge in Africa has been resolved on many levels by the establishment of both private and public hospitals. With our consultancy firm, we have helped establish some of these physical structures that will provide healthcare to people of all socioeconomic levels.

 A lot of people in the low-income range have been helped by the introduction of the National Health Insurance scheme to also be able to receive healthcare up to a point at affordable yearly premiums. The one thing I am curious about today is how technology might play a role in the healthcare accessibility issue. In this technologically advanced world, ignoring the importance of technology would be a grave mistake.       

In Ghana and much of Africa, we do not have the same advantage as the developed countries, where healthcare providers are so well-represented online that any search engine (google, ask, etc.) can tell you where your nearest healthcare provider is and even how to get there. Currently, we are exploring whether we can leverage technology to create a platform that will become the ultimate search engine for finding healthcare providers in Ghana and most of Africa that face similar challenges. 

Photo by the ThinkTeam

We discussed with my team the possibility of finding hospitals, pharmacies, and diagnostic centers and migrating them onto one platform through a mobile application. By doing so, the patient (whether they are citizens of that African country or one of the 30 million tourists visiting the continent), can easily go on it and find the nearest healthcare provider (just as Google will) and be able to get directions to that facility.                  

In order to flesh out the idea, identify any blind spots and plan next steps, I walked the team and others through it. Due to the obvious financial constraints that I faced, I was able to make more creative use of the available resources. Since this is an app, it is best to engage an application developer who can help us develop a minimum viable product that can be tested and refined. I believe this will increase speed-to-market, help my team to identify critical features, and prevent us from becoming paralyzed by perfectionist tendencies.

My hypothesis is that the constraints of time, money, materials, and scope will spur creativity in this innovation. I keep my mind wide open as a new innovator to come up with lots of connections and possibilities. In a market where internet accessibility will be critical to success, and the adoption rate of technology is unknown, it will be a risk to take. 

The benefit of innovative organizations is that they stay ahead of the competition and benefit everyone. Genetics accounts for 30% of your innovative potential, meaning that 70% of your ability to innovate can be learned. This presents us with a huge opportunity. There is no single recipe for being innovative, it is a cocktail of curiosity, creativity, Risk-taking and collaboration.

Photo by inc

As a Doctorpreneur, it is important to remember that Innovation thrives in collaboration. This gives us the opportunity to have our strengths complement others’ gaps. The spark however lies in being curious. This urge to explore and discover opens the imagination and stimulates creative connections according to the Harvard Business Publishing.

Many ideas started with a perplexing inquiry. We often argue as Doctorpreneurs that curiosity helps our businesses function better, yet what we say about curiosity and how we approach it on a daily basis are usually at conflict. We frequently reject inquiry as distracting, time-wasting, or improper. We frequently dismiss our own inquisitiveness.

The lesson here is not to reject our own and others’ curiosity on a regular basis. Without it, our companies will become stagnant. Curiosity conveys the message, “I don’t know everything, and I’m prepared to learn.” It fosters trust and facilitates the flow of ideas. In fact, studies suggest that supervisors who exhibit curiosity on a regular basis are more loved and appreciated by their employees.

When you wish to refresh your mind and reawaken your curiosity, act like a beginner: Stay in the present now and observe with all five senses, stop from forming right-wrong judgements, and take conscious action by making decisions based on what you notice rather than what has worked in the past.

Photo by Ideascale

Creativity does not appear out of nowhere. It is the result of mixing ideas and thoughts in unexpected and beneficial ways. Some methods for physically exploring your thoughts include Create models and mock-ups, sketch concepts, and act out scenarios.

To innovate, you can’t just sit back and wait for a fantastic idea to sprout. Instead, you must look for opportunities. Take chances and try new things. Be prepared to fail and to learn. Always keep in mind that risk is required for creativity. Consider the cost of doing nothing on a frequent basis to keep motivated to take risks. When taking these risks, always start modest, understanding that successive tests will provide more value. Always remember to place wise bets.

I will love to hear your thoughts on what innovation and creativity means to you. Please do share in the comment section below.  

2 responses to “Innovation and Creativity In Healthcare For The African Doctopreneur”

  1. Hi Hamza! Learned a lot from your blog entry and appreciate you sharing your experiences. I think creativity means taking risks to push the boundaries of whatever domain/industry that you reside in.


    • Thank you, Conrad. You are right. It’s the process of pushing those boundaries that present that learning curve that we have to accept and navigate effectively.


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