Maternal mortality is an acute problem for many countries around the world, particularly those at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP). Most remote locations in these underdeveloped nations, for instance, in Africa, have to cope with the problem of interrupted electricity supply making healthcare practitioners often experience a helpless compulsion to compromise in providing quality medical attention, especially during childbirth. Along with many public, private and nongovernment initiatives, WE CARE Solar (hereafter WCS) – a social innovation venture comes with an idea of developing portable solar suitcases to respond to this intransigent problem.
This paper introduces a social enterprise that established its operation in Africa and so far has served in more than 30 similarly impoverished economies. Data was collected, analyzed using documentary research method. The authors have also collected and correlated the statements from the founder of WCS to complement the authors’ findings. With this paper, the authors intend to establish the type of innovation tools that are needed to provide value with a social innovation initiative in the health sector in the least developed country perspective. To facilitate better social outcomes and to ensure greater good, innovation requires to be accompanied by stakeholders’ involvement.
The findings indicate that WE CARE Solar has a positive social contribution toward ensuring safe motherhood and childbirth in underdeveloped countries by providing access to reliable solar power sources. The six-step social innovation process can be adopted by other social ventures to propose innovative solutions to social needs. Analyzing WCS's service delivery from the perspective of the 4As framework and value co-creation model, it is suggested that sustainable social change can be established with value co-creation through community engagement with multiple stakeholders.
This research was solely focused on one organization alone. Future research could look into the model to ascertain its acceptability in similar social innovation in healthcare initiatives.
This paper attempts to address a gap in social innovation in healthcare and its adaptability using the 4As framework with the value co-creation model. The authors propose this model from the data accumulated throughout the research, which could also serve to assist organizations looking for scalable and sustainable change.
Laura Stachel, a former practitioner of obstetrics along with her husband Dr. Hal Aronson, PhD, cofounded WE CARE Solar, a nonprofit organization based in United States that operates in impoverished African nations since 2011. The authors are thankful to her for providing them with data and insight into her initiatives at WE CARE Solar.Funding: The authors gratefully acknowledge the aid of InterResearch, Bangladesh, to fund the study.
Ahmed, J.U., Gazi, M.A., Iqbal, R., Islam, Q.T. and Talukder, N. (2020), "Value co-creation through social innovation in healthcare: a case of WE CARE Solar", World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 341-357. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJEMSD-03-2020-0024
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