Our Mission

ICZ works with communities in crisis to solve healthcare deficits using Innovation, Ingenuity and Creativity.

What We Do

ICZ specializes in collaboratively designing and implementing health improvements for communities in conflict.

Recognizing innovation as a social act, ICZ partners with communities in crisis to identify and address the healthcare inequities that impact their lives. Using a multi-sectoral approach, ICZ works to transform the systems that created the problem in the first place through the development of community co-designed prototypes, products, processes, programs, and  platforms.

ICZ works to achieve broad, sustained impact ensuring solutions contribute to the long-term well-being and resilience of individuals, communities, and society.

How we do it

Through Community Based Collaborative Research and Human Centered Design, ICZ works to identify the exact problem that needs addressing. Using prototyping and an iterative process, ICZ then develops solutions, products, processes, and/or programs.  ICZ then studies the transformative process with observational study, randomized trial, or qualitative interview and publish in peer reviewed journals to ensure innovations always help and do no harm.

Case Study:  When hospitals in Democratic Republic of Congo could not get ultrasound gel, ICZ worked with local women to develop one out of the local root cassava.  It was very inexpensive and equal in quality to the pharmaceutical grade gel.  ICZ then had the local casava gel validated at Albert Einstein Medical Center to ensure equal resolution, no toxicity and no infectious spread.

Link here for full article in PLos

Our Guiding Principle

Process is not the enemy of innovation. In reality, innovation needs a framework​!

  • We focus relentlessly on solving the problems of our communities.
  • We embrace rigor and process so that we can direct resources to the biggest problemW
  • We test, learn and iterate alongside our colleagues and partners to get the right solution
  • We use shared experiences and spaces to come together inside and outside the lab. solving problems alongside the people faced with having those problems.
  • We have innovation professionals who have mastered the tools available to them and make the lab their job.
  • We hire people who are well-versed in innovation, understand customer development, lean startup, and design thinking.

Why "Innovation" and
not "Entrepreneurship?"

While social entrepreneurship has become a popular term for those trying to improve the world, true social change often requires the active collaboration of all stakeholders, including government, business, nonprofits, and communities. ICZ  uses “Innovation” and “Innovators”  to describe ourselves as the entrepreneurs that we are within a social construct of the communities we serve.



group shot for web page

Impacting a system across all scales, affecting not only specific groups, organizations and communities but the whole system at the very broadest level (changes in culture, laws, policy, economy, etc.)

Profoundly changing or transforming a system rather than adapting or improving it

Simply put, social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progres




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