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Published on February 9th, 2023

Using Innovation and Collaboration To Build Better Futures

At DT Global, we’re proud to run the Better Futures CoLab with our consortium partner Brink. The Better Futures CoLab uses technology and data to build resilience to some of the world's biggest problems. Birthed out of our COVIDaction programme in 2020 and the challenges faced during the pandemic, the Better Futures CoLab project is a platform of programmes, bringing together various stakeholders to tackle the challenges facing the world today.

The platform is based on two key pillars. The “Co” focuses on collaboration and bringing together experts, innovators, and funders to realise a vision. The “Lab” focuses on experimentation and using innovative approaches to tackle problems in new ways.


What is the aim of the Better Futures CoLab platform?

The aim of the platform is to accelerate change and bring stakeholders around the world together to make a difference and build better futures for all. We are starting with key issues that were highlighted by Covid-19, but we believe that the Better Futures platform, and its CoLab method, can be used to make meaningful change across a huge range of areas as we imagine a better future.

The pandemic shone a light on many key inequalities in the world and particularly in the health space, with populations in Lower and Middle Income Countries being impacted most by Covid. This means that our two focus areas for now are the Vaccine Data CoLab and Oxygen CoLab.

The Vaccine Data CoLab exists to make hyperlocal data accessible and actionable. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the crucial role data and insight can play in making informed decisions around the prioritisation of scarce health resources and stimulating vaccine demand within vulnerable groups.

The Vaccine Data CoLab is working with key partners on the FCDO Hygiene and Behaviour Change programme and will work with grantees across Indonesia, Nigeria, and Uganda to trial a community-based, data-driven approach to understand vaccine hesitancy.

By addressing key issues such as better matching of vaccine supply and demand, and impact tracking, we will test our hypothesis that people’s needs and motivations are different per locality or region and that hyperlocal data can support more refined vaccine planning and behaviour change programmes.

The Oxygen CoLab exists to help accelerate global access to oxygen in low-resource-settings through innovative technological advancements.

A result of the Covid-19 pandemic was that many countries had a critical shortage of oxygen supply, especially oxygen cylinders. Oxygen concentrators have become the option for lower-resource settings, but issues such as inconsistency of power quality or humid climate in particular regions mean that many of the machines are not workable in these regions. Bringing together organisations that specialise in oxygen will help the CoLab platform to bring effective oxygen sources to these settings.


What have we achieved so far?

  • Collaborated with global vaccine research and data partners to avoid costly duplication of effort and translate research into action on the ground across 18 countries.
  • Developed data dashboards for use in designing better real time interventions.
  • Co-designed and developed Covid-19 digital vaccination certificates.
  • Supported innovators that are providing life-saving oxygen in Tanzania and India in areas where it was previously unavailable.


How does it all happen?

At the Better Futures CoLab platform we offer grant-funding to organisations that want to get involved and work on projects. We also reach out to donors in the industry to create learning spaces and create workshop events to increase networking opportunities and bring more experts, innovators, collaborators together to tackle these challenges across the world.

The pandemic highlighted many issues with regards to the disparity in resources across global supply chains, especially with regards to health resources. Our ultimate ambition with the Better Futures CoLab is to ensure we create resilience against shocks to our supply chains, health systems, climate, and ecosystems. We believe that no single entity, funder, or sector can address the next big challenges of our time but working collaboratively together can help to reach that goal.