Summer Labs pioneers of 2017 still going strong

How are last year's labs doing?

In the summer of 2017, SkinApp and Online Echoes participated in the first Summer Labs by The Spindle. The SkinApp helps health workers in peripheral regions to early diagnose patients with skin diseases. Online Echoes, a team from RNW Media, focuses on using digital data to create online spaces to amplify the voice of marginalized groups. Eight months after the last Summer Lab, we are curious to know which steps they have taken since.

Since their participation in The Spindle Summer Labs, Online Echoes has been focusing on connecting with the right partners and contributing to a proposal for the Nationale Postcode Loterij (a Dutch lottery). This ended up in a 1 million euro grant for safe online communities. For SkinApp, the focus of the prospected scope of application has expanded enormously. The Netherlands Leprosy Relief (Leprastichting) is currently aiming to make the SkinApp publicly available in African, Latin-American and Asian Countries. This mission will commence in Mozambique, India, Indonesia and Brazil.

An exciting place to innovate
Luke Gilder, team member of Online Echoes, vividly recalls their motivation for participating in the Summer Labs: The main reason for us to participate was that many companies talk about innovation but very few actually do it. We found The Spindle Summer Labs to be a place where we could actually practice innovation”. Yolanda Jansen, responsible for institutional fundraising for the SkinApp and Netherlands Leprosy Relief, immediately got excited when the Call for Ideas was published: “At that time, the technological development was in full swing, the app was already being tested in the field. The question remained, however: how should we proceed? How can we scale up the app so that it can be implemented everywhere on the world? These questions could perhaps be answered during The Spindle Summer Labs.”

Adding value and strategic perspective
For both teams the Summer Labs helped them to increase their focus and define their specific added value. Online Echoes ‘saved a lot of pain and tears’ by realising that they were asking the wrong questions. The Summer Labs helped them to identify their added value. Yolanda and her colleagues took The Spindle Summer Labs as the opportunity to invite many people with a fresh perspective to take a look at their product. They could see what was already there and especially see what was still possible. “During the Summer Labs we started thinking about alternative business models and distribution methods. We did not only discuss the top-down route, but also the bottom-up route. This ended up to be the right strategy.

Luke Gilder (Online Echoes): It was a great experience, with top-notch coaching.

Interested in participating in 2018?
Do you have an innovative idea or solution that contributes to an inclusive, just and sustainable world? The Summer Labs 2018 accelerate your idea around development cooperation into a pilot proposition with or within a (Dutch) NGO that you could start the next day. Send in your idea and win The Spindle Innovation Award for Best Idea 2018 on October 11th + €5000 seed money! Apply here.

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