How Can Partnerships Create Rapid Innovation During COVID-19 Crisis?

Join us for a live written discussion with a panel of experts to deepen understanding of the role of partnering in delivering rapid innovation during the COVID-19 global crisis.

Live Panel

Wednesday, 22 April, 9.00 am EDT / 2.00 pm BST [ADD TO CALENDAR]


COVID-19 requires rapid action, and it requires innovation. This unprecedented challenge demands that we overcome organizational and sector boundaries and join forces. A number of companies have managed to move extremely fast on innovating COVID-19 responses. New partnerships: Partnerships with competitors, other businesses, NGOs and Governments. Usually, these kinds of partnerships take months if not years to develop. Instead these are taking days and weeks.

What can we learn from these new partnerships and the innovations they are creating? How can new best practice be established? Can we inspire others to take action and what can we learn from these examples now, that can help us make innovation partnerships the “new normal” in a post-COVID world?

Businesses have a pivotal role to play in protecting the lives, livelihoods and learning of people impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Join this online written discussion to learn from others, share your insights, ideas and take action.


  • Florencia Estrade, Global Director, League of Intrapreneurs
  • Catalina Garcia Gomez, Global Director of Corporate Affairs, AB InBev
  • Lisa Goldman-Van Nostrand Chief of Staff, Global Health Partnerships, Sumitomo Chemical
  • Hannah Green, Director of Corporate Responsibility, GSK
  • Shazeeb M Khairul Islam, Managing Director, YY Goshti.
  • Christina Tewes-Gradl, Challenge Director, Business Fights Poverty
  • Justin Wilson, Partner, European and UK Patent Attorney, Withers & Rogers LLP


  1. What examples are there of partnerships that are delivering rapid innovation to support those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 global crisis?

  2. How can partnerships be set up rapidly? Which models can be used? How can processes be fast-tracked?

  3. What risks and opportunities are there for partnerships to create rapid innovation both now and in the future?


This is a text-based discussion. There will be no video or audio. Please post your comments below. After the live session, this discussion will remain open, so please do continue to share your insights. To receive a free summary of this discussion afterwards, register here

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Would be the collaborative and integrated approach can be recommended? like public, private, and development sector partners collaboration and leveraging needed resources and expertise to address the current COVID19 pandemic crises.


**Hi all, **

**We will be starting at the top of the hour. We would love to hear from everyone. So please do login (top right) and hit ‘reply’. **

Thanks, Katie


Hi! Florencia here from League of Intrapreneurs. Looking foward to our discussion.


Hi all. I’m Darian Stibbe, Director of The Partnering Initiative. We’re an international NGO set up in 2003 with the mission to unleash the power of partnerships to deliver sustainable development. We were developing a programme on rapid partnering for climate change when COVID-19 hit, and now we’re adapting and ramping it up for COVID-19. It’s a pleasure to be here - look forward to the conversation!


Welcome to the live portion of our online discussion.

Firstly, I would love to invite you all to introduce yourselves.

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Hi everyone - I’m Lisa Goldman-Van Nostrand, and I’m delighted to join today’s discussion. I am Chief of Staff, Global Health Partnerships for Sumitomo Chemical – primarily focused on our longstanding malaria partnership initiatives – and also serve as a Board Advisor and a Co-chair of the Innovation & Access Workstream for the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.


I am Catalina Garcia, Global Director of Corporate Affairs at Anheuser-Busch InBev. I am from Colombia and received a degree in Industrial Engineering. I am currently based in New York City working at the AB InBev’s Global Head Quarters’ office. I have been in the company for 10 years and previously worked in several multinational companies in the consumer goods, mining, technology and communications sectors in country, region and global roles (SAB Miller, IBM, BHP Billiton, Llorente & Cuenca).

I lead the Global Corporate Affairs area with special focus in social impact, community affairs, social norms marketing and partnerships for five regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America), as part of AB InBev’s reputation and sustainability strategy.

Twitter: @catalinitaga


I am Christina. I lead Endeva. We enable inclusive systems innovations. We bring partners from different sectors together to co-create the systems of the future, i.e. economic systems that serve people and planet. I am also the Challenge Director for this topic, so very curious to hear your input on the questions. They will feed into a short “toolbox” paper that will be published shortly.


Hi everyone! I am Justin Wilson, a Partner in the Life Sciences & Chemistry team at Withers & Rogers LLP, a firm of UK and European Patent Attorneys. We work with companies/organisations to help them protect their innovations. Looking forward to today’s discussions!


Our first question today:

Q1. What examples are there of partnerships that are delivering rapid innovation to support those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 global crisis?

Hi everyone, great to be here virtually with you all today. I’m Hannah Green, I work in the Corporate Responsibility team at GSK, the global healthcare company.


Hi Everyone. My name’s Shazeeb, Managing Director of YY Ventures, a social business company created in collaboration with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank to support early stage social businesses that are fighting poverty, unemployment and carbon emission. Previously, I have led the establishment of Bangladesh’s first social business incubator, YY Goshti and was the founding CEO of YGAP in Bangladesh. I have 7 years’ experience of building social businesses’ on ground and wish to see a world where every youth will work their communities’ way out of poverty.


Hi, I am Henning Ringholz, Senior Executive for Small Foundation, a family foundation that supports rural-facing enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. We work with intermediaries such investment managers, finance and training providers and are seeking to identify models that combine social impact with financial sustainability. We are particularly interested in closer collaboration between large businesses and SMEs and have worked with Business Fights Poverty on this


Hi everyone! This is Aline from Globesight, a global development firm that advises leading organizations on strategy, establishing partnerships, and developing innovative models. Looking forward to the conversation.

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A1: In the life sciences sector, there are currently a very large number of companies/organisations collaborating in the fight against COVID-19, for example, in the manufacture of PPE or ventilators, the testing of existing antiviral drugs to see whether they may be effective against coronavirus, or in the development of a vaccine.

I am Florencia Estrade, Global Director for League of Intrapreneurs, an action learning community of innovators inside private and public institutions wit presence in over 15 countries. Our members are currently involved in projects and partnerships for emergency response as well as recovery for COVID-19.

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A few examples of the many collaborations are:

  • Oxford University and Kings College London - developing the OxVent ventilator.
  • GSK and Sanofi – a vaccine.
  • Apple and Google – contact tracing.
  • The UK Government and Dyson/Babcock – ventilators.
  • Abbvie and global health authorities – determining the effectiveness of HIV drugs in treating COVID-19.
  • Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies - partnering to develop neutralizing antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2.
  • Eli Lilly and AbCellera - have entered into an agreement to codevelop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
  • Shionogi and Micro Blood Science (MBS) - entered into a partnership to develop COVID-19 antibody-test kits.
  • Wellbeing Software and – AI analysis of chest X rays.

Most of the examples we found relate to the health care emergency. GSK is here.

We see a number of lightning speed collaborations to develop new ventilator models that serve patients better, are assembled from local material, or just hyperefficient to assemble. In South Africa, a National Ventilator Project has been set up to bring different players together to build ventilators from locally available material.

Apple and Google have joined up to enable the Bluetooth-based tracing apps across operating platforms.

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At AB InBev, as the world’s largest brewer, we believe that partnerships between governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society are fundamental to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Now more than ever that we all are living these unprecedented times caused by COVID-19 we need to take a collective action towards the solution of this global crisis.

We believe that bringing people together for a better world and our purpose has never been more relevant than today. We all have a role to play to support the most vulnerable during COVID-19 and work together to also help our people, our customers, our partners and communities.

Working in an agile way and delivering innovative solutions make a difference during these challenging times. Public-private partnerships are essential so it’s up to all of us to ensure collaboration is effective to tackle the problem.