Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

To Solve The World’s Biggest Problems, Work from the Inside Out, Says the CEO of the Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had no Ebola program when last year's crisis broke out in West Africa. CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann explains how the foundation innovated on the fly to help fight the disease.

Sue Desmond-Hellmann: We do like technology and innovation at The Gates Foundation. But I have to say that when I hear technology or innovation, I often think about a widget or a new thing or an object. What I love about being at the foundation is our affinity for innovation comes in a lot of different flavors. It may come in product development; it may be a new vaccine or a new approach to how we store or keep cold vaccines or move vaccines around. It might be using phones to make sure that we have compliance or we can find people when they need to be vaccinated or their kids need some care. But one of my favorite forms of innovation here at the foundation are innovations in ways of operating.

Our passion is to solve problems. Let me give you an example. Last year when Ebola became a huge global issue because of the outbreak in West Africa, The Gates Foundation didn't have programs in those West African countries and we didn't have a program in Ebola. We had a relatively small emergency fund for things that often had been things like a flood or a tsunami or an earthquake. So I went to Bill and Melinda after many phone calls that me and my colleagues received about Ebola and suggested to Bill and Melinda that we should put up $50 million to try and help with Ebola. And Bill and Melinda graciously and rapidly agreed that we should do that. Well, having no programs and no work and seeing the enormity of the problem, we looked right away at a couple of things. One is how could we help? We could move money quickly, flexibly, and make sure that people on the ground in these West African countries could rapidly get the help they needed.

We could partner with organizations that ranged from the WHO to UNICEF to the Centers for Disease Control and work with these partners and the ministries locally in the countries that were involved to make sure that those supplies, that money got to where it needed to get. And so I think Ebola, in many ways, showed our foundation at its finest. Flexible, moving quickly, but knowing how we could play a role together with others, and every step along the way we were focused on what can we do? How could we use our resources, our intellect, our human capital to help fix this problem?

I think those are the kinds of collaborative innovations, how we communicate, regularity, teamwork that sometimes involve high-tech. We might use video conferencing or we might use a smartphone, but often are how human beings interact together in novel ways to get things done. And that's at least as important a way that we use innovation here.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had no Ebola program when last year's crisis broke out in West Africa. CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann explains how the foundation acted on the fly to help fight the disease. "Ebola," says Dr. Desmond-Hellmann, "in many ways showed our foundation at its finest." She credits innovation, though perhaps not the type you're thinking of. The Gates Foundation's innovative strengths are tied to operations, communications, and logistics. It's one thing to have the tools to solve a problem; it's a whole other to have the wherewithal to swiftly engineer and execute an action plan. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann explains that this is where the foundation excels.

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

Pixabay
Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
  • A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
Keep reading Show less

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
Coronavirus
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Leonardo da Vinci could visually flip between dimensions, neuroscientist claims

A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.

Christopher Tyler
Mind & Brain
  • A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
  • If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
  • The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
Keep reading Show less

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast