Q2: Intervention & Empowerment

“Farming issues rarely make the news.”

~ Bill Gates, 2012 Annual Letter

Lending a strong voice of attention to some of the world’s most crucial issues of our era, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a interesting case study on strategy. Bringing attention to global development, global health & domestic concerns, the newly opened vistor center depicts the varied perspectives and processes that compile to create the partnerships the Gates Foundation funds.

While many ways the funds are implemented are contentious to varying degrees, spotlights granted on unspoken realities such as these are key, coming from the world’s largest private foundation. The ingenuity unleashed and innovation catalyzed is as diverse as its grantees but the driving principles and mission of its founders speaks clearly to the strategic goals they have set sights on partnering to accomplish.

The vistor center space involves not only facts and figures but the opportunity to express individual options and cultivate creativity. Various interactive exhibits invite participants to chime in with thoughts on issues or responses to action being taken. The last room of the gallery is an innovation incubator, posing questions, challenges and platforms for live prototyping. It is a technologically beautiful smorgasbord already teeming with user generated uniqueness. The question remains as to how the foundation will incorporate this content into its operations  – the official answer is that it is being achieved. The power of asking the questions and sparking conversations will hopefully be effective in and of themselves for now, because yes:

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4 responses

  1. You always have such great images in your posts, Amanda.

    The Gates Foundation approach to giving (Develop Strategy, Make Grants, Measure Progress, Adjust Strategy, [repeat]) reminds me of the iterative process we’re going through with our business model canvases and conversations around risk assessment.

    I take it that you went to the new visitor center. What was your purpose in going? What would you do differently if you were organizing the center?

    Clearly, the Gates Foundation has no specifics to share about how they will implement the information garnered at the center. Why do you think this is? Perhaps they do not know how yet? Maybe they are not ready to share details (don’t want to make promises they can’t keep)? Other reasons?

    How would you implement the information if it were up to you?

  2. Beautifully designed post! The quality of the images is outstanding and draws me in immediately. I’m excited to explore the visitor center. What an innovative model, inviting people in to question, prototype, puzzle, and imagine a different future. Your thoughtful post provides food for my own team project!

  3. Great use of images. In the first quote, “Farming issues rarely make the news”. Would be keen to hear more on that statement coming from a FUH member. Did the Gates letter elaborate on why and how to change that?

    Thanks for pointing out the iterative process the foundation goes through. Its easy to criticize the Gates foundation as not being perfect. AND if I’ve learned anything this year, its that there is no perfect, just iterations towards the ideal…

  4. Thank you for taking us on a virtual tour of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I find it fascinating that, at long last, a non-profit has opened up their arms to their donors asking them what they would like to see done with their money. So many people give to great causes who just don’t know how to handle the funds properly. Kudos to them for being transparent in their operations.

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