Annual Letter

Child Deaths Will Go Down

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IMG_0294The opening headline in this year’s Annual Letter from Bill and Melinda Gates outlines their reasons for betting there will be greater progress in reducing child deaths (improving child survival) in the next 15 years than was the case in the last 25 years.

It is a well presented argument, and you can read it here.

This is not just going to happen with an extra sprinkle of fairy dust. As I write this, thousands upon thousands of people are working in difficult conditions in unheard-of, remote locations to help make this a reality: to improve the delivery of child survival.

This blog is about a journey called the 10 City Bridge Run which started by asking a question: “what can we practically do to make a difference?” That question matured to become “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?” The question will be addressed through a conversation unfolding next month involving a series of Design Forum beginning in Osaka.

You can get involved, and it is free! So why not sign up. You don’t need to be in Osaka. There is also a free, online course to provide an introduction to Design Thinking which has been offered by Acumen Fund/IDEO which will help to frame this question. Participation is free, and you can get involved without any qualification. So why don’t you?

It is great as we prepare to engage with this question about child survival to have a document which so readily frames the issue for us. Please take a read of the first few pages of the Gates Annual Letter.

We are really going to have this conversation. And we intend to have impact. The question is, will you join us?

Sign up for the Introduction to Design Thinking here.

Sign up for the Osaka Design Forum here.

Betting On The Future

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imageBill and Melinda Gates just released their annual letter for 2015. It is framed around looking at the likelihood of massive progress across the next 15 years. The preamble to the letter begins:

“Fifteen years ago, Bill and Melinda made a similar bet. They started their foundation in 2000 with the idea that by backing innovative work in health and education, they could help dramatically reduce inequity. Progress so far has been very exciting—so exciting that they are doubling down on the bet made 15 years ago, and picking ambitious goals for what’s possible 15 years from now.”

I have yet to read through the full document, and here is a link so you can review it yourself.

While I was in Glasgow, I made a short video for Bill and Melinda Gates asking for their advice of five books that might be instructive to framing the issue about child survival. I have yet to hear back from them, and it remains a possibility that I won’t hear from them. They must get a zillion requests from everyone who wants something, and consequently have a fierce protection through some pretty robust gatekeepers.

Remember though that this pursuit of a series of Design Forum is neither hanging on whether we hear back from the Gates’. Of course, it would be great if that were the case to hear from them, and it remains my intent to keep pursuing their engagement on some level.

But just for a moment, let’s assume that for whatever reason we don’t get any response from Bill and Melinda. What should we do then? Well, we will have to find the answers we want through our own networks which is the point of this conversation.

Remaining hopeful of their advice about a handful of books to read, but being pragmatic of the likelihood of this, here is what I suggest: we take the framing of the Annual Letter for 2015 as guidance to help frame the Design Forum. What might be possible to achieve in the next 15 years. It is a 2030 vision.