Designing for Impact

Oct12012

This was my third year attending the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting (CGI). It seems to get better every year. Between the world leaders, superstar nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, foundations and corporations, former President Clinton has created a movement that is changing the world in sustainable ways.  At my first meeting, I was learning about environmental philanthropy and investigating potential partners.  Today it is all about our commitment to action, the amazing results of our first CGI commitment, and the announcement of our second. In the video below I discuss our commitment in a bit more detail.

Our announced commitment with Santa Clara University’s Center of Science, Technology and Society (CSTS) is part of our continued effort to help social entrepreneurs improve their ability to scale (grow) their business and create significantly more impact. It is a nice fit with this year’s CGI theme of “Designing for Impact” since our commitment enables CSTS to provide business model and organizational capacity training, as well as expert mentoring, to 18 social entrepreneurs in India and China over the next three years.

The Clinton Global Initiative 2012 Annual Meeting agenda focused on creating dignity for all people and removing barriers to opportunity for girls and women. Powerful presentations from speakers reinforced this message. Katie Stagliano, the 14 year old winner of the Clinton Global Citizen Award, captured our hearts. As a third grader Katie created a vegetable garden and donated all proceeds to the local soup kitchen and food bank. Today, Katie’s Krops includes 51 kid-run vegetable gardens in 21 states, producing thousands of meals for those in need.

Another, Jack Andraka, a 15 year old high school student who is currently a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, has developed a paper sensor for the early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer. Today, only 2% of pancreatic cancers are found early enough to be curable. His invention takes 5 minutes to run the test, costs three cents to produce, and has higher accuracy than other tests.  Talk about designing a product for impact!

The star power was amazing throughout the three days. Queen Rania of Jordan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (used humor well in a clearly biased crowd), and President Barack Obama. But the showstopper had to be Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi who closed the session expressing desire for a global governance model that would let all people live free and enable sustainable development.  President Morsi was quite lengthy in his answers in Arabic to President Clinton’s questions. He asked for patience to enable his country to rid the corruption that is pervasive and to establish a clear plan for a path forward. He did not answer the question directly to creating equality for women in Egypt. He simply said all Egyptians are equal, but took five minutes to explain what he meant by that. Of note, he is proud to acknowledge his time in the U.S. as a professor in California and his post-graduate degree in materials science from the University of Southern California. “Go Trojans!” he said.

In all, many commitments were made to improve people’s lives around the world through organizational capacity building, improved renewable energy installations, better distribution of medicine, reduction in human trafficking, improved water supply, and creating more opportunity for women-owned businesses. Just another day at the office for Bill Clinton.