“This is a time of great problems. Some new and some old, and a time for novel solutions. It's a time for social entrepreneurs”
A new book, The Art and Science of Delivery, was published in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Skoll World Forum. “De-liv-er-y,” the book’s cover explains, “is a daunting challenge in the social sector, with many initiatives failing because of poor implementation.”
I believe that our model is only one way to empower people on a path out of poverty through digital work. Indeed, we’re continually working to strengthen our approach. However, I’m convinced that using digital work as a means to bring people out of poverty is not just about providing work opportunities for the poor.
Many outcomes require a number of government agencies to work together toward a common goal. This is notoriously difficult to pull off in a world of silos, disparate agendas, and competition for funding. Governments typically respond by setting up committees or task forces that tend to represent their own interests. Little progress is made in meetings, and even less between them. What can be done?
The problems facing our world are so large that they demand disruptive thinking. We don't have time to think in incremental terms. It's time to challenge the status quo, and dare to imagine what we can do. Click here to watch the video from Skoll World Forum 2013!
We have reached two related conclusions at Royal DSM, a life-sciences and materials-sciences company with annual revenues of about €10 billion (approximately $13 billion). First, we want to help end hidden hunger, an entirely solvable problem. Second, we understand that no single organization can achieve this goal by itself.
As the leaders of a fast-growing, Silicon Valley-based technology company, SanDisk, and a fast-growing Boston-based education non-profit, Citizen Schools, we are excited to join at the White House today with executives from Cisco, Cognizant, and other technology companies and education non-profits to launch US2020 – a bold effort to mobilize one million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020.
We live in the age of the hyperefficient supply chain. Using advanced technology and worldwide logistical networks, multinational companies have perfected the art of shipping parts and finished products to all corners of the globe, quickly and profitably. So why does the social sector still suffer from a delivery problem?
While in office I quickly learned that if my government was going to deliver, I first had to change the system of government itself. This is why I set up the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) to coordinate, manage, and monitor activity on our priorities across government.
The hallmark of delivery excellence is consistency. Companies achieve this through a relentless focus on the details of execution, along with a capacity to adapt as conditions change. Development agencies need to learn from the seriousness with which the most successful private companies have tackled delivery.
If successful delivery is so simple, why is it hard to replicate? Those that fail tend to see delivery as a passing management fad. They don’t make the commitment to change facts on the ground. They don’t make the routines work. They might listen to “experts” who use the buzzwords and promote the form of a delivery unit, but these people generally don’t understand the philosophy or discipline on which success depends.