making hope visible
Michael Fairbanks of The Seven Fund told us earlier that with one question, he can predict the economic prosperity of a nation for years to come. That question is “Do you believe in competition?”
Unfortunately, the global health contingent, and subsequently, this conference, is being driven by nonprofits and by medical professionals. Those groups are necessary and much-appreciated - we need people focused on policy, on aid, on one-on-one patient care. But the real innovation, the sustainable developments that will change a country, come from industry. They come from the translation of the research into practical products.
Out of 2,200 attendees, the vast majority are medical students, undergrads, and nonprofit managers. But, industry and entrepreneurship are taking a stand. There are numerous examples of for-profit enterprises who are seeking to be socially responsible in their mission, and industry posing smarter questions in how to make our models work for more people in the world.
The game has changed. It’s no longer “Is there a fortune at the base of the pyramid?” The question has been fundamentally reframed, if even by a small group of people, to ask, “How can we create a fortune with the base of the pyramid?” Corporate social responsibility is no longer adequate, and industry is slowly but surely, rising to the challenge.
We don’t have the answers yet. We don’t know exactly where to take it. But the questions we’re asking are making hope visible this weekend.