cutting through Complexity

Do check out Bill Gates’s speech (transcript) at his Harvard Commencement last year. Just came across it. Starts off very humourously :-). Some of the topics he talks about are finding solutions to make the most of our caring and also how one can cut through completexity to find solutions. Quoting for my reference.

I’ve been waiting more than 30 years to say this: “Dad, I always told you I’d come back and get my degree.” I want to thank Harvard for this timely honor. I’ll be changing my job next year… and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.

But taking a serious look back… I do have one big regret. I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world—the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.

We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism—if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities.

The barrier to change is not too little caring; it is too much complexity. But complexity makes it hard to mark a path of action for everyone who cares—and that makes it hard for their caring to matter.

Cutting through complexity to find a solution runs through four predictable stages: determine a goal, find the highest-leverage approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach, and in the meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you already have—whether it’s something sophisticated, like a drug, or something simpler, like a bednet.

Pursuing that goal starts the four-step cycle again. This is the pattern. The crucial thing is to never stop thinking and working—and never do what we did with malaria and tuberculosis in the 20th century—which is to surrender to complexity and quit.

The final step—after seeing the problem and finding an approach—is to measure the impact of your work and share your successes and failures so that others learn from your efforts. But if you want to inspire people to participate, you have to show more than numbers; you have to convey the human impact of the work—so people can feel what saving a life means to the families affected.

Re-read these lines again with India in mind. With Telecom, Micro-finance, Health and Education in mind …

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Published by: vinu

My life - BREESY! :-) :D Beautiful Random Enjoyable Eventful Simple Yellow Places I have lived (chronological): (country) (- state) (-- city) India - (Orissa) -- Cuttack (2yrs) -- Bhubaneshwar (3yrs) - (Maharastra) -- Bombay/Mumbai (8 + 1 yrs) - (TamilNadu) -- Madras/Chennai (6 yrs) - (Pondicherry) (1 yr) United States - (California) -- Berkeley (3 yrs) Education : IIT Madras 02, UC Berkeley 05 Work Experience: Mechanical Engineer at FORD Motor Company, India; Management Trainee at Datamatics Technologies Ltd.; Wireless Programmer at TeleCommunication Systems Inc. Passions (currently as of Dec 2005): Family, Media (visual / audio), Mobile Systems, Internet, Design Interests: Music, Movies, Photography, Enjoying nature, Playing Violin, Graphics, Business / Entrepreneurship / Managments, Spirituality, Design, Technology, Mobile / Wireless

Categories biz, creativity, future, india, quotes, technology2 Comments

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