"If we do not deeply understand the communities we are trying to serve, we cannot design causes for impact." -- IDEA CEO Tim Brown
This is the fifth consecutive CGI that Cause Global has attended; the crowd at the New York Sheraton Hotel in the heart of midtown Manhattan is, once again, a testament to Clinton's continuing clout on the world stage, with appearances scheduled for Tuesday by both Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, the new leaders of Egypt and Libya (attending amid the opening of this year's United Nations' General Assembly across town], and a blue-chip roster of bold-faced names from the worlds of media, business, policy think tanks and entertainment, including wellbeing guru Deepak Chopra, Actors Michael Douglas, Forrest Whitaker and Geena Davis, Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown, fashion designer Donna Karan, Council on Foreign Relations Co-chair and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Barbra Streisand, Loew's Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch, and philanthropist Eli Broad.
* World Bank President Jim Yong Kim acknowledged that multilateral institutions, including his own, "are not very good nor effective at capturing knowledge of what works and spreading it to others." Within the multilateral system, he said, "there are so many good examples of what works, yet we don't capture them, codify them, or duplicate them." He also said that global institutions have been "very bad at pulling fragile states out of instability. We do know that one way to do that is to create jobs. What do we know about creating jobs in fragile environments? Well, the folks in Mozambique and Rwanda have done pretty well at it. What are the lessons? The World Bank is filled with master practioners but we haven't been systematic about capturing that knowledge and spreading it effectively." He said his precedessor, James Wolfensohn, often talked about transforming the World Bank into a 'knowledge bank.' "But what does that mean?" Kim asked. "Does it mean that we send everyone our studies and our reports? Instead, we need to turn the World Bank into a solutions bank, and develop a science of delivery and execution around social goals. Solutions in one place may not work in another, but if you have a commitment to continously learn from what people are doing, there is a possibility we can contribute to stability everywhere."
* IDEO CEO Tim Brown spoke with Fast Company editor Linda Tischler, telling her that global changemakers need to learn about local culture and local markets before they can be effective scaling their designs for change, whether for new products or new social problem-solving. "If we do not deeply understand the communities we are trying to serve, we cannot design causes for impact," he said. "You need to be on the ground and to understand the local cultures. You have to be able to connect to the people for whom your designs are meant to serve."
* During a private dinner panel hosted by 10,000 Women, the Goldman Sachs-backed women's empowerment initiative, Liberian business owner Kabeh Sumbo told invitees that "if you train one woman like the 10,000 Women trained me, you train a nation." The panel, moderated by Newsweek and The Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown, was joined by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Kristof said there is mounting evidence that small businesses run by women can dramatically influence local communities and "lift nations" over time. But Sirleaf acknowledged that not every woman who wants to start a company will be a success. "Kabeh is an exception," Sirleaf acknowledged. Her administration has given Sumbo 100 acres of farmland to help her grow her palm-oil business, which Sumbo began with one container of olive oil and a microfinance loan. Sirleaf told Sumbo Sunday night, "Kabeh, your 100 acres of land awaits you. I have chosen to put it in my own county so I will be able to monitor you first-hand."
The conference continues through Tuesday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to address CGI Monday morning.
Watch this space for continuing highlights.
-- Marcia Stepanek
[Photographs courtesy CGI and CauseGlobal staff]