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Big Bets with Rajiv Shah

“Too often when we tackle the biggest subjects of our time, we get stuck in what I call the aspiration trap. (…) A big bet… is really an effort to embrace a big goal to find fresh innovative solutions that could help us actually solve those problems.”

In his new book, Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens, Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation recounts his experiences and lessons learned over decades of effecting large-scale social change. He shares how addressing humanity’s thorniest challenges requires a big bets mindset – pushing to solve, rather than merely improve, problems; and going for “big enough”, rather than settling for “good enough”.

Prior to his current role, Shah was the Administrator of USAID and a Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He successfully led many transformative change efforts around the globe – including advancing the immunization of children, fighting against hunger and energy poverty, and providing relief for humanitarian disasters.

Together with Martin Reeves, Chairman of BCG Henderson Institute, Shah discusses insights from his new book, including a mindset he sees crucial to making change possible, the need for public-private partnerships, and the role of businesses in addressing social and environmental issues. The conversation also touches on the importance of continuous experimentation, the involvement of younger leaders in change projects, and the challenges of planning in complex and unpredictable situations.

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