Weekend Briefing No. 20

Welcome to the weekend!


U-S-A! U-S-A! So, this week America just found out that we had a soccer team… and we’re decent. I love that world cup fever has finally hit our shores. With a heart-breaking tie to Portugal on Sunday and a loss to Germany on Thursday, we somehow advance to the next round. In case you missed it, here’s our new chant I believe that we will win! You may want to practice it for the upcoming game.




How did the private sector help USAID save $2.9 Billion? USAID chief Rajiv Shah recently took an unusual step, he assembled a group of n external panel that included corporate executives and millionaire philanthropists including Ray Chambers and Jeffrey Walker to review every dollar the agency spent and hunt for inefficiencies. The team started out by reviewing 60 large contracts and found that some of them had functions that could be consolidated, such as duplicate supply chains for malaria drugs and vaccines. The corporate world’s most valuable asset is its quantitative approach to assessing the impact of initiatives. Read more on this smart public-private cooperation in this Washington Post article.Thanks to Blair Miller for the tip on this story.



Meet the Fellows. This week Echoing Green & Acumen just announced their latest class of Fellows. Both of these fellowships are two of the most prestigious and highly competitive fellowships in the social innovation sector. A special congratulations Echoing Green Fellows and friends Tanyella Evans of Library For All & Toni Maraviglia of Enza Education. See who made the cut at Echoing Green & Acumen. Will you be on this list next year?



Human life extension will rapidly increase over the next two decades. Or so say the futurists! Speaking at Google’s annual I/O conference. Ray Kurtzweil (futurist and artificial intelligence expert) predicts that our ability to improve human health is beginning to move up an “exponential” growth curve, similar to the law of accelerating returns that governs the information technology – Moore’s Law. The capacity to sequence DNA, which is dropping rapidly in cost and ease, is the most obvious example. It took about seven years to sequence 1% of the first human genome, now, just hours. Watch his entire Google I/O talk.



Your new Chief Resiliency Officer. The Rockefeller Foundation sees a world that will become increasingly urbanized and volatile. In order to help cities plan for that world, they have funded Chief Resiliency Officers in 32 cities across the globe from Bangkok to Bristol. They are tasked with disaster prevention and response planning from threats including gang violence, earthquakes, flooding, fire & economic inequality. Read more about these CRO’s in this Fast Companyarticle.



This interactive map visualizes the significant drop in childhood mortality. We hear so much bad news in the international aid world, I thought we deserved to see some progress! If the global childhood mortality rate had remained stuck in 1990, 90 million more children would have been dead today. This map from the Pulizer Center allows you to see the drop around the world. Check it our HERE. This is a great example of how strong design and user experience can effectively communicate impact.




Having Game of Thrones Withdrawals?  Me too. GoT is over for this year. But, if you want to keep the Spirit of the Seven Kingdoms alive, here are a couple treats to get you through the off season. First, somebody brilliant made a GoT version of the hilarious game Cards Against Humanity called Cards Against the Realm. And, if you’re a bit nostalgic for the days of the 80’s Sitcoms, you may want to check out this 80’s GoT opening segment.


I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have any story ideas, questions or just want to say hi, shoot me an email at [email protected]. If you have friends that would like the WEEKEND BRIEFING, please forward it along. They can sign up for free HERE. Follow me on twitter for updates throughout the week.


Have a restful & thoughtful weekend.