Love him or hate him. But, you can’t ignore him. I’m talking about Gates … Bill Gates.
Bill Gates is a quintessential Red Ocean Disruptor. First, he disrupted the Red Ocean industry of software and computers while creating a virtually uncontested market space (“monopoly”). And in the process, Gates became the richest man in the United States and arguably, the world. Now, Gates wants to tackle the world’s biggest problems and he is asking the rest of the world to join him. Bill Gates wants to help reduce world poverty and disease as well as improve education especially in America. As Gates pursues his post-Microsoft dreams, he is set to disrupt the Red Ocean of philanthropy. He refers to the emerging Blue Ocean as “Catalytic Philanthropy.”
In this month’s WIRED magazine, Gates writes an article, “Here’s my Plan to Improve Our World – And How You Can Help.” Gates starts the article with an “Innovation Proclamation” as follows:
That Every Life is Valuable.
That We Can Make Things Better.
That Innovation is the Key to a Bright Future.
That We’re Just Getting Started.”
I too believe in the above Innovation Proclamation. I believe that innovation can systematically be discovered, learned, and taught. I believe that we are all born with the capacity to solve problems and innovate. I believe that Value Innovation or Red Ocean Disruption is the main driver of individual, national, and global prosperity.
In the WIRED article, Gates request for help is directed at technology companies and individuals. Nevertheless, everyone is invited to help bring to life innovations especially those that help the poor in developing countries. WIRED magazine recently responded to Gates’ request to help by inviting world-class design firms to develop prototypes for 4 world-changing products dreamed up by Bill Gates. I call the program “The 4 Lean Startup Challenges of Bill Gates” because of the high uncertainty and risk in discovering a scalable business models for such projects. The participating design firms are Artefact, New Deal Design, Frog Design, and Fuse Project.
The respective “Lean Startup Challenge” for each firm is as follows:
Challenge 1: Rapidly discover and solve problems in obtaining ELECTRICITY in developing countries
Challenge 2: Rapidly discover and solve problems in obtaining REAL-TIME INTELLIGENCE ON CROPS in developing countries
Challenge 3: Rapidly discover and solve problems in keeping NEWBORNS HEALTHY in developing countries
Challenge 4: Rapidly discover and solve problems in diagnosing a PERSON’S HEALTH in developing countries
Each invited design firm has now produced a full-blown prototype for each challenge:
#1) Artefact’s Juice Box
#2) New Deal Design’s Yield
#3) Frog’s Healthy Baby Kit
#4) Fuse Project’s Kernel.