What does it take to be a change-maker on a global scale? By actively seeking to solve problems rather than making incremental improvements, according to Rajiv Shah, MD (M’02, W’05), a Penn alum and the President of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Shah’s new book Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens focuses on how to make large-scale change happen and what it takes to be a change-maker on a global scale. Kat Rosqueta, founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) at Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2), spoke with Shah about his insights on taking significant risks and his experiences with the Obama administration and Gates Foundation
Shah discussed how taking risks is vital to making meaningful change. He explained how “big bets are about having bold aspirations for lifting up those who are vulnerable,” which requires “betting on yourself.” While taking large bets on yourself is easier for some than others, Shah feels everyone has experiences in life when they took a big bet on themselves and “can look back on those experiences and hopefully be proud of the fact that [it] helped nurture a different kind of future.” Big bets can garner support, collaborations, and fresh ideas from key players who might otherwise not engage, thus generating significant impact.