Gem of the day

For the two billion people without access to healthcare, growing interest from the world's pharmaceutical companies is potentially good news.

Stanford's Social Innovation Review, however, has a short and sweet answer to the logical resulting question of how these companies might reach the next two billion - and it's one that won't sound familiar on business terms:

"Money alone is not an easy route to access innovation and new markets. A more engaged, partnership-based approach is required."


Another non-environmental wonder

The UN as a good value investment? Businessweek puts some key numbers into helpful context, suggesting that the multilateral organisation ambassador John Bolton once quipped 'wouldn't make a bit of difference...if it lost 10 stories' off of its 38-story New York HQ, is actually an 'immense bargain'.

The UN operates on $2.6 billion in funds per year - not much compared to, say, the estimated annual cost of air-conditioning for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20 billion. And not much at all given what we rely on the UN for - keeping the global peace, supporting development and providing glue to bond our dysfunctional economies.

Might be a sound idea to keep those 10 stories after all.


Gem of the day

Is the US the last Western country on earth to still equate philanthropy with impact? The results of the latest 'Philanthropy Top 50' list would seem to suggest so - $7.7 billion donated in 2012.

As the new no. 1 on the list, Mark Zuckerberg could do better to join up the oft-repeated purpose of Facebook and the intention behind his personal charitable giving. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "'Mark is unapologetic about his idealism. He always said Facebook was started not just to be a company, but to fulfill a vision of connecting the world.'"


Gem of the day

Who says 'House of Cards' is the only place to watch ruthless political skill trump expertise, ethics and integrity?

Try economist Paul Collier's assessment of the firm B.G.S.R.'s investment in African development:

"Paul Collier, however, takes a dim view of businessmen like Steinmetz, who have secured the rights to natural resources that they may not actually have the expertise to develop. 'Their technical competence is a social-network map,' Collier said. 'Who has the power to make the decision? Who can I reach?’ They know how to get a contract—that is their skill.'"