gates23Bill Gates wants to make a bigger impact.

Due to its 30 billion dollar birthright, most people have already heard of the Gates Foundation.  The foundation is one of the largest in the world, and is making huge progress in saving literally millions of lives through their work on preventing and treating malaria. However, perhaps one of the biggest potential areas of influence from the Gates Foundation is teaching everyone else how to solve the world’s problems.

Gates has assembled some really really world class people in his organization. Although the foundation started off as inspired but clueless as any other, working from an office over top a pizza place, the foundation is taking a page from the business world in solving problems. There are many fads and entries into “buzz-word bingo” in the business strategy world, but one idea with real substance is evidence-based management.  This approach to strategy and business execution is to focus most of an organizations efforts into things that can be measured, counted, and proven to work.  General Electric is perhaps the most successful firm to focus on such efforts, but the meticulous attention to “show me the results” measurement and accountability has great promise to solve the world’s problems.  The Gates Foundation articulates their approach to giving here. I’ll sum it up for you:  ‘show me the results.’

It is this simple approach to philanthropy through which Gates and company aim to make a bigger impact.  They have a lot of money.  Still, they can’t save the world.  However, if they can show people how to use key business principles to better attack the world’s problems, who knows how big of an impact they can make.

Warren Buffett has been wildly successful for doing things simply.  He focuses on basic criteria, using his extensive experience to just support basic wisdom about value based investing.  He has decided to bet his fortune on the Gates Foundation, to the tune of another 30 or so billion.  I’ll bet he knows what he is doing.