Nonprofit Highlight #1 (Christensen Institute)
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
This is the first in a series of highlights of who we consider to be the nonprofits/research organizations most committed to innovating the social sectors of healthcare and education. As we, at ABmR, believe that integration in these social sectors increases the impact of the organizations dedicated to making a difference, we want to highlight, acknowledge, and show our respect to those nonprofits from which we, personally, find inspiration. The first nonprofit we'd like to give a shoutout to is the Christensen Institute, named after Harvard business professor, Clayton M. Christensen. The Christensen Institute functions as a nonpartisan think tank devoted to initiating innovation in the industries most needing of it (such as our current healthcare and education systems). The research done by this organization focuses primarily on the teaching of “theory” and, more specifically, on the “disruptive innovation” theory. This idea is described in this lecture given by Mr. Christensen on how to improve healthcare in such a way that it's higher quality at a lesser cost: Clayton Christensen says that, in a meeting with Intel co-founder and CEO Andy Grove, Grove insisted that Christensen tell him why Christensen's latest article had predicted the demise of Intel. The Harvard professor then proceeds to tell Grove, not how Intel was doomed to fail, but how the theory predicted Intel's relation with smaller technological companies would end. In other words, Christensen taught Grove how to think about the situation at hand, instead of what to think or what to do. And this is the attitude that the Christensen Institute seeks to encapsulate—and it's the attitude that ABmR seeks to adopt. The “disruptive theory” can most succinctly be explained by in this article on “catalytic innovations”, which is, according to Christensen, a subset of disruptive innovations. To paraphrase, “Catalytic innovations:
1. Create systemic social change through scaling and replication
2. Meet a need that is either overserved (because the existing solution is more complex than people require) or not served at all
3. Offer products and services that are simpler and less costly than existing alternatives, but users consider them to be good enough
4. Generate resources, such as donations, grants, volunteer manpower, or intellectual capital in ways unattractive to competitors
5. Are often ignored, disparaged, or even encouraged by existing players for whom the business model is unprofitable” ABmR currently sees the healthcare system, the education system, as well as the nonprofit sector in need of this innovation; and we have set our eyes on meeting these criterium such that we can have the largest impact possible and make the biggest difference. We highly encourage you to read some of their articles on Healthcare, Higher Education, Global Prosperity, and Emerging Research. One such article that affected us the most is this article by Julia Freeland Fisher on the importance of networking (social capital) and its relation with other types of capital (financial and human) most crucial to maximizing opportunity. Like many nonprofits seeking to aid the higher education social sector we do have financial aid for our beneficiaries. But our goal at ABmR has been to create a community (integration is key to an impactful change). Our goal has been to increase the social capital of those outside the beneficiaries of grants, to those who are admirable enough to donate to a cause in which they've placed their trust. Through our Patreon we seek to increase the social capital of those who donate by getting them in contact with the research scientists of the labs with which we have relations; and, hopefully, prior to that, we hope to increase our donors' human capital by providing them with a simple and educational explanation of what research is being done to understand and cure those diseases we currently (due to our, as humans, ignorance) fear the most.