Voices on Society: The art and science of delivery

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The public-policy world is bursting with ideas to improve governance, alleviate poverty, cure disease, and develop human talent around the world. Governments and philanthropies spend billions of dollars. In recent years, an explosion of creativity in social entrepreneurship has spawned hundreds of start-up organizations with innovative business models directed at specific social problems. And yet millions remain hungry, unhealthy, poorly educated, and unemployed.

Some 1.3 billion people still subsist on less than a dollar a day, despite economic gains that have lifted hundreds of millions from poverty over the past quarter century. Clearly, we need to do a better job translating policies and programs into concrete, measurable results. In short, we need better delivery in the social sector. The current issue of Voices on Society addresses this basic problem.

In the essays that follow, McKinsey experts and authorities on international development present delivery models based on hard-won experience driving social change around the world. Our contributors include distinguished governance experts such as World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Nigerian health minister Muhammad Pate, and South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan. From the business world, we feature essays by leaders from The Coca-Cola Company, Hindustan Unilever, Roshan, and Royal DSM, all companies that have used their technology and supply-chain expertise to create successful delivery programs in the social sector.

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We are also proud to include contributions from civil-society leaders such as CARE president Helene Gayle, Witness executive director Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, and food activist Jamie Oliver, as well as emerging social entrepreneurs such as Khan Academy founder Salman Khan and One Acre Fund founder Andrew Youn.

Delivery is both an art and a science. We think the art is in the innovation and adaptability of the actors and different delivery models, while the science lies in replicating and scaling those models. The needs are great—but so are the opportunities and the resources that we can mobilize if we all work together.

Download the full issue, Voices on Society: The art and science of delivery (PDF–5.1MB).