Will We Still Invest in Ideas?

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Nov 19, 2020
by Salzburg Global Seminar
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Will We Still Invest in Ideas?

Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, speaks at third Designs on the Future webinar

“Will we still invest in ideas?” was the question put to Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, at the third Designs on the Future webinar.

Big ideas shape societies for decades. Often slow to mature, they influence political and financial systems and power paradigms across the world. Yet anti-intellectualism and culture wars are on the rise in today’s attention economy, with declining space for deliberative democracy, and COVID-19 highlighting deep structural fault lines.

Not all wisdom comes from the streets but these are now the most visible source of energy for change. Mainstream sectors seem afflicted by short-termism, institutional inertia, and the “tyranny of metrics.” Will philanthropic foundations envision new ways to partner and invest in ideas to shape a better world for all? Can we get real about the scale of financial and talent investment needed to secure human and planetary health?  

Find out how Kramer responded to the questions put to him by Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer at Salzburg Global Seminar and the live audience of Fellows and program participants around the globe in the full video of the webinar:

A New, Open Initiative 

Designs on the Future is a new, open initiative inspired by Salzburg Global’s radical roots and the unrivalled diversity of our Fellowship. Following in that tradition, this webinar also featured several Fellows posing questions to Kramer, including several Fellows of the current program in the Philanthropy and Social Investment series, Philanthropy, Inequality and Leading Together Through Crisis, as well as those from the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators and the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum.

This webinar was the third in the Designs on the Future series, which was launched with the discussion Has Democracy Become a Spectator Sport? with Salzburg Global Fellows, US politician and voters’ rights advocate Stacey Abrams and journalist and writer Will Dobson, whose writing includes the book, The Dictator's Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy

The second webinar saw Salzburg Global Fellow La June Montgomery Tabron, CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, and join Kirk Wickman, president of alternative investment firm Angelo Gordon & Co in the discussion, How Can Leaders Support Racial Healing?

All webinars are available to rewatch and share on the Designs on the Future website: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/dotf  

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