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  • One of my favorite parts

  • about my job at the Gates Foundation

  • is that I get to travel to the developing world,

  • and I do that quite regularly.

  • And when I meet the mothers

  • in so many of these remote places,

  • I'm really struck by the things

  • that we have in common.

  • They want what we want for our children

  • and that is for their children to grow up successful,

  • to be healthy, and to have a successful life.

  • But I also see lots of poverty,

  • and it's quite jarring,

  • both in the scale and the scope of it.

  • My first trip in India, I was in a person's home

  • where they had dirt floors, no running water,

  • no electricity,

  • and that's really what I see all over the world.

  • So in short, I'm startled by all the things

  • that they don't have.

  • But I am surprised by one thing that they do have:

  • Coca-Cola.

  • Coke is everywhere.

  • In fact, when I travel to the developing world,

  • Coke feels ubiquitous.

  • And so when I come back from these trips,

  • and I'm thinking about development,

  • and I'm flying home and I'm thinking,

  • "We're trying to deliver condoms to people or vaccinations,"

  • you know, Coke's success kind of stops and makes you wonder:

  • how is it that they can get Coke

  • to these far-flung places?

  • If they can do that,

  • why can't governments and NGOs do the same thing?

  • And I'm not the first person to ask this question.

  • But I think, as a community,

  • we still have a lot to learn.

  • It's staggering, if you think about Coca-Cola.

  • They sell 1.5 billion servings

  • every single day.

  • That's like every man, woman and child on the planet

  • having a serving of Coke every week.

  • So why does this matter?

  • Well, if we're going to speed up the progress

  • and go even faster

  • on the set of Millennium Development Goals that we're set as a world,

  • we need to learn from the innovators,

  • and those innovators

  • come from every single sector.

  • I feel that, if we can understand

  • what makes something like Coca-Cola ubiquitous,

  • we can apply those lessons then for the public good.

  • Coke's success is relevant,

  • because if we can analyze it, learn from it,

  • then we can save lives.

  • So that's why I took a bit of time to study Coke.

  • And I think there are really three things

  • we can take away from Coca-Cola.

  • They take real-time data

  • and immediately feed it back into the product.

  • They tap into local entrepreneurial talent,

  • and they do incredible marketing.

  • So let's start with the data.

  • Now Coke has a very clear bottom line --

  • they report to a set of shareholders, they have to turn a profit.

  • So they take the data,

  • and they use it to measure progress.

  • They have this very continuous feedback loop.

  • They learn something, they put it back into the product,

  • they put it back into the market.

  • They have a whole team called "Knowledge and Insight."

  • It's a lot like other consumer companies.

  • So if you're running Namibia for Coca-Cola,

  • and you have a 107 constituencies,

  • you know where every can versus bottle

  • of Sprite, Fanta or Coke was sold,

  • whether it was a corner store,

  • a supermarket or a pushcart.

  • So if sales start to drop,

  • then the person can identify the problem

  • and address the issue.

  • Let's contrast that for a minute to development.

  • In development, the evaluation comes

  • at the very end of the project.

  • I've sat in a lot of those meetings,

  • and by then,

  • it is way too late to use the data.

  • I had somebody from an NGO

  • once describe it to me as bowling in the dark.

  • They said, "You roll the ball, you hear some pins go down.

  • It's dark, you can't see which one goes down until the lights come on,

  • and then you an see your impact."

  • Real-time data

  • turns on the lights.

  • So what's the second thing that Coke's good at?

  • They're good at tapping into

  • that local entrepreneurial talent.

  • Coke's been in Africa since 1928,

  • but most of the time they couldn't reach the distant markets,

  • because they had a system that was a lot like in the developed world,

  • which was a large truck rolling down the street.

  • And in Africa, the remote places,

  • it's hard to find a good road.

  • But Coke noticed something --

  • they noticed that local people were taking the product, buying it in bulk

  • and then reselling it in these hard-to-reach places.

  • And so they took a bit of time to learn about that.

  • And they decided in 1990

  • that they wanted to start training the local entrepreneurs,

  • giving them small loans.

  • They set them up as what they called micro-distribution centers,

  • and those local entrepreneurs then hire sales people,

  • who go out with bicycles and pushcarts and wheelbarrows

  • to sell the product.

  • There are now some 3,000 of these centers

  • employing about 15,000 people in Africa.

  • In Tanzania and Uganda,

  • they represent 90 percent

  • of Coke's sales.

  • Let's look at the development side.

  • What is it that governments and NGOs

  • can learn from Coke?

  • Governments and NGOs

  • need to tap into that local entrepreneurial talent as well,

  • because the locals know how to reach

  • the very hard-to-serve places, their neighbors,

  • and they know what motivates them to make change.

  • I think a great example of this

  • is Ethiopia's new health extension program.

  • The government noticed in Ethiopia

  • that many of the people were so far away from a health clinic,

  • they were over a day's travel away from a health clinic.

  • So if you're in an emergency situation -- or if you're a mom about to deliver a baby --

  • forget it, to get to the health care center.

  • They decided that wasn't good enough,

  • so they went to India and studied the Indian state of Kerala

  • that also had a system like this,

  • and they adapted it for Ethiopia.

  • And in 2003, the government of Ethiopia

  • started this new system in their own country.

  • They trained 35,000 health extension workers

  • to deliver care directly to the people.

  • In just five years,

  • their ratio went from one worker for every 30,000 people

  • to one worker for every 2,500 people.

  • Now, think about

  • how this can change people's lives.

  • Health extension workers can help with so many things,

  • whether it's family planning, prenatal care,

  • immunizations for the children,

  • or advising the woman to get to the facility on time

  • for an on-time delivery.

  • That is having real impact

  • in a country like Ethiopia,

  • and it's why you see their child mortality numbers

  • coming down 25 percent

  • from 2000 to 2008.

  • In Ethiopia, there are hundreds of thousands of children living

  • because of this health extension worker program.

  • So what's the next step for Ethiopia?

  • Well, they're already starting talk about this.

  • They're starting to talk about, "How do you have the health community workers

  • generate their own ideas?

  • How do you incent them based on the impact that they're getting

  • out in those remote villages?"

  • That's how you tap into local entrepreneurial talent

  • and you unlock people's potential.

  • The third component of Coke's success

  • is marketing.

  • Ultimately, Coke's success

  • depends on one crucial fact

  • and that is that people want

  • a Coca-Cola.

  • Now the reason these micro-entrepreneurs

  • can sell or make a profit

  • is they have to sell every single bottle in their pushcart or their wheelbarrow.

  • So, they rely on Coca-Cola