I enjoyed reading the interview with James Chen (December 2018). James’ steadfast approach to philanthropy, leveraging deep domain expertise to catalyse social impacts is worth emulating by those who seek to do good outside of their home environments. His works over the past decade are great examples of bridging between local know-how and global expertise to scale social innovations. They also show the critical role of working with local champions to drive on-the-ground execution. Perhaps most importantly, focusing on interventions that benefit from deep domain knowledge to create replicable, outsized impacts.
Specifically, his work leading the Clearly campaign demonstrates that solutions at scale do not necessarily require new technology, but a reframing of an issue. In this case, uncorrected poor vision afflicting 2.5 billion people globally – tackled by good enough screening and affordable glasses replicated on a global scale – can dramatically increase productivity. By linking this issue to the global UN Sustainable Development Goals, policymakers around the world now have the tools – and increasingly the evidence – at their disposal to act to correct poor vision.
Asia Value Advisors,