Eli Broad: Learning from one of the top 100 greatest business minds

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Eli Broad: Learning from one of the top 100 greatest business minds

The serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, Eli Broad, has been named by Forbes as one of the 100 greatest business minds.

In a wonderful quote, Broad says:

 “If you look at all the companies in the new economy, whether it’s Amazon, Uber, Facebook or Google, reasonable people wouldn’t have done that. George Bernard Shaw said the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable person doesn’t; therefore all progress comes from unreasonable people. I think my wife gave me a plaque that said that shortly after we were married. Being unreasonable allowed me to do things.”

There is a great lesson here for entrepreneurs. Creating something new is tough, and requires a persistence, and often being willing to go against established ways of doing things. Broad himself created two Fortune 500 companies from the ground-up, but it’s really the work in philanthropy that stands out. Back in 2003, together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the Whitehead Institute, Broad and his wife created the Eli and Edythe Broad Institute for biomedical research.

The Broad Institute brings together researchers from across the world, from a variety of different fields, from medicine and biology, to engineering and computer science. These researchers are using genomics to better understand disease and treatments. What is particularly interesting about the Broad Institute is how it is using approaches more commonly seen in the technology industry, than in science – for example bringing together nimble teams of researchers, and creating a culture of creativity and risk-taking. This is quite different from our usual image of scientists.

This use of genomics to improve treatments is more commonly known as precision medicine. I have previously blogged about how precision medicine has the potential to fundamentally transform how we treat diseases. For those not familiar with the term, it’s about customizing treatments to our individual genetic make-up, our lifestyle, and environment. Scientists have realized that treatments impact individuals differently, and if they’re able to customize a treatment to your particular situation, it can be much more effective. It represents a true revolution in healthcare.

I’m particularly proud that Belatrix has a long-term relationship with the Broad Institute, helping in its life-changing work. For example, we have contributed to the development of a genomic data repository created by Broad, which as you can imagine requires tremendous amounts of data.

We’re still in the early days of seeing the full potential of precision medicine. However, we’re getting there faster, thanks to the work of organizations such as the Broad Institute. As Eli Broad mentions at the end of his profile on Forbes, “there’s a lot of work to be done”.

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