“Each of us has dedicated almost a decade to shaping and evolving Grand Challenges Canada, which we are now privileged to lead as Co-Chief Executive Officers. Over the coming years, we look forward to sharing with you how our ambitious vision for Grand Challenges Canada is unfolding towards the achievement of our mission: to catalyze innovation that saves and improves the lives of the most vulnerable in Canada and in low- and middle-income countries.”
Grand Challenges Canada is an innovation platform that funds and enables innovators with potentially transformative solutions to challenges faced by vulnerable populations. We test and, where proven promising, transition these solutions to scale. As an organization, we need to be at the cutting edge in order to remain relevant for the innovators we support and the partners we work with – to have the greatest impact we can. So we are always testing new ways to do our work more effectively and efficiently.
Since we were named Co-CEOs, one innovation that we have been asked many questions about is our co-leadership model. This model has a number of compelling strengths. It supports a high quality of decision-making by providing equal weight to our diverse thoughts, expertise and experience. It also allows Grand Challenges Canada to have senior leadership in two places at once, without diminishing our authority or accountability, and to still contribute to the fast-paced, day-to-day work of our organization, which is critical for a non-profit organization of our size. Finally – and importantly – our co-leadership model provides built-in resilience and allows us to each provide full-time, committed leadership without burning out.
Given the interest in this innovative co-leadership model, we are using this, our first annual letter, to answer some of the questions that we are frequently asked about our experience in implementing this innovative model.