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What does progress mean to you?


Active member
What do we mean when we talk about progress? In general terms, to make progress means to move toward something and away from something else. But where we’re headed and what we’re leaving behind are key questions that drive political movements, shape international treaties, and define our own sense of personal growth.

Our notions of individual or collective progress reflect our values and our hopes for the future. Knowing what we’re trying to achieve can also help us see what role technology could or should play. To help us explore those possibilities, the following experts responded to a deceptively simple prompt: What does progress mean to you?



Shivani Siroya
Founder and CEO, Tala (United States)

I grew up between India and the United States, and so for a long time my idea of progress was shaped by the difference between these two places—the developing and the developed, the emerging and the established. Progress was about closing the gap, catching one place up to the systems and standards set by another.

But for the past decade, I’ve come to think about who has the power to name and measure progress, and how we can shift more of that power to people most in need of it.

There’s some arrogance in thinking we can define what progress looks like for someone else. That’s why I’m focused on creating the systems and tools that let people pursue whatever matters most to them. And it’s also why I’ve stopped looking to the existing systems for answers.

The bottom line: progress isn’t about closing a gap. It’s about opening a door.

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