Project: ArcelorMittal and the private sector during the Ebola crisis (Spring 2016)
Focus: Healthcare, International Development
Team: Sarah Nam and Sisi Pan
Description

The Ebola outbreak in 2013-16 devastated West Africa – both economically and on a human development level. The global community tends to look to governments and multilaterals during public health crises, but in what contexts can the private sector be better equipped to act and in what ways? ArcelorMittal (AM), an integrated steel and mining company with a large concession in Liberia, demonstrated leadership among the business community by founding the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (EPSMG). Our project evaluated the role that AM and EPSMG played during the Ebola crisis in Liberia.

 
Project: Measuring the "Impact" in Impact Investing (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
Focus: Impact investing / social finance
Team: Ivy So and Alina Staskevicius
Description

The growth of impact investing has led to an unprecedented focus on impact measurement, with the aim of understanding both financial and social return on these investments. However, impact measurement is complex in practice, and varies in approach and rigor, with a number of methodologies and practices emerging from different organizations. The aim of this study was to deepen the understanding of the specific practices and methodologies that established impact investors are using to measure the social impact generated by their investments, and to analyze the conditions under which each measurement method is most relevant. We also recommend an integrated model of impact measurement by drawing upon the best practices found in our study. Download report - Measuring the "Impact" in Impact Investing

 
Project: Lincoln Center: Global Thought Leader in the Arts
Focus: Arts funding
Team: Victoria Sung
Description

Over the fall term, I worked with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to conceptualize and create a prototype for Lincoln Center Global Perspectives, an annual publication that seeks to establish the organization as an international thought leader in the nonprofit arts space. This publication, organized in conjunction with an annual cultural conference in New York (the first to be held in September 2015), will enable Lincoln Center to create and disseminate knowledge in the hopes of helping Lincoln Center further its mission to make a meaningful, intellectual contribution to the larger conversation about the role and impact of the arts in society.

My final deliverable was a white paper that examined the shifting landscape for funding in the arts. In order to determine the nature of this shift, I constructed a study that drew from a recent survey of 652 museums in "Museums on the Map, 1995-2012" (published just this past year by Fondazione di Venezia). After setting certain research parameters in order to provide focus to the study (e.g., I looked at arts institutions in the ten largest economies by GDP, considered new builds as opposed to expansion or renovation projects, etc.), I was able to point to interesting trends in the data (e.g. the growth of private funding and single-source funding). This paper enabled me to draw conclusions for both the larger conversation about funding in the arts as well as conclusions specific to Lincoln Center's international business development initiatives.

 
Project: MD Anderson Health Care Cost Management
Focus: Health care value
Team: Stephen Schleicher
Description

Our project's purpose was to assess the actual cost (vs. what is billed) of brachytherapy for early stage prostate cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. To assess cost, we used Professor Bob Kaplan's time driven activity based costing (TDABC) method. We compared this data from MD Anderson, a large academic comprehensive cancer center, to Chicago Prostate Center, a "focused factory" that solely treats prostate cancer using brachytherapy. Our next step will be to compare outcomes across these two centers, giving us both outcome and cost data for these different treatment paradigms (comprehensive academic center vs. focused factory). With this data, we will be able to compare the healthcare value (defined as outcomes over cost) for both treatment centers and hopefully be able to make recommendations to the radiation therapy field about how to best maximize value (and thus manage costs) using brachytherapy for early stage prostate cancer.

 
Project: Eureka Ed, Inc. (Fall 2014)
Focus: Education Technology and STEM Education
Team: Nicole Bucala
Description

The U.S. currently leads the world in technological innovation and technology employers: according to an industry report by PWC, 90% of the largest SaaS firms in the world are U.S. firms.1 To maintain its advantage, the country must be able to meet continued technical employment needs. In his 2012 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama underscored this point well:

"…Business leaders who want to hire in the United States… can't find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many [job] openings as we have workers who can do the job…openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work…That's inexcusable." 2

Eureka Ed, Inc. focuses on closing the gap in American STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education. Our customer research and KOL interviews show the drivers of lack of engineering education in America are caused by two things: a) a lack of available resources - people and tools - to teach children STEM skills, and b) the propensity for American children to be intimidated by STEM education at an early age and to "give up" an interest in it by the age of ten. As such, we are building an educational mobile app that uses innovations in children's media to teach STEM skills through funny, interactive, animated, short movies. In this way, we seek to address the two challenges to STEM education by providing a) an accessible educational resource that b) replaces feelings of intimidation with inspiration, achievement, curiosity, and fun.

Eureka Ed teammates Nicole Bucala, John Blakeslee, Danny Kuriluk, Rhed Shi, and John Cimina have been working hard during fall 2014 to a) research customer demand (parents, teachers, students), b) better understand the educational need, and c) incorporate customer desires into the design and build of an educational app that teaches 6-11 y/o STEM skills. Using IDEO's human-centered approach to design, we have used customer feedback to complete prototypes of 1) our user interface 2) our educational content and story, and 3) our entertaining content (movie characters).

Sources:

1. [PwC. (2013). PwC Global 100 Software Leaders. http://www.pwc.com/en_US/us/technology/publications/assets/pwc-global-software-100.pdf"]

2. [Obama, B. (2012). Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/24/remarks-president-state-union-address]
 
Project: Understanding "Tech4Govt" (Fall 2014)
Focus: Technology and government
Team: Jen Bullock
Description

This social enterprise project involves year-long research into how governments best incorporate technology and IT platforms for the purposes of providing services and connecting with their constituents. The research explores how the government, private sector, and individual policymakers work together to increase the level and use of IT platforms to deliver government services. The research examines a country, Estonia, that was successful in becoming "the most wired country in the world," and draws lessons on what the US Government can do to increase sophistication and adoption of online services.

 
Project: Developing a Growth Strategy for Wecyclers (Fall 2014)
Focus: International Development and Environmental Impact
Team: Efosa Ojomo
Description

Wecyclers is powering social change using the environment by helping people in low-income communities capture value from their waste. In many urban areas, waste has become an unmanageable crisis, eroding quality of life mostly for the poor, and draining natural resources. This project explored ways to grow Wecyclers (a Nigerian plastics recyclable collection company) by analyzing the economic viability of a Collections Agent Network, a Waste for Education Initiative, and developing key partners.

 
Project: Global Infrastructure Basel Project Analysis (Spring 2014)
Focus: Infrastructure grading & early stage financing
Team: Xiaozhou Ju
Description

The objective of the project is to study the impact and economic feasibility of setting up a factory in Bogota region for the recycling of construction debris and production of eco-material brick and asphalt. The project was conducted through on-site research with Bogota City Department of Environment and local eco-material manufactures, as well as interviews with value chain partners. The grading system of Global Infrastructure Basel serves as a central planning tool for the project and guides the early development of the project.

 
Project: Research on financial distribution channels for Enterprise solutions to Poverty (Spring 2014)
Focus: Financial inclusion for Latin America
Team: Jorge Fernandez and Ana Maria Arroyo
Description

Enterprise Solutions for poverty is an organization that mobilizes and supports leading companies and entrepreneurs in building profitable and inclusive businesses. Our research was focused on analyzing different distribution models for financial products among low income consumers in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. We visited leading banks in each of these countries in order to understand best in class solutions to reach the bottom of the pyramid and therefore promote financial inclusion. The end product will be a study, that put together with the findings from other teams working in other regions of the world, will showcase best practices in the topic, to be distributed among all participating agents. Our objective is to disseminate knowledge and facilitate implementation of the most efficient solutions for distribution of financial products.

 
Project: Sustainable Apparel Coalition: Higg Index Validation (Fall 2013)
Focus: Corporate sustainability; sustainability measurement
Team: Molly Doctors
Description

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, represents approximately 1/3 of the apparel industry, with members including Walmart, Target, VF, Nike, REI, Patagonia, Gap, H&M, and many more. In 2012, the SAC launched the Higg Index, a comprehensive measure of environmental and social sustainability. The Facilities Module of the Higg Index is self-reported by manufacturers, and requires some level of validation to ensure accuracy. This project provided a pilot validation protocol and helped shape the SAC's 2014 work plan to finalize the protocol and enable benchmarking, collaborative validation, and an eventual move toward consumer-facing social and environmental information on product labels.

 
Project: Low-cost Specialty Hospital in Mexico (Fall 2013)
Focus: Healthcare (public health) in emerging markets
Team: Santiago Ocejo
Description

This independent project worked as the foundation of a start-up. While at HBS I knew I wanted to start a company of my own. However, I wanted to go through an exploratory process of understanding what is it what motivates me, and where is there need and opportunity to create a social impact enterprise, where my skills and knowledge could be put at work. The project included an ideation process, looking into different areas of healthcare, refining the size of the need, and then understanding different business models. Through a visit and multiple interviews, I was better able to define the scope of the project, the characteristics as well as the timing and further requirements to pursue this idea. Thanks to this process, I took the decision to let go an offer in a traditional position in consulting to do a second IP during fall term, that hopefully will lead to the creation of the start-up once I go to Mexico. My goal is to create a low-cost hub and spoke model of care for cardiovascular diseases, including low-cost clinics (spokes) in urban and suburban locations, as well as a hospital (hub), low-cost high-volume for specialty procedures.

 
Project: The Reset Foundation (Spring 2013)
Focus: Social Entrepreneurship & Prison Reform
Team: Jen Porter (with Jane Wilson)
Description

This semester, we launched the nonprofit organization The Reset Foundation. My partner business partner Jane Wilson had been working on the model development for four years; she and I joined forces in the fall and began exploring the possibilities of taking the idea to market. At the start of this year, we officially launched the organization.

 
Project: EngagedHealth Pilot (Spring 2013)
Focus: Chronic Illness & Hospital Readmissions
Team: Dr. Daniel Stein, Justin Oppenheimer, Andrew Kaplan
Description

EngagedHealth is a start-up social enterprise that aims to increase patient life expectancy and reduce the incidence of hospital readmissions in low-income communities. There is a substantial opportunity and benefit to implementing a novel service platform that directly addresses underserved patients' psychosocial issues using multiple home visits by low-cost, high-quality Health Champions. In close coordination with physicians and health professionals as well as existing discharge programs, EngagedHealth's home-based, high-touch, relationship driven and economically feasible approach can, among other benefits, improve medicine adherence, ensure follow-up visit attendance, allow early monitoring of condition deterioration, enhance information flow, and increase patient's and family's medical literacy, all combining to dramatically improve patient quality and length of life and reduce hospital readmissions.

 
Project: L'Occitane: Environmental Supply Chain Management in Burkina Faso (Spring 2013)
Focus: Environmental supply chain management in developing countries, women empowerment
Team: Anna Bae (with Cathy Zhang, MIT Chemical Engineering)
Description

L'Occitane, a $1 billion top line French cosmetic firm, sources its signature ingredient - shea butter - from Burkina Faso. While having been socially responsible by empowering the Burkinabe "shea women" and the local economy by purchasing 500 tons of shea butter a year, the company started noticing the environmental footprint the shea butter production was leaving on the land of Burkina Faso. Partnering with MIT Environmental and Chemical Engineering, the project identified the biggest environmental issues of the shea butter production - wastewater management and firewood consumption, and made a set of recommendations with economic and environmental analysis and implementation plans.

 
Project: Area Four Food Truck Initiative (Fall 2012)
Focus: For-profit / nonprofit hybrids; food access
Team: Mary Knudson, Jon McClain, Jen Porter, Karen Tang
Description

Area Four, a local Cambridge restaurant, sought assistance from the team in launching a food truck aimed at bringing nutritious and affordable meals to Boston neighborhoods suffering economic and public health challenges. To make the venture financially viable, Area Four sought to subsidize its nonprofit operations with more traditional for-profit food truck operations in the Boston City Center. Leveraging the expertise of Harvard faculty and local nonprofit leaders, the team began by providing guidance on the ideal legal structure for the endeavor and assisted the business leaders in building and refining the business model. Further, the team conducted analyses of both food truck and brick-and-mortar competition, captured operational best practices, and, finally, wrote an integrated marketing and promotional plan for the Area Four team. The project was a success-the Area Four food truck will be launching in the spring of 2013.

 
Project: Comfort Zone Camp (Fall 2012)
Focus: Strategic planning and expansion strategy
Team: Will Brown, Jon McClain
Description

Comfort Zone Camp operates bereavement camps and other programming that transform the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. Its growth to date has been largely opportunistic and ad hoc. The team helped Comfort Zone to conceptualize its different options for growth and built a new strategic planning process to help Comfort Zone's leadership and board to better select and prioritize key initiatives. Finally, the team helped Comfort Zone to better understand the key drivers of its business by introducing and constructing a balanced scorecard to measure the organization's performance.

 
Project: PollKarma.com (Fall 2012)
Focus: Social Fundraising
Team: Cy Khormaee
Description

PollKarma is socially responsible market research. We reach users on their mobile device and provide relevant charity based rewards to lower the barrier to and incentivize participation. Users answer questions and earn rewards such as feeding a child or saving rain forest. Our website (PollKarma.com) and Android App (https://play.google.com/store/search?q=pollkarma) both are deeply integrated with Facebook to provide unprecedented data quality and depth. Additionally the Facebook identity enables us to maintain a longitudinally stable panel - so we can learn how the opinions of one user change over time.

 
Project: Exploring options for the Amigos de Jesus education system (Fall 2012)
Focus: International development, Education
Team: Jennifer Braus
Description

The Independent Project explored and analyzed options for the education system of Amigos de Jesus, a non-profit orphanage in rural Honduras, providing information and analysis necessary to develop a strategic plan for education. The project evaluated 3 options for the education system, understanding the value that the option creates and the capacity necessary to create that value.

 
Project: Crisis Aid - A Strategy for Enhancing Value Delivered (Fall 2012)
Focus: Humanitarian Aid / International Development
Team: Alice Newcombe
Description

Natural and man-made crises have emerged as a major and growing impediment to sustainable human development and poverty eradication. Social and economic progress is increasingly jeopardized by fragility and conflict. Despite this backdrop, efforts at prevention and recovery have proven weak and divided, with actors poorly equipped to deal with the increasing complexity and frequency of disaster and conflict. In this project, we applied a rigorous Strategy framework to define how the United Nations agency, the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, can most effectively and successfully deliver value in poor countries suffering crisis, by precisely defining its mandate and focusing on its strategic comparative advantages and core competencies. Ultimately, we hope this organization will be enabled to embrace a role in transforming value creation in crisis aid.

 
Project: Sundance Institute IP (Fall 2012)
Focus: Support for Culture and the Arts / Independent Film Distribution
Team: Kate Stoughton
Description

Project focused on strategy and tactics for supporting distribution of independent films, beyond traditional distributors, which is extremely limited. Filmmakers who have participated in the Sundance Labs or Sundance Film Festival can get more exposure for their films and raise awareness, and can use income from distribution to continue making films. Documentaries supporting social activism would also benefit from these programs. The final program is yet to be announced.

 
Project: CrowdRoar.org (Fall 2012)
Focus: Crowdfunding / Education
Team: Katie Peek
Description

Over the last two years, thanks largely to a down economy, nearly $4 billion has been cut from school sports budgets across the country, leading to a rise in "pay-to-play" extracurriculars and a significant drop in athletic participation. This trend has disproportionately affected girls and low-income communities, and threatens more than just athletic excellence; student-athletes have fewer absences and make greater effort in school, and an adolescent who consistently participates in sports activities from 8th-12th grade is 4x more likely to attend college than a peer who never did. CrowdRoar.org attempts to fill the gap by bringing crowdfunding to the school-sports arena- a Kickstarter for sports. By leveraging online connectivity and digital media, we hope to connect strangers with these underserved sports teams, restoring funding to schools who have lost it and helping kids fulfill their potential on and off the field.

 
Project: Khan Academy (Fall 2012)
Focus: Computer Science Education
Team: Julia DeIuliis
Description

Researched and designed mentoring and peer feedback features for implementation in computer science courses.

 
Project: Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) (Spring 2010)
Focus: Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME), Financing, International Development
Team: DJ DiDonna
Description

The primary obstacle to receiving credit and the main cause of the 'missing middle' is the lack of a credit history. By measuring dimensions such as intelligence, integrity, and business acumen, the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) has created a tool to determine the credit worthiness of entrepreneurs, and to help unlock the multi-billion dollar potential of the informal sector in developing countries. EFL a google.org funded project that has been tested over the past 24 months in 5 countries, over 2 continents, and in 7 different languages. These tests have been performed in flagship financial institutions ranging from MFIs to Venture Capital firms, and have demonstrated a capability to reduce default rates by 30-40%. The HBS team assisted in all aspects of the business model, including pricing, customer selection, and company formation.

 
Project: Project Helios (Spring 2010)
Focus: Public Health
Team: Harish Hemmige, Rishi Shukla, and Chris Trombetta
Description

TProject Helios is a start-up social enterprise that aims to reduce the incidence of skin cancer. The organization is leveraging innovative technologies and forging creative public-private partnerships to increase skin cancer awareness and promote healthier behaviors. Project Helios' unique business model is designed to maximize health outcomes and to enable the venture to scale across the United States and beyond.

 
Project: Women of Means Corporate Fundraising Study (Fall 2009)
Focus: Homelessness; Healthcare, Women-Needs
Team: Tiffany Craig
Description

The study focused on the fundraising opportunities for Women of Means from corporate sponsors. It focused on the viability of corporate fundraising, the identification of new funding sources, and the resources needed to reach these corporations.

 
Project: PIH Rwanda - Leadership Development and Small Business Training (Fall 2009)
Focus: Management Training, Microfinance Training
Team:Michael Hill, David Lee, Jennifer Tom, and Trang Tran
Description

The field study team had the opportunity to work with Partners in Health in Rwanda (Inshuti Mu Buzima or IMB), a large scale, highly effective healthcare operation in Southern Africa. Faced with tremendous growth and expansion in the organization, local leaders were eager to develop and improve their project management, finance, human resources, and communication skills. The main task of the field study team was to develop and document a business curriculum for the Rwandan leadership.

In addition to the management training for IMB leadership, the team created a basic entrepreneurship and business training course for the many nascent businesses in nearby rural districts. IMB had recently established a microfinance lending program that provides loans to individual and family businesses.

Working together with members of PIH Boston and PIH Rwanda, the team delivered installments of both the leadership development course and small business training on-site in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda in January 2010.

 
Project: GLOBAL GIVING (International Online Giving / Fundraising) (Spring 2010)
Focus: Expanding online giving/fundraising outside the USA
Team: Francesco Tronci
Description

The group analyzed selected European giving and fundraising markets and found some key opportunities related to inefficiencies in the current fundraising processes used by smaller nonprofits. Due to both fiscal and technological reasons, online giving seemed to make lots of sense but the market is surprisingly underserved. The team worked with the leadership of GlobalGiving.com and surveyed a number of non-profit and large corporate executives to evaluate specific opportunities in Europe. The project might ultimately lead to the creation of new online tools for social entrepreneurs in Europe.

 
Project: China Mobile - Financial Services and Products (Spring 2010)
Focus: Mobile Banking and Microfinance
Team: Mark Younger, Albert Tseng
Description

In partnership with Enterprise Solutions to Poverty (ESP), we recommended and designed business partnerships and product designs for China Mobile to enter the mobile payments market. As the largest telecom company in the world with over 600 million customers, China Mobile’s move into microfinance offerings could have a massive impact on the ability of the rural Chinese population to access financing. The opportunity to do payments, deposit savings, take out credit, etc through the mobile phone will contribute to income generation and productivity boosts across China’s 1.2 billion people.

 
Project: Mobile Healthcare in Emerging Markets (Spring 2010)
Focus: Going-to-scale, monetization, mobile (cell phones) platforms, healthcare
Team: Scott Werry, Robert Gray, Aadil Mamujee
Description

Working with a mobile healthcare business in Asia to determine how they can better monetize their collected data and leverage their platform to expand healthcare at the base of the pyramid.

 
Project: Product Distribution in West Africa (Fall 2009)
Focus: Product Distribution
Team: Yaw Agyenim-Boateng
Description

ISR was a business plan for a rural Africa distribution company. Here’s the exec summary: Many readily available products could transform small businesses at the base of the economic pyramid. Several of the product manufacturing companies also do in-house distribution, brand management and after-sale service. However, such a vertically integrated company is likely to face significant distribution challenges and ends up providing products to rural consumers at an unfair premium. A distribution company could utilize scale and technology to cut costs out of transportation and pass on savings to retailers and rural consumers. This proposition would create significant financial returns for investors and, as a positive externality, allow the rural poor more disposable income.

 
Project: Critical Success Factors and Challenges in Impact Investing (Spring 2010)
Focus: Emerging market impact investing
Team: Nickyl Raithatha, Mary Mei, Jessica Shannon
Description

Social impact investment generates a social or environmental value as well as a financial return. While impact investing has gained traction and is positioned to address persistent development issues, questions remain about the sectors sustainability. In our field study, we have explored key challenges to impact investing, current position and outlook, and key long-term performance drivers. To accomplish this we conducted primary and secondary research on several impact investment funds focused on investing in the developing world. Our initial research included gaining an understanding of financial returns and sustainability of selected funds as well a detailed examination of current industry trends and various business models. We then analyzed key challenges including dependence on donor dollars, the trade-off between social and commercial returns, bankable deal identification, and human capital and related compensation structures.

 
Project: Worked with a coalition for specific area of youth development (Spring 2010)
Focus: Moving to a self-sustaining revenue model; Strategic positioning; Intermediary
nonprofits
Team: Kate Banting, Cira Cuberes Hernandez
Description

For our field study we worked with a new national coalition to help identify potential revenue streams from their membership base. The coalition is in its second year and has launched many valuable initiatives, but was struggling on ensuing it could cover its costs. By interviewing current members it became clear that although the coalition was offering many great services, not all them the members would be willing to pay for. The members would need to be able to see great value in order to be willing to pay. We then focused on helping the organization evaluate where they are today and where they want to be, and offered recommendations on how to re-align their strategy.

It was a great learning experience to see how to operate in this space, the benefits of aligning your strategy and how our business skills can really make a difference that can impact others.