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Detroit, Ghana, and Fashion

By Michael Gordon Unusual post today: short thoughts and some shout outs.  Jake Cohen  generously gave me an hour of his time yesterday answering questions about Detroit Venture Partners (DVP),  the Gilbert family of companies, and rebuilding Detroit through entrepreneurship. At the end of our conversation, he mentioned some other people to talk to. One […] Read More

Metaphors for Reviving Detroit

By Michael Gordon I was in Detroit yesterday learning more about incubators. I came away thinking about metaphors. My morning began in TechTown, where Faris Alami gave my research associate, Neesha Modi, and me a heady introduction to all that is taking place. TechTown is at once a research and technology park, a business incubator, […] Read More

Make Education Bigger

By Michael Gordon The four ideas I stress in teaching social entrepreneurship are these: Big Picture Design (which, itself, encompasses “designing everything,” and “stealing shamelessly” the ideas of others); Making It Appropriate; Making It Stick; and Making It Bigger. Most people have a handle on the last item — Making It Bigger — equating this […] Read More

Detroit 2.0 or 2 Detroits?

By Michael Gordon Are we creating Detroit 2.0, or are we creating 2 Detroits?   There is a renewed sense of energy and optimism in Detroit.  I am seeing this as I explore Detroit’s business incubators (writ large), and there is much to applaud.  Detroit Venture Partners is creating attractive workspaces for businesses to rub […] Read More

Rural Schools Need Help. Here’s How.

By Michael Gordon Matt Salefski was a student in my graduate level class, Solving Societal Problems through Enterprise and Innovation.  He wrote a term paper, which I have modified slightly, that talks about the “hidden” problem of serving the needs of poor, rural students and presents ideas for addressing this problem in a cost effective […] Read More

Can You Change the Climate (for the Better)?

Can You Change the Climate (for the Better)? By Michael Gordon The Erb Institute at the University of Michigan along with the Union of Concerned Scientists held a workshop last weekend titled, “Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks and Choices: What We Can Learn from Social Science Research and Practice.”  A video from the public […] Read More

Food Gleaning Hybrids

By Michael Gordon glean  verb:  to pick over in search of relevant material –webster.com In America, the wealthiest country in the world, more than one in seven families are unsure if they will have enough to eat.  Among these 50 million people are 17 million children. Yet, our country has more than enough food to […] Read More

New Year, Better World

By Michael Gordon Happy New Year.  Two Thousand TWELEVE!   Once again, we appear to have dodged a meltdown, even if 2012 is supposed to be the year of an apocalypse or miraculous planetary transformation (a “slight” difference in opinion according to which fringe group you listen to).   But, unfortunately, what we are almost […] Read More

The Art of Social Entrepreneurship

By Michael Gordon I just closed the book on fall  semester.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been plowing through an eight-inch stack of papers my students wrote on topics related to microfinance, social entrepreneurship, and the base of the pyramid.   I’d be lying if I said I never complained about all the grading, […] Read More

Juhudi Kilimo

By Michael Gordon Two key questions about microfinane and then an amazing model for extending credit to poor, rural African farmers:   1. Does microfinance reduce poverty? A recent study reviewed the evidence from field experiments.  Recently published randomized control studies of microcredit variously found:  business creation as well as increases in non-business (i.e., “consumption”) spending (India);  improvements […] Read More