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A World of Empathy

By Michael Gordon 1 Comment I spent last week at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, a gathering of social entrepreneurs bent on changing the world.  Ask them what’s on their mind, you will often hear “scale.”  After all, isn’t helping more people better than helping fewer? (And to get investment funding or donations, you […] Read More

Detroit, Ghana, and Fashion

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 was Jerry Paffendorf, […] Read More

Metaphors for Reviving Detroit

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, and a collection […] Read More

Make Education Bigger

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 with the important […] Read More

Detroit 2.0 or 2 Detroits?

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 elbows, learn from, […] Read More

Rural Schools Need Help. Here’s How.

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 manner. Think of […] 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

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 feed us all. […] Read More

New Year, Better World

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 certain to see […] Read More

The Art of Social Entrepreneurship

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, but there’s a […] Read More