On the blog

Food Gleaning Hybrids

glean  verb:  to pick over in search of relevant material – 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

Juhudi Kilimo

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 for farmers but […] Read More

What We Buy Matters

It’s Sunday after Thanksgiving. Christmas must be tomorrow, or maybe “Black Friday” has become “Black Every Day” based on my email inbox and all the TV commercials I’ve seen the past few days. Buying stuff is alive and well. But something else is in the air, something I’m reminded of as I plow through end-of-course […] Read More

Thanks, Detroit

I have much to be thankful for — certainly my family, friends, and the opportunity to do what I love — but let me single out a city that I’m thankful to see on the rise.   Forbes recently listed the places where young people are happiest.  By grading cities on economic factors like compensation […] Read More

Microfinance, USA: Grameen America

If it’s November, then I must be teaching microfinance. For the last several years, as fall starts giving way to winter, I start to wind down my teaching  about social enterprise and “wind up” my teaching of microfinance. The past week, my class focused on microfinance in the United States. Microfinance is a considerably more […] Read More

A Complex, Economic Mess? Take Out Your Checkerboard.

A Complex, Economic Mess? Take Out Your Checkerboard. By Michael Gordon How strongly is one set of outcomes connected to another?   First, consider T. Rowe Price.   You may be familiar with them from their TV commercials.  Yes, commercials are meant to sell, and persuasiveness outsells accuracy. Still, the firm claims wisdom that borders […] Read More

Burnout is Bad for the World

To: Social Entrepreneurs Everywhere From: A Friend Take care of yourself. I just returned from an eye-opening week of hanging with and talking to social entrepreneurs and others in the change-the-world ecosystem who met at Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico. Jonathan Lewis’ third annual “un-conference” provided a context for exchanging ideas, trading business cards, finding […] Read More

Unbuilding Complexity

By Michael Gordon Building blocks.  I’m fascinated by building blocks. Without them, complexity is impossible. But recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of “unbuilding blocks” — elements or processes that can help disassemble entrenched activities, processes, or institutions that are causing the world difficulty. An arch depends on its keystone for its strength and […] Read More