Creativity and Systems Thinking, Emergence

8 tenets, define and example for each

  1. Interdependence →  how factors(ideas, goals, people, projects) in a relating system all impact each other; pyramid from the bottom up
    1. Ex. 1: a lot of the projects take advantage of the interdependence between people and the “hierarchy” that exists between people
      1. Malnutrition tried to partner with community leaders such as the reverend david because of many people’s interdependence on him and the church
  2. Holism → a system that is viewed as it own entity; as a sum of its parts; looking at the pyramid from the top down/seeing the big picture 
    1. Ex. 1: Recycling facility — the public would just see it as something that takes in waste and produces product, forgets that the facility has many parts (machines, workers, managers, etc)
  3. Multifinality → Multiple unique outcomes resulting from a single initial product/system (win-win situation for all)
    1. Ex. 1: all teams: fieldwork
  4. Equifinality → understanding that a goal can be achieved in a variety of ways/ paths
    1. Ex. 1:  PlasTech Ventures and Cloop used to be part of the same team with the same goals, now they are both trying to reach the same goal but through different approaches.
    2. Safemotherhod and Ukweli — both want to end maternal mortality
  5. Differentiation → each part of a system has its own specific function
    1. Ex. 1: Malnutrition team breaking up and assigning roles after week 1 in SL 
      1. Working on specific parts like Manufacturing, Research, Supply Chain, etc. that interact to run the larger system
  6. Regulation → assessing the system to make sure that it is achieving goals to take corrective action and hold everyone accountable
    1. Ex. 1:  NewTrition checking in with Translators to make sure our interviewing questions are being conveyed and received correctly.
    2. Weekly team meetings — keep us all on track
  7. Abstraction → looking at broad ideas instead of focusing on specific details (zooming out or zooming in)
    1. Ex. 1: Safe Motherhood: trying to inspire grassroot action to work to raise awareness for broader issues through specific mini-stories
  8. Leverage Points → understanding that there are small things that can be done to create a large effect; places in a complex system where a small shift can create big changes 
    1. Ex. 1: Recycling Facilities: Gaining a relationship with Vincente Co to open up our network and knowledge
    2. KJ was the leverage point for the malnutrition team to be able to use the bakery
    3. Implementing a fine to give birth at home to encourage people to go to the clinic which saves a lot of people’s lives


Emergence is the concept that a system is greater than just the sum of its parts. For example, no individual part of a bird is able to fly, but when all of the parts come together, then the creature as a whole is then able to fly.

An example of emergence in the context of the Global Social Impact Fellowship is the vision of the PlasTech Solutions micro recycling facilities impact on the plastic waste crisis in the Philippines. No single facility that we install will be able to reduce enough plastic to make an impact on the overall amount of plastic waste that is created. However, as more and more facilities are created and begin networking and sharing knowledge with each other, the overall system of micro facilities will be an emergent solution to plastic recycling. The overall effect of all facilities will make a tangible impact on the plastic waste crisis, and elevate the livelihoods of the population that it employs in the process. 


Water Hyacinth

  • Follow oil fracking ideas → pay local, waterside people of the community a small stipend for access to their areas
  • Other community members can be hired to collect and process the hyacinth, income generating solution for the community
  • Previous workers of hers now in charge of transportation/distribution for her.

Some Applicable Emergent parts:

  1. Interdependence/Holism/Differentiation:  Each process now depends on the process before it, and the more successful each step is the more the greater system thrives
  2. Regulation:  Paid on commission, so how much hyacinth they bring in instead of a salary day to day, forming accountability
  3. Leverage Points:  Advertise how workers are helping community and fishermen to create more sales
  4. Accountability: not paying everyone because that would be impossible
  5. Multifinality:  Community is reaching its goals and so is the entrepreneur 

Indian Neem Oil Products and Grassroots Diplomacy

Part 1: 


The Facts 

  • Neem is indigenous to India and is considered sacred
  • neem used extensively over the past 2,000 years for medicinal purposes, food production, toiletries, fuel, and pesticides. 
  • Neem products used widely across India and the industry as a whole employs many poor people
  • Chetan operates a small business of neem tree products
  • Chetan’s family has owned this business for the last seven generations
  • The business employs 60 people in different functions
  • Despite being familiar with over 200 applications of the tree and its derivatives, Chetan does not know the exact name of the neem seed extract, Azadirachtin. 
  • Ten years ago, Tom Johnson (OOPS) discovered the neem seeds’ use as a potent pesticide. 
  • Tom received a patent for the pesticide formula and brought the product to market
  • They have the worldwide patent and financial capital to manufacture and sell the product on a large scale.
  • People are likely to prefer buying products from US companies over small Indian cottage, affecting chetans business


The stakeholders and Their Motivations

  • OOPS
    • Prof: Make a profit to benefit shareholders and employees
    • Personal: Make as much profit as possible
  • Chentan
    • Prof: Keep his employees employed and his family business running
    • Personal: Honor his family by running this business
  • Chentan’s employees 
    • Prof: Want to make a living
    • Pers: Want to support their families and have a job
  • Other indian growers of neem trees
    • Prof: money/job security (same as Chetan’s employees)
    • Personal: feeding families, social worth (same as Chetan’s employees)
  • Competing companies
    • Prof: Same as OOPS
    • Personal: Same as OOPS
  • Consumers in india
    • Prof: n/a
    • Personal: want an affordable neem product



  • Try and employ the people affected.
    • Pro: this will keep the employees and local economy sustained
    • Con: This solution will most likely destroy the family owned business and take away any cultural significance that the company had
  • Work with locals to create a new formula and have a shared patent
    • Pro: this would allow both companies to work together and thus preserve both businesses
    • Con: The likelihood of this solution working out as intented is low, as the larger company will most likely just absorb the smaller one as in solution 1. Also, the legal enforcement and logistics behind this solution make it much more difficult and ineffective.
    • Con: they may not be able to think of a new patent that works better
  • Try and persuade the government to not accept the subsidized goods
    • Pro: the Family owned business is protected
    • Con: this action by the Indian govt. Can cause economic tensions between the US and India, causing a trade war and the loss of even more jobs and livelihoods


Choose Best Solution:

The best and most efficient solution is solution 1, in which the US company tries to absorb and retain all of the employees in the existing company. For a corporation as large as OOPS, absorbing 60 employees with experience in that exact field should not be an issue, additionally, the other solutions have the possibility of having much more serious effects on both businesses and the livelihoods of their employees.

Exact Steps to Implement:

  1. Send an email to the company that the larger company wishes to merger with the family owned one.
  2. Begin the legal and financial processes of merging/absorbing the two companies together.
  3. Bring the employees over from the family owned business
  4. Make Chetan an executive of the manufacturing and processing processes in India.


Part 2:


  1. OOPS is crushing the indian market
  2. CHetans wrapper features his grandfather, a local legend
  3. OOPS wrapper features Tom
  4. Chetan will have to lay off many employees at current state
  5. Tom open to merging if it means more profit
  6. CHetan seen having meetings with Tom, employees beleive Chetan is a sell out


Stakeholders and Motivations

See part one


Alternative Solutions

  1. OOPS absorbs Chetan’s Business
    1. Pro: the employees and livelihoods of the employees may be preserved
    2. Con: the employees may not be treated as well as they were under Chetan
  2. Chetan Lays off employees and tries to remain in the market
    1. Pro: the remaining employees can enjoy their current way of life
    2. Con: the other half of employees now must find new work to support families
  3. Chetan sues OOPS in an attempt to regain footing in the market
    1. Pro: This solution may be able to separate the two businesses enough so that Chetan can remain in market and not have to lay off employees
    2. Con: there may not be grounds for Chetan to sue, as well as the cost of the lawsuit will be extremely expensive and may accelerate Chetan’s business’ demise


Choose Best Solution:

Option 1 is the best solution for both Chetan and his employees, because it will most likely ensure the preservation of the livelihoods of his employees, whereas the other solutions do not have newarly as bright of a future. Yes, there may be regrets and tensions for Chetan as his employees may consider him a sellout or quitter, however, there are not a host of positive options for him, and this solution will most likely benefit his employees the most.


Steps to Implement:

The exact steps of implementing this plan are parallel to that in part 1, but from the perspective of Chetan and his business rather than Tom and OOPS.


Grassroots Diplomacy


Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation – obtain all of the unbiased facts possible. Clearly state the ethical issue.

  • 35% of the children in this East African region have stunted growth.
  • If children are breastfed for too long they have a higher chance of contracting HIV
  • Maize and banana gruel is the common food for babies starting around 2 months to 24 months and accompanies breastfeeding. The gruel isn’t that nutritious despite common opinion among the locals
  • People are skeptical of the pesticides and the adverse health effects these pesticides can give to the babies
  • You have a grant to establish a women’s cooperative to improve the nutritional status of the children and improve the livelihoods of rural households.
    • The funds will help the women’s group make a nutritious self stable porridge to help children wean off breastfeeding.
    • Approximately 500 women in the area are willing to join
  • WHO says to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months 
  • The longer someone with HIV breastfeeds the more likely they are to transmit their diseases to their child 


Step 2: Define the Stakeholders – those with a vested interest in the outcome

  1. Children at breastfeeding ages
  2. Lactating mothers
  3. Women joining the co-op 
  4. Women’s cooperative grant donor
  5. You as a researcher
  6. Local farmers
  7. Doctors / Health network 
  8. The actual co-op 


Step 3: Assess the motivations of the Stakeholders

  1. Children at breastfeeding ages
    1. Are not old enough to understand their stake in this situation, thus have no needs other than food
  2. Lactating mothers
    1. Want their babies to grow up healthy
    2. Want to prevent them from getting health complications from HIV, pesticides, malnutrition, etc
  3. Other Women
    1. They may be in the women’s cooperative making the porridge as part of the project
    2. Potential employment opportunity with the cooperative
    3. Will want their future children to be healthy 
  4. Women’s cooperative Grant Donor
    1. Want women to be healthier 
    2. Want their money to go towards a productive venture (worthy investment)
  5. You as a researcher
    1. Want to make everyone happy
    2. Professionally need to develop a successful co-operative  
  6. Local Farmers
    1. Your crops may be used to produce the porridge that will be created with the women’s cooperative. 
    2. You will make money 
  7. Doctors
    1. Want healthy communities 
    2. Be equipped in the case of new health problems arise because of pesticide use?
  8. The future co-op
    1. Motivated to stay open 
    2. Be useful – help women 
    3. Make money 


Step 4: Formulate (at least three) alternative solutions – based on information available, using

basic ethical core values as guide

Approaches [1/2/3: repeat for every action]


Solution 1:

  • Potential solution: Form a section on the cooperative and educate women on the different risks of the porridge and HIV and let them decide, also produce the porridge and sell it. 
  • Ethical Principle: virtue-based because a good person would educate the community about the problems so that you engage them in the decision-making process. 
  • Pros: Promotes healthy choices among the women and they 
  • Cons: the women could possibly make the wrong decision and put their child in danger


Solution 2

  • Potential solution : Form the porridge – privately test the new supplement for pesticides, based on the assumption that pesticides are better than HIV. Don’t tell women about the dangers of pesticides. Teach women that after 6 months they have to stop breastfeeding. 
  • Ethical Principle or code- consequence based thinking because if your goal is just to choose the healthier option, just take the fastest path by telling the women to make the porridge without educating them about anything.
  • Pros: You don’t risk damaging the reputation of the porridge and thus don’t give babies HIV
  • Cons: Is this moral? No 


Solution 3

  • Potential solution: Create the cooperative. Have a questionnaire about the symptoms of HIV, give the porridge to women who may have HIV and tell them not to keep breastfeeding after 6 months, make all mothers aware of the risk of breastfeeding/HIV and give them the option of porridge or not, but also letting them know about the risk of porridge as well. 
  • Ethical Principle or code: duty-based. It’s your duty to use the grant to get the best results and take the safest route. 
  • Pros: educating women of their risks and offer them the choice to take the porridge or not. 
  • Cons: not time-efficient. 


Step 5: Seek additional assistance, as appropriate – engineering codes of ethics, previous cases,

peers, reliance on personal experience, inner reflection

Additional assistance was sought. 


Step 6: Select the best course of action – that which satisfies the highest core ethical values.

Explain reasoning and justify. Discuss your stance vis-a-vis other approaches discussed in the class.

 Go with SOLUTION 3. Most ethical while also staying cost-efficient because it does more than the other 2 options to make sure HIV+ women are not continuing to breastfeed their children, but also educates the community.


Step 7: (If applicable) What are the implications of your solution on the venture. Explain the

impact of your proposed solution on the venture’s technology, economic, social and environmental aspects.

Sending out the questionnaire is not time-efficient, especially if your time is limited and the grant donor wants to see results as soon as possible. 



Step 1: Determine the facts in the situation – obtain all of the unbiased facts possible. Clearly state the ethical issue.

  • The women in the cooperative are making alright money off of the venture (about $3 USD)
  • Cooperative also gives the women the option to sell their own family’s crops to the cooperative, gives them a little more money
  • Children of cooperative women aren’t getting fed
  • Money is being wasted by the men


Step 2: Define the Stakeholders – those with a vested interest in the outcome

  1. Cooperative women
  2. 7 women on committee
  3. You as the entrepreneur
  4. Children
  5. Husbands, brothers, fathers 
  6. Grant donor


Step 3: Assess the personal and professional motivations of the Stakeholders

  1. Cooperative women 
    1. Personal: they want the money to be used for their children. If they speak up, they might be subjected to domestic abuse. 
    2. Professional: they want their hard-earned money to be put into good use. 
  2. 7 women on committee
    1. Personal: they want their fellow women to have control over their paycheck because “girls stick together”
    2. Professional: same thing but as committee members, they want to do what’s best for the cooperative
  3. You as the entrepreneur
    1. Personal: the morally good person in you just wants equality
    2. Professional: you want the grant that went into creating the cooperative to be used wisely
  4. Children: 
    1. Personal and professional: they want and need healthy food to grow up healthy
  5. Husbands, brothers, fathers
    1. Personal and professional: they want that extra pocket money to spend on useless shit that will give them a good reputation among their men friends and have that cultural capital for socializing.
  6. Grant donors
    1. Personal: they want to empower women
    2. Professional: they want their money to be used well.  


Step 4: Formulate (at least three) alternative solutions – based on the information available, using

basic ethical core values as guide


  • Potential Solution: Convince the board to: economically incentivise families to spend money responsibly by showing receipts spent on food, water, etc. If they are spending the money responsibly they get an X% raise so long as they continue spending responsibly
  • How does it solve the problem?
    • Pros: incentivises the families to spend money better, gets 
    • Cons: more cost to the coop- HOWEVER this incentive may be as expensive as other solns
      • Also, this solution creates a need for much more bureaucracy which may be difficult to implement and enforce
  • How does it save face of those involved?
    • It doesnt give the men a choice not to spend the money on food and necessities, so the women aren’t “taking” money from them
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: Gives women more power 
    • Long-term: might make the men upset once they catch on 
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: should solve the problem for the women 
    • Long-term: might not work at all, might lose money 



  • Potential Solution: Convince the board to:  Barter instead of money for the goods because then the women will have no money to give to their husbands 
  • How does it solve the problem?
    • Pros: Takes away the ability for the men of the households to take the money and use it for their personal use
      • The women will still be rewarded for their work but will be given things that will benefit them and their whole family (not alc and shit)
    • Cons: Men might get heated, cooperative would probably have to create some sort of store that the women can go to and exchange their points for goods, goods offered to barter for might not be what the women need for themselves and fam
  • How does it save face of those involved?
    • Women feel better knowing that there isn’t money being wasted and their kids can still get fed if some of the exchanges include the porridge itself. 
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: Women are bringing something home to their families that will 
    • Long-term: the men may want actual money and realize that the Co-op is trying to work around them
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: how do you get the goods to trade for- will give more responsibility to the co-op 
    • Long-term: the cost and logistics of finding goods may prove too expensive



  • Potential Solution:  Cooperative keeps the money and keeps track of what each woman has earned, this is like a “share” within the co-op: money reinvested results in better wages eventually. The co-op makes rules about what you can withdraw money for and there is a cool down period before you get the money. 
  • How does it solve the problem? 
    • Pros: money isn’t being wasted
    • Cons: discrimination. 
      • A lot of members would have to leave the coop
  • Implications on relationships
    • Short-term: The men may want to have liquid income from the co-op rather than illiquid
    • Long-term: the income is still theirs, so it will still benefit the family
  • Implications on the venture
    • Short-term: some people may leave the organization in the short term
    • Long-term: over a longer period of time, this system will cost the co-op the least and act immediately


Step 5: Seek additional assistance, as appropriate – engineering codes of ethics, previous cases,

peers, reliance on personal experience, inner reflection

Additional assistance was sought


Step 6: Select the best course of action – that solves the problem, saves face and has the best short term and long-term implications for your relationship and venture. Explain reasoning and discuss your solution vis-a-vis other approaches discussed in class.


Best course of action: Option 3 is the best option because even though there will most likely be a drop off in the amount of members initially, over time it will solve the issue of the income money going to the wrong expenses in the household. Additionally, the other two options will prove to be much more expensive over time and thus make the organization less efficient.


Step 7: List the sequence of actions you will take to implement your solution


-announce that there will be a change in the way members of the co-op earn income over the next few months.

-hold a co-op wide meeting to show full transparency to the women in the organization about how the payment changes form but will ultimately not affect the women negatively

-clearly explain how the women can withdraw funds from the new system and how to most effectively make use of the new system. 


Jack and the Black Hats: Grassroots Diplomacy

Jack and the Black Hats

Step 1: Determine Facts

  1. Jack in an American in Kenya working in a social venture
  2. He also works at a youth center in Kenya and will be working there for the entire duration of his stay
  3. International Donor Org sent gifts that jack must distribute to the children
  4. There were not enough gifts for every child, and the children who were left were given black hats unceremoniously
  5. Jack is blamed by the kids as the reason they did not get gifts.
  6. Staff does not care that some of the kids did not get a gift.
  7. Staff calls jack a Childrens rights activist because they were annoyed that jack brought up the kids and how he felt awkward.

Step 2 + 3: Stakeholders and their motivations

  1. Jack
    1. Personal: He does not want to be the awkward and ignorant american that causes issues and stress for the locals.
    2. Professional: He wants to keep a good relationship with the staff at the childrens center.
    3. Both: He wants to be liked by the kids and save face in front of them
  2. Kids that did not get the ceremonious gift and only got a hat
    1. Personal: They want to have the same dignity as the kids that received them ceremoniously
    2. Personal: Think that jack does not care about them
  3. Kids that got the gifts
    1. Personal: Like jack for giving them gifts
  4. Youth Center Staff
    1. Professional: They don’t want their work to be seen as unfair
    2. Prof: Do not think that the issue with the kids not getting enough gifts is worth pursuing
    3. Personal: They want to be seen as people who are doing well and taking good care of the kids.
  5. International Donor Organization
    1. Both: they want to look good, and need to uphold a reputation that they are doing good, therefore they sent the gifts to the children at this center. They want to be able to help as many children as possible
    2. Prof: They want to successfully present a nice gesture.
  6. The University that sent Jack abroad.
    1. Personal: they want to look good, their reputation rests on the actions of Jack
    2. Professional: They want the social venture that jack is working on to prosper

Step 4: Formulate (3) potential solutions

  1. Jack makes gifts to ceremoniously give to the black hat children in front of the group
    1. Solution Pros:
      1. The kids that did not get gifts would receive the pomp and circumstance that they want.
    2. Con:
      1. The other kids may get jealous
      2. The staff at the center may see this action as going against their word, may make them look bad.
    3. ST Relationship Impact:
      1. The staff may be annoyed with him
    4. LT Relationship Impact
      1. The staff may feel Jack is an activist and may cause more problems for him
    5. Venture Impact St
      1. There might be some impact on the way people look at jack and the venture based on the actions and the fact that he has to redo the event.
    6. Venture LT
      1. People will remember this event and it might help people forget about the problem
  2. Jack Wears a black hat every day (or frequently) to make the hat kids feel special too
    1. Pro: The kids will feel more included and respected by jack, the solution is simple fast and easy, so the staff will probably not mind this action
    2. Con: This may cause jealousy and issues among the children
    3. Relationship ST: Saves face with the kids who didnt get gifts before and excites them
    4. Relationship LT: Extreme tensions among kids who do and dotn have hats
    5. Venture ST: Tension from the staff thinking jack initially overreacted may last but hopefully fade
    6. Venture LT: mends the relationships with all the children and quietly solves the issue with the staff as long as no one holds a grudge
  3. Jack does nothing and moves on
    1. Pro: The staff will like that he is taking their advice
    2. Con: the children will be sad
    3. Rel. ST: the kids who did not get gifts will resent him
    4. Rel. LT: The kids will definitely forget the problem and go back to respecting him
    5. Ven. ST: The staff will like and respect him more for taking their advice, soothes tensions
    6. Ven. LT: The staff will be closer to Jack

Step 5: Seek addtional assistance as necessary

  1. Kenyan gift culture: Kenyan Gift Culture
    1. Guests invited to someone’s home may bring a small gift of appreciation.
    2. Common gifts to give are flowers and tea leaves.
    3. In rural areas of Kenya, coffee, sugar, flour, and maize are usually given. These gifts are presented in a woven bag (‘kiondo’ in Kikuyu). The host will return the bag at the end of the visit after placing gifts for their visitor inside.
    4. It is impolite to return a kiondo empty.
  2. American Gift Culture:  American Culture
    1. If you are invited to a wedding, baby showers, bar mitzvah, or other celebration, it is expected that you will bring a gift. Unless you know the host very well, the gift should be modest in value, about $20.
    2. For a wedding, the bride will have “registered” at one or two local department stores, indicating the items and styling she prefers. You can buy the couple a gift that isn’t listed, but most people buy something listed on the registry. If you buy an item listed on the registry, be sure to tell the store that you are doing this, so that the couple doesn’t receive duplicate gifts. For a baby shower, bring a gift appropriate for a newborn baby. For a bar mitzvah, bring a gift appropriate for a 13-year-old boy. Bar Mitzvah gifts tend to be more formal in nature. For example, a gold-plated Cross pen is quite common. Personalizing the pen by engraving the recipient’s full name will be appreciated.
    3. If you wish to give a gift when you leave to return to your home country, the best gift is something that is unique to your country. It does not need to be especially valuable or rare, just reminiscent of your home. Possibilities include a book about your country, an inexpensive handicraft or piece of art, or something else that reflects your culture. If the children collect coins and stamps, they would be very pleased with a set of your country’s coins or a selection of mint stamps from your country. Items that are common in your country but difficult to find in the USA are also good.
    4. If you owe a debt of deep gratitude to an American host family, a common way of repaying it is to take the family to a form of entertainment, such as a baseball, basketball, or hockey game, the ballet, or to a good restaurant.
    5. When giving gifts to a business acquaintance, do not give anything of a personal nature, especially to a woman. Do not give cosmetics. A scarf is ok, but other types of clothing are not. Something appropriate for the office is the best. But gift-giving is not as important in America as it is in other countries, so there is nothing wrong with not giving a gift.
    6. If you need help selecting a gift, talk to a salesperson at a department store. Tell them about the person who will be receiving the gift and the reason for the gift, and they will help you find something appropriate and within your budget.

Step 6: Best course of action

The best course of action is to do nothing and move on from the situation. The staff will know what the best course of action in this situation is because they have much more experience with this area than Jack does. It may come across as disrespectful if he goes against their word and tries to create a new solution and potentially appear as a children’s rights activist to the staff at the center. 


Step 7: Sequences of action to implement solution

  1. Jack should approach the members of the staff and apologize for potentially overreacting about the gift situation
  2. Reiterate to them that he wishes to be able to help the children as much as possible, but that he also respects the experience of the staff members and will follow their counsel.
  3. Try to find other ways to engage the children that will build his reputation with them in a way that does not cause tension with the center.

Ethical Methodology Case Study: Lesotho Water Source Research

Step 1: determine the facts in the situation

  1. Pathogens in the water cause diseases to the people who drink from it.
  2. People may not know about the pathogen, it needs to be studied further.
  3. In Lesotho, South Africa – will be there ONLY two weeks, 10 academic researchers
  4. Research requires assistance from community for finding the water sources we want to  test.
  5. Pathogen only found in this location
  6. Publications are expected to come from this research.
  7. A profile can help develop chemical additives to make the drinking water safe


Step 2 & 3: define the stakeholders

  1. Academic researchers
    1. Want to get papers published to build personal and professional credibility, want to create impact through the study.
  2. The academic institution (funders)
    1. Want to promote academic integrity 
    2. Are liable for the safety of the researchers
    3. Want the publicity for conducting the study 
    4. Want to minimize cost of the research where necessary
  3. Community members
    1. Want a better livelihood, do not want to continually get sick from the pathogens in the water.
    2. Do not want to be kept in the dark about the study, do not want foreign researchers tampering with their water supply without knowing what their objectives are.
    3. Want some form of compensation for showing the researchers where the water sources are. 
  4. Chief/government
    1. Wants to uphold the image of the community, may not want it to be publicly known that their water source is home to a dangerous pathogen 
    2. Wants to ensure the safety of the community members (make sure the researchers don’t take advantage of the community). Chemical additives testing may endanger the community members.
  5. Publicists
    1. Want to publish quality research 
    2. Want to contribute to human knowledge using this study 
    3. Marketability (to publish/ publicity)
  6. Chemists that can make the stuff
    1. Want quality research to drive the chemical additive testing 
    2. Want to market well 
    3. Want to make a profit from the chemical additives


Step 4 & 5: Possible solutions & seeking additional guidance where appropriate

*Start with informing, display importance of research, how it can help in future

  1. Do the study and pay the community members for transport
    1. Ethical Principle:  beneficence 
    2. Pros:  Keeps community happy and compensated for their contribution 
    3. “Simple”- does not require additional effort to create a solution
    4. Cons: more money, university may not go for it
  2. Give them cleaner water, food, dinner
    1. Ethical Principle:  beneficence
    2. Pros:  Keeps them healthier short term vs doing nothing 
    3. Cons:  Extremely expensive, not sustainable over a long period of time
  3. Don’t pay them, thank them 
    1. Ethical principle:  Virtue-based
    2. Pros:  not added cost or work, the community or government may not even accept a compensation depending on culture values
    3. Cons:  could make community mad, worsen relations, network difficulties, look bad on institution
  4. Recognize them in the publications (credit)
    1. Ethical Principle:  beneficence
    2. Pros:  morally fit, helps the village and those specific people, prioritized in future things (chemical additives), the researchers could provide a copy to the people who helped
    3. Cons:  long term, not guaranteed, people won’t care will never see it won’t understand that being beneficial, won’t want flock of people → wanna be under the radar, unwanted attention


Step 6: Best Course of Action

After consideration, I feel that the best course of action is to originally offer to name the community members and local government in the study publication. The offer can be posed at a community town hall meeting to make sure that the majority of the community is on board. The reason for this is it academically credits those who helped the study as a form of compensation for their efforts, and it allows the community a chance to refuse the offer if they do not want the added attention from international chemical companies and researchers. Additionally, at this town hall meeting, locals can ask the researchers any questions they might have about the study they are conducting so that they fully buy in to the research that is taking place.

The benefit of this solution is that it not only costs the researchers and institution nothing financially, but it also loops the community into the process of the research, which will promote a better relationship and bond between the researchers and community members.

Fieldwork Takeaways


  • What are the top three things you learned over trip?


      1. How to communicate more effectively in a team based project setting
        1. Needing to meet team objectives in a short amount of time meant that I had to develop refined communication skills that could effectively mobilize my team members without causing tension.
        2. Simply hearing out what team members had to add to the discussion was not enough. It is necessary to actually consider what team members add to the conversation because I often found that my team members had come up with a simpler or more effective solution than I.
      2. I have a passion for the design process and engineering process
        1. Working on the coaster designs and using my creativity and problem solving skills to engineer a product that best suits the needs of the customer and the capacity of the producer
        2. “Going back to the drawing board” was one of my favorite elements of the design process. I found that I thrived when I was working on a design to best fit new specifications given to me. 
      3. Most problems are much more open ended than they might seem, and good solutions come from a variety of sources
        1. When taking in information and meeting with new people, there is always something that can be learned or understood or opened up. It is important to keep an open mind about your surroundings and recognize that any information you gather may be relevant later on. 
        2. That being said, it became equally as important to not let myself become bogged down by all the details of the project. So it became clear to me to strike a balance between working steadily towards a goal and considering the relevant information


  • How did the gsif trip facilitate your professional development?


      1. I had a rigorous experience working in a small technical team tasked with designing a specific product for a customer
        1. My time in this project gave me real world experience working in a team based setting, something that a classroom cannot offer. This experience will give me a competitive edge later on in my professional career.
      2. Gained and refined skills in computer modeling in Fusion 360 
        1. Since the computer lab in the UPD fabrication lab did not have Solidworks, the modeling program I am most experienced in, I had no choice but to learn to use Autodesk Fusion 360, and as a result, I not only refined my skills in that specific software, but I also have gained more skills in computer drafting and modeling as a whole. 
      3. Authored a scientific paper that applies to my field of study and also now shows that I have expertise in a specific topic
        1. After completing the Global Health and Tech conference paper, I can now say that I have contributed to public knowledge in the engineering field, and my name is out there for me to demonstrate to future employers that I have experience and expertise in a technical project and field.


  • How did the gsif trip help you grow personally?
  • The trip helped me grow personally by allowing me to experience life outside of my day to day routine. 


        1. Seeing the way life operates outside of the United States was eye opening, as I have never before had the opportunity to immerse myself in another country and culture. It gave me a better appreciation for the standard of living in the US, and allowed me to have a broader perspective of the globe.


  • I was able to experience elements of nature I would not otherwise get the opportunity to.
  • The weekend trips into Mount Mapalad and the coral reef snorkeling in Batangas beach were amazing to demonstrate the beauty of the Philippines and to empassion me and my team to work harder to prevent plastic waste from damaging that beauty. Seeing what could be at stake is an extremely powerful motivation 


    1. Expand horizons and worldview
    2. Experience and understand a new culture and see how some elements of culture spread througout the world and some do not


Envirofit International Business Model


Envirofit International Business Model Canvas

Key Partners:

Envirofit has a variety of partners including government agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of America and UKAid in addition to international organizations like the UN and World Economic Forum. These organizations provide economic support, PR, and even advise Envirofit on a variety of issues including assisting in finding grants. Meanwhile Shell’s foundation also provides funding and PR to Envirofit. Organizations such as the Clean Cooking Alliance and the Himalayan Stove Project have been assisting in distribution and PR channels as well.


Cost Structure:

Envirofit markets to base of the pyramid customers such as those in India making between $2 and $7 as well as other low income households in developing countries. They pay to manufacture the stoves, distribute them, advertise the company. They also pay for research, facilities, and staff in the various countries they are active in.

Revenue Streams:

There are several different methods by which Envirofit generates revenue. They accept donations and also offer a “carbon credit” program where both individuals and companies are able to donate via this program that allows lower income families to subsidize their purchase of Envirofit’s products. The sale of these stoves generates revenue. Envirofit also offers a service known as SmartGas where users pay by the amount of gas they use and have the tanks and gas delivered to their homes.


Envirofit mostly sells to retailers within countries, and allows anyone to apply to become a distributor. In addition, its governmental and community based partners serve as distributors and increase awareness in the various countries it operates in. It has its own services and employees in various regions to help operate SmartGas in addition to other aspects of their business.

Key resources:

Envirofit’s resources are vast. It has an extremely large network of partners including many government agencies and corporate partnerships. It also includes its human capital in the form of its employees. They also own several patents for their products. In addition, their scientists and engineers are constantly researching and developing their product as well which has great value.


Key Activities:

Research and Development: Envirofit International has a division of researchers and engineers that work together as a research and development department to continually improve upon the products that the organization distributes. This team develops different types of cooking stoves that suit different customer segments.


Impact Monitoring: Envirofit International follows up with its customers to ensure that each stove that they sell is creating a positive impact and that they are satisfied with the product they have received. This division feeds into the research and development segment of the organization, as the feedback that the company receives from customers can be used to refine the products that they sell and can be used to research and develop new avenues of products.


Design for Adoption: Before the stoves are produced on a large scale to be distributed to customers, Envirofit International tests each new stove design where they “focus, group test, and survey over 2,000 people”. This activity is used to ensure that the products that they produce are ideal for the customers that they are trying to serve.


Production for Scale: Since Envirofit International makes products that are sold globally, in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, it is extremely important that the production process is closely inspected. Each stage of production includes steps that are taken to check the quality of the materials used.


Customer Care: The Customer Care portion of Envirofit International serves as a means of providing the customer base with a source of educating themselves on how to use clean cookstoves, as well as serving as a branch that can be a contact point for customer concerns and questions.


Extensive Distribution: Envirofit International aims to be able to reach the most amount of customers via partnering with many different businesses that are both large scale and local to ensure that they can distribute their products in both rural and urban environments. They partner with last mile entrepreneurs. According to Business Insider, the Last Mile Problem results from the inefficiencies that make delivery to the doorstep very difficult. Partnering with enterprises that specialize in this area mean that they can take steps to ensure a more effective distribution system.

Value Propositions:

The value that Envirofit International proposes to its customers is that with purchasing an Envirofit Cookstove, they will reduce the amount of fuel required to prepare a week’s worth of meals, and at the same time health risks such as asthma caused from too much smoke intake will also be reduced. Essentially, the value to the customer is that over time, they will reduce the amount of money and other resources spent on fuel and on medical costs that come with dealing with the adverse effects of cooking over an open flame. According to Food Safety News, there are a very large amount of health risks associated with open flame and hearth cooking in homes, especially in homes with young children. The smoke and other particles produced from burning the fuel can cause an array of diseases such as asthma and even life threatening conditions such as pneumonia.


Customer Relationship:

Envirofit does a lot to maintain its relationship with its customers. Some of these strategies include creating a center that is aimed at educating the customer base on the problem of efficient cookstoves and on how to properly operate their products if the customer base has any issues. The firm also strengthens its relationship with its customers by creating and developing products that are affordable and improve the quality of life of the customer base, promising to be more energy efficient and reduce the health risks associated with cooking over open flames.


Customer Segments:

East Africa: Envirofit claims to be the leading cooking stove distributor in the East African region. This region includes nations such as Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The organization aims to market their products towards both family professional uses in order to increase the efficiency with which the region uses energy to prepare meals.


West Africa: Envirofit serves nations in the Western region of Africa, including nations such as Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, and Gambia. The organization aims to distribute their products to customers who wish to increase the efficiency with which they prepare meals as well as light their homes.


Latin America: In the western hemisphere, Envirofit distributes their products to Honduras, Mexico, and several countries in South America.



  1. Dolan, Shelagh. “The Challenges of Last Mile Logistics & Delivery Technology Solutions.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 10 May 2018,
  2. “CSR Programs | Off Grid Appliances | Clean Cooking Stoves.” Envirofit,
  3. “Harmful Hearths: Open-Fire Cooking Threatens Lives.” Food Safety News, 31 Jan. 2011,
  4. Narapareddy, Vijaya. “Envirofit International: Cracking the BoP Market Blue Ocean Strategy Case Solution.” Blue Ocean University, Blue Ocean University, 5 Dec. 2018,
  5. Bauer, T. (2011). Enabling Market-Driven Technology (Innovations Case Narrative: Envirofit International). innovations, 6(3), 93-102.

Takeaways from Guy Kawasaki, Business Canvas

Four takeaways from Guy Kawasaki’s talk:

  1. Focus on creating meaning and not on creating profit. This excerpt from Kawasaki’s speech resonates with me and my project goal because meaning and purpose are deeply ingrained in the overall objectives of Project Plastikan. Our project is still in its infancy stages, and to hear a business expert preach to not worry about making a profit at first is a relief on the rest of the objectives that our team must accomplish. Keeping our eyes set on creating meaning will ensure that we will create the maximum amount of social and environmental impact in Malabon, and with hope, globally.
  2. Don’t listen to the bozos. I believe that an important aspect of life and success in general stems from an ability to understand what advice is worth following. This can come from a better understanding of both those who give you advice and of yourself and your weaknesses. If you do not have a good grasp on your own shortcomings and weaknesses, then any advice given to you will either not seem useful at all, or any advice will seem useful even if it may not be very helpful.
  3. Persistence and being confident in yourself. While this was not a direct lesson of his speech, Kawasaki demonstrated this personally when the moderators of the event were trying to get him off stage and to finish his talk. He showed this with lines like “what are they going to do? Not invite me back next year?” and other similar statements. He finished what he started. He was confident in himself and persistent enough to wish to finish out his speech, and his persistence paid off, because he was able to go over the time limit and finish his speech. This is relevant to Project Plastikan because our venture involves dealing with multiple organizations that can be described as lethargic, and require persistence to get the most from them. Additionally, confidence in ourselves and that what we are trying to accomplish is meaningful will prove advantageous because e will be able to project this confidence and gain the attention and favor of individuals that can help our venture grow and flourish.
  4. Invest in people. I firmly believe that the success of projects depends most on the individuals who work for the project, and any other factor takes a backseat. It does not matter how many advantages the project may have, if the people behind the venture are not willing to put in the work to see the product succeed, then the project will eventually fall flat of what it could be. People are the greatest asset of a venture, and directly determine whether a project can maintain its meaning and impact while still succeeding and growing.


Business Model Canvas: (in partnership with Devin)


Key Partners: UPD, Paradise Village Women’s Co-op, Vice Mayor’s Office, Lehigh University

Cost Structure: Developing and transporting machines, Powering machines, Rent for space being utilized

Revenue Streams: Selling the products produced by the machines

Channels: Local markets or to companies depending on the type of product produced

Key resources: human resources (women of co-op), machines


Key Activities: Collecting Plastic waste, operating machines, maintaining machines, selling products from machine process, designing molds for new products

Value Propositions: The products produced from the machines are significantly more valuable than the inputs, the value in the products also borrows from the fact that buying the products is reducing plastic waste and at the same time supporting impoverished women

Customer Relationship: Since the women in the co-op who will vend these products will be a part of the community, the venture will have a very close relationship with its customers. The customers can feel good that they are supporting the reduction of plastic waste and the empowerment of the women in the co-op.

Customer Segments: Customer segments include potential customers who wish to make a difference in the world by using their purchasing power to reduce the plastic waste in the philippines. Additionally, another segment is those who wish to support the innovation and creativity of the women in the co-op. Lastly, the customer base will remain in the local community of Malabon, Manila, but after future success may expand to other provinces of the Philippines and eventually to a more global market.

Target Customers, Hypotheses, and What I Bring to My Team


Ten non-obvious assumptions about our target customers that need to be validated are the following:

  1. The women in our co-op are able to learn how to operate the plastic recycling machines that we will produce for them.
  2. The women are willing to learn how to operate these machines
  3. The members of the co-op in Manila will be able to gather the materials to produce the plastic goods.
  4. The women will have the knowledge and ability to be able to make a business from the tools we provide to them
  5. People in the Philippines will want to purchase up-cycled plastic materials.
  6. The women in the co-op will be able to come up with designs for potential products.
  7. The women will be able to outsource the creation of the injection molds for their products to a third party firm that will manufacture them for the co-op.
  8. The women will be able to conduct the business venture independently
  9. Recycled products will appeal to the markets in metro manila
  10. The plastics recycling organizations will want to supply the women’s co-op with plastic waste goods.

Ten hypotheses about our project that need to be tested during our fieldwork in the Philippines are the following:

  1. Middle aged women in Manila are able to learn to operate plastic recycling machines.
  2. Our machines can be operated by themselves
  3. Our machines can be maintained for a long period of time.
  4. The machines operate at a low energy cost that can be supported by the women’s co-op.
  5. The machines can use inputs such as raw plastic waste. (Plastic bottles, jugs, toys, etc.)
  6. The machines will be able to be fully operated by the women in the co-op center.
  7. The process that turns raw plastic waste into an upcycled plastic good will take less than a day.
  8. A large selection of different plastic waste materials can be effectively shredded down into easily melted pellets.
  9. The local religious organizations will be able to aid the women’s co-op in gathering plastic waste materials.
  10. The women’s co-op will be able to produce at least 5 different artisan plastic products from the machine process.


I think that I bring several different traits to my team. To start, I always try my best to maintain a positive attitude during team meetings and discussions, as well as try to keep the discussions and conversations light but effective. I believe that the tone of group meetings can play a very important role in engaging other team members in the discussion, as well as making the overall outcome of each discussion as effective and constructive as possible.

Additionally, I bring a willingness to adapt to new situations to my team. Throughout each week I am constantly thinking of and trying to implement new ideas into our project with the goal in mind of being as efficient and impactful as possible. I have no issues with shifting gears on something I may be working on, if that means that the project can make better progress. I think it vital for each team member to be able to juggle several tasks at the same time, as well as being able to evaluate what task needs the most attention at the moment and what tasks are not as high of a priority.

Third, I try to encourage excellence and growth in my teammates. It is extremely important for teams to encourage one another so as to ensure that each team member is working as productively as possible.

Additionally, I believe that I bring strong communication skills to my team project. I always make a strong effort to be clear when I speak to my team members and faculty mentors, as well as asking them to ask me to clarify my points when they are not as clear as they could be. When others are speaking, I do the same for them.

One weakness that I have noticed in myself as Project Plastikan has progressed is my lack of time management skills. Since our project team meets with the faculty mentors on Mondays at noon and the student team meets without the faculty members on Sunday night, I sometimes have trouble keeping my focus on the project in the middle of the week when Plastikan may not be the first thing on my mind. To combat this, I have begun setting reminders in my phone to remind myself to try to make progress on the project no matter how small the progress may be. Additionally, I try to set aside a certain amount of time each day to evaluate my personal progress and efficiency as it relates to the results of the project.

IRB Approvals and Developing a Logic Model

Project Plastikan does not require IRB approval, since the IRB board grants approval for research that studies human subjects. While our team’s research does involve humans, we are not directly studying them the way that say one of the medical care project teams may study humans for their research. Our project research will not be studying the women in the women’s co-op in Metro Manila, but instead will be focused on teaching these women how to use the machines, and will also be focused on invoking a creative and innovative spirit in the members of the co-op. The research that our team will be doing is more closely an investigation of the overall environment of the plastics pollution and waste crisis in both the world and the local area of Metro Manila. Additionally, our research is also focused on developing a comprehensive paper on the different types of recyclable plastics, their ability to be recycled as it pertains to our specific recycling process, and the possible products that can be produced using our specific machines. Put simply, the second branch of our research is focused on answering the question “what can we make with x plastics and y machines?”

Our team’s research is oriented to a much more material-based subject matter, but will also involve collaborating with multiple groups and organizations. Like most other things, it is possible that the goals and trajectories of Project Plastikan may evolve as time goes on, and in such a situation it’s possible that our team may wish to change our research deliverable and generate a paper on our experiences with attempting to effectively lead a workshop with middle aged women and what methods for educating them in a technical field are most effective and efficient. In this case, it would be important to seek the approval of the IRB, as this paper would require closely studying the women in the co-op and how they learn best. The women would play a much closer role to being subjects in a study, rather than serving as individuals who are motivated to learn about plastic recycling machines and to begin using their creativity and innovation skills to produce artisan goods or building materials to generate an income. An issue with this scenario is that as our team already has a plethora of things that we wish to accomplish in what little time we have to achieve all of our goals, that adding an additional area of research may prove to spread ourselves too thin to effectively accomplish any of our goals. However, as the project grows and matures, a possible research paper on the methods that are most effective in educating middle aged women in a technical process may be worthwhile to publish and show outside groups and organizations that we are doing tangible work.

The first element of the Project Plastikan logic model is the various inputs that the project requires. The first clear input is the source of recyclable plastics that will be put through the production process of the machines that we will build and will be eventually turned into the artisanal and industrial goods that can be sold from the women’s co-op. The other inputs to the venture will be the actual humans behind the operations of the machines- the members of the women’s co-op. These middle aged women will supply the human capital that will operate the machines and sell the goods that are produced.

The second element of the Project Plastikan logic model is the activities that will go on- the end goal is for these activities to be the research that goes into building the system from the ground up, as well as the actual production processes. The production process will include the entire cycle of taking in the plastic waste and using our four machines (extruder, compressor, shredder, and injection molder) to generate our output products. For our research, the activities will include working closely with the sustainable development team, the UPD teams, and additional local stakeholders in the plastics recycling arena to further optimize and enhance the process that we are laying out for the women’s co-op. Additionally, the second branch of the team’s research is to create the study on what can be made with a given array of plastics and our machines.

The outputs of the Project Plastikan come in two flavors- recycled plastic products in the form of artisanal goods and also in the form of industrial building materials. The artisan goods can be sold locally and internationally to buyers to earn a direct income for the members of the women’s co-op, and the industrial goods can be sold to local firms and organizations as stock materials for building and other industrial needs.

The last step of our logic model is the outcome as a result of the outputs. This aspect has two dimensions as well: to create an easily replicating process that will bit by bit put  a dent in the overall plastic recycling crisis in the philippines and in the world as a whole. Additionally, the second outcome of the project is to provide the members of the co-op with a steady source of income, thus empowering the women there by allowing them to harness their own creativity and innovation to generate income for themselves while helping the sustainable development of the local area.