10/29 Class Hyacinths and Tenets

Tenet 1: Interdependence:

Definition: All systems depend on other systems or subsystems to successfully meet their responsibilities

Example: solving the issue of high maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone as the Safe motherhood team cannot lower rates just by themselves, they rely on the MOH, other healthcare innovations, education, etc.

Tenet 2: Holism:

Definition: A system exists as a sum of its parts. None of the parts could ever accomplish the goal that the system can accomplish as a whole. 

Example: PlasTech: we need manufacturers, designers, and legal workers who all can come together to create the opportunity to make a profit off of recycling plastics. None of them could ever do it on their own. Our “HQ” centralizes the opportunity. 

Tenet 3: Multifinality:

Definition: Each subsystem meets its own goal, while the system as a whole also meets its goal

Example: PlasTech: Cleaning up plastic from local neighborhoods and/or preventing plastic from getting into the ocean and/or collecting plastic from companies that would have been thrown into a landfill.

Tenet 4: Equifinality:

Definition: This is essentially the opposite of multifinality. Similar solutions can be created from different systemic inputs/processes as well as understanding that a goal can be achieved in multiple ways or paths.

Example: Philippines plastics environment: collecting waste plastic and turning it into art versus recycling it into usable products. Both solutions lock up the plastic waste and prevent it from going into the ocean

Tenet 5: Differentiation:

Definition: Each independent part is different (in complexity, specialization, focus), but they are all working to reach the overall system goal – they are reliant on each other in order to form the system.


    • Subsystems of the PlasTech system:
      • Sourcing plastic
        • Relationship management systems
      • Identifying customers
        • Relationship management systems
      • Converting plastic waste into value-added products
        • Manufacturing facility design
        • Mold design
        • Setting up recycling facilities
          • Legal auditing
          • Personnel training
          • Machine manufacturing

Tenet 6: Regulation:

Definition: Checks and balances that alert failure and success points necessary to understand how to optimize the system, a feedback mechanism for accountability

Example: Ukweli: the forms that Hassan uses to track test strip user data. It ensures he is doing his job properly and is closer to achieving the end goal of reducing maternal mortality.

Tenet 7: Abstraction:

Definition: Systems-level thinking that moves away from little details and towards the bigger picture and how your system is working to affect it

Example: Malnutrition team supplements: There are tons of different types of iron supplements but some have more side effects (like upset stomach) and some are more expensive. While we first thought, let’s just get the cheapest option to reduce cost, we stepped back and thought that because we are trying to make kids healthier, we need to sacrifice cost for fewer side effects.

Tenet 8: Leverage Points

Definition: An aspect in a system that when deciding upon or working with, can ultimately create/lead to a large change

Example: Charging a fee for mothers who give birth at home ($5 fine) which encourages the mothers to go to clinics to give birth

Emergence: This occurs when a whole takes on properties that its individual parts don’t exhibit on their own. The platform Kiva is a great example of this, as the internet, small scale philanthropists, and communities or individuals in need of low-interest loans are all able to come together on the platform and create a network that is far greater than any of its individual parts at solving funding challenges.



Our solution to the water hyacinth problem is to have the fisherman market to their customers a 2 for 1 package deal consisting of both fish and briquettes to cook the fish. The venture would be able to sell their briquettes to farmers who are looking to partner with them. The partnership would mean fishermen get briquettes at a reduced cost. This deal makes sense as people will need to cook the fish in order to consume it and as such are buying briquettes anyways. Having the vendors sell the fish and the briquettes together makes it more convenient for all parts along the supply chain. The package deal is cheaper than buying the two items separately (because of the partnership), and so the lower price convinces the customer to buy from that fisherman who offers the deal. Fishermen who don’t choose to be a part of the partnership will suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and then want to be involved as they will likely begin to lose customers. The partnership could have monthly or weekly meetings between the fishermen and the briquette venture to make sure selling strategies are effective. The meetings would also make sure the venture is clearing parts of the river that are conducive to fishing, improving the fisherman’s yield.


Multifinality is present as the venture and fishermen are engaging in a partnership, but the output from the partnership is different for both entities. Although both desire to increase their profits, they are achieving this via different means. Along the same lines, holism is exhibited as the package deal can’t exist without both entities. The lower price and increased convenience for the customers are a result of the partnership. Finally, regulation is demonstrated by having weekly meetings between the fishermen and venture.


Case 4: Neem

Case 1:


Part 1:

  • Azadirachta indica (Neem) a tree indigenous to India that is sacred
  • It is used for medical purposes, food production, toiletries, fuel, and pesticides
  • The neem industry in India employs about 100k people
  • Pesticides are used widely across India
  • Chetan lives in Agra, India and operates a small business of neem tree products including: pesticides, skin creams, contraceptives, lamp oil and many other products
  • Chetan took over his family owned business (of 7 generations) after receiving a high school education
  • Chetan employs 60 people in manufacturing, scientific analysis, quality control and sales
  • Chetan does not know the exact name of the neem seed extract, Azadirachtin
  • Tom Johnson’s company (OOPS) invested $5M to develop neem based pesticides and conduct safety and performance tests over the last decade after he realized its commercial applications from a visit to India
  • OOPS has a worldwide patent through the EPA to sell pesticides based off neem
  • OOPS made a net profit of $12.5M during his first year of operation
  • OOPS wants to begin selling their product in India
  • There are economies of scale at play because OOPS is selling product all over the world and will likely put Chetan (and other small businesses) out of business
  • OOPS is demanding a royalty from Chetan’s business and other small industries that make neem-based insecticides


The only “ethical” dilemma at play is if OOPS is willing to destroy small businesses such as Chetan’s in India by entering the market and charging royalties for their patent. Meanwhile in Chetan’s court, it is important to consider whether he has any rights to stop OOPS domination.


Parts 2 and 3:


  • Chetan
    • Chetan wants his family business to continue unabated by OOPS’ royalties and to continue employing his workers while generating a profit
  • OOPS
    • OOPS wants to increase their profit margins and have their intellectual property respected by expanding to the Indian market and charging royalties for the use of pesticides using neem.
  • Tom Johnson
    • Tom would like to make a profit and for OOPS to be successful. He may have a desire to give back to Indians as he came in and placed a patent on an indigenous plant being used for generations
  • Chetan’s Family
    • Desire for the business’ legacy to continue
  • Chetan’s employees (60+)
    • They simply want a stable job to provide them income for their families
  • OOPS investors
    • Want the company to act ethically but more importantly ensure they generate as large a profit as possible
  • Other small Indian ventures that will have to pay royalties
    • They have the same motivations as Chetan essentially, to continue generating a profit while employing their workers
  • Indian People
    • Would like the price of neem based products to be as cheap as possible while ensuring their economy isn’t negatively impacted in any meaningful way


Part 4:


Potential Situations:


There is no clear decision maker in this case, these are potential outcomes/answers to the ethical dilemma posed


  1. The patent is binding and OOPS has no obligation to bend on its enforcement so they do not. Their products enter the market and edge any small neem based businesses out while lowering the price of neem based products overall.
    1. Pros: Prices for neem based products lower, OOPS’ profit increases
    2. Cons: countless small businesses are shut down and many of their employees are left jobless
    3. Ethical Principle: Consequence Based: OOPS is only interested in their profit margin, as a corporation should be, and so chooses to enforce their intellectual property and expand into the Indian market
  2. Chetan and fellow Indians appeal directly to the government to place harsh enough tariffs on OOPS to ensure they cannot enter the market due to unprofitability and/or  to not require respecting OOPS right to royalties
    1. Pros: the Indian based neem industry is protected resulting in thousands of jobs saved
    2. Cons: no increased profit for OOPS, the Indian government angers the US, Decreased efficiency in the economy
    3. Ethical Principle: Duty-based thinking, the Indian government likely views it as their duty to protect their own citizens’ livelihoods over the interests of a foreign company
  3. OOPS doesn’t desire negative press and so enters the industry but doesn’t charge royalties to Indian companies who sell neem based pesticides
    1. Pros: the company could be viewed as magnanimous while still enabling themselves to generate a profit and eventually edge the other neem producers out of the market
    2. Cons: Loss of profit for OOPS, setting dangerous precedent not to uphold their own intellectual property
    3. Ethical Principle: Virtue-based, the company may believe quickly removing 100,000 Indians from their jobs is not a desirable image for the company to have and so they present them with the opportunity to have some time before they are ran out of the market

Part 5: 


Any class I’ve ever taken has stressed the importance of generating profit by a company and how important intellectual property rights are. Saying companies exist to generate profit is simply stating a fact of capitalism, while IP rights are a way of ensuring there is some sort of order in world financial markets rather than simple robbery.


Part 6: 


I’m writing what is the most likely situation to occur here in the absence of a direct viewpoint. OOPS is a corporation and therefore exists solely to generate a profit. Therefore, situation 1 will occur where OOPS enters the market, charges royalties for their IP and edges out any competition in the market. Situation 2 is unlikely as the Indian and American governments have close ties, and India would not wish to jeopardize that for so few of its citizens. Meanwhile situation 3 is treating OOPS as a caring entity, which it is not, and therefore will not occur barring some outside factor unmentioned in the case (such as a major scandal requiring brand rehabilitation)


Part 7:


I’ll write this from OOPS’ perspective.


OOPS will generate a substantial economic profit which will allow their business to grow exponentially. As such they will be able to hire new employees and expand operations, including increasing research and development to grow the technological solutions of their business. The expanded growth of neem will impact the environment negatively in unforeseeable ways. The business will be seen as a cold, ruthless corporation that exists to generate their shareholders money, which they are.


Case 2: 


Step 1:


  • OOPS launched 6 months ago, crushing the market
  • OOPS has over 20 different neem based products being sold in supermarkets 
  • Soap is the most successful 
  • OOPS wrapper features a photo of Tom Johnson
  • Chetans wrapper features a photo of his great grandfather, who is a local legend
  • Chetan has tried to confince Tom to leave the market or collaborate
  • Tom will not leave the market 
  • Tom is open to collaboration if it will make him money
  • Chetans business if suffering and he will have to lay off half his staff by the end of the month
  • His employees and their families have worked with him for generations
  • Chetan and his family will not suffer as much from the declining business because of their well diversified investments
  • Chetan’s employees know he met with Tom 
  • Some believe Chetan has cut a deal with Tom
  • The employees feel cheated and abandoned 
  • Some employees are resigned to their fate
  • Some are confident Chetan will find a way out 
  • Some want to physically want to beat Chetan up 


OOPS is dominating the neem product industry and small business owners like Chetan and his employees are in danger of going bankrupt and want tom to leave the market or collaborate. Chetan needs to find some way to save his business and/or his family legacy.


Step 3: 

  1. OOPS
    1. They want to keep their business growing and keep control over the market 
  2. Tom
    1. He wants OOPS to grow and make more money by providing neem products for indians. 
  3. Chetan
    1. His family legacy is on the line and after generations working for his family, he has a duty to his employees to ensure they remain employed
  4. Chetan’s family
    1. They don’t want their legacy to be hurt
  5. Chetan’s employees
    1. Personal: they’re long term employees and so are their relatives so it’s a personal business to them. 
    2. Professional: they need the money to make a living so they can’t be fired. 
  6. Employees’ family
    1. personal/professional: they need their breadwinners to make money to provide at home otherwise they could starve and die. 
  7. Neem customers
    1. Personal: Desire to get neem products at the cheapest price
  8. Other small neem product businesses
    1. Professional: Continue making money/grow profits
    2. Personal: Keep their employees’ jobs
  9. Neem growers/gardeners 
    1. persona/Professional: want to make money selling neem 


Step 4:

Potential Solution 1: Chetan closes his business and negotiates with Tom to find jobs for he and his employees at OOPS

  • • How does it solve the problem?
    • o Pros: Chetan’s employees have jobs 
    • o Cons: Chetan’s family legacy is dead
  • • Implications on relationships
    • o Short-term: Chetan will maintain his relationship with his employees and generate a relationship with Tom and OOPS, his relationship with his family will sour
    • o Long-term:Chetan’s relationship with his employees may remain strong, but as his business and Tom’s continue to dominate the market, there could be increased tensions with other Indian Neem businesses and their employees, his relationship with his family may not recover
  • • Implications on the venture
    • o Short-term: Chetan’s venture as we know it will cease to exist but his employees will retain jobs
    • o Long-term: Same as above


Potential Solution 2: Cut a deal with Tom to use Chetans’ business’ image alongside Tom’s to further penetrate the Indian market while associating OOPS with respecting Indian traditions. Chetan receives compensation from this deal (for using his brand) and his employees receive jobs.

  • • How does it solve the problem?
    • o Pros: Chetan gets to continue employing his workers, and his family’s legacy will continue on 
    • o Cons: Will likely have to surrender business capital and/or oversight. Chetan won’t have much of a say in how the business is run. 
  • • Implications on relationships
    • o Short-term: Chetan will maintain his relationship with his employees and generate a relationship with Tom and OOPS
    • o Long-term: Chetan’s relationship with his employees may remain strong, but as his business and Tom’s continue to dominate the market, there could be increased tensions with other Indian Neem businesses and their employees
  • • Implications on the venture
    • o Short-term: No layoffs will occur, management will likely change
    • o Long-term: the employees’ jobs will be safe, the overall business structure will be permanently altered, they will edge out other small Neem businesses


Potential Solution 3: Chetan and Tom do nothing. Chetan will help his employees find jobs (letters of rec). 

  • • How does it solve the problem? 
    • o Pros: It eliminates the tension between Tom and Cheetan. Chetan’s employees can find new jobs and provide for their families. At least some of the employees will remain employed.
    • o Cons: Chetan’s legacy dies he loses any chance at a profitable venture
  • • Implications on relationships
    • o Short-term: Tom and Chetan likely will have reduced tensions, most of his former employees will hate and distrust him
    • o Long-term: Tom and Chetan will have no reason to continue a relationship, his employees won’t forget and his community will shun him
  • • Implications on the venture
    • o Short-term: It dies
    • o Long-term: It’s dead


Step 5:


In any community, it is important to save face and be respected, especially in one as well established as Chetan’s.


Step 6:


Doing nothing, as in solution 3, is an incredibly poor option. Although Chetan will still have personal financial support. His employees do not, and in a community as close as his, it would be foolish to simply accept putting people out of work. Solution 1 isn’t as poor, as his employees still retain their jobs, and Chetan still gets to utilize his expertise from within Tom’s organization. However, he will be abandoning his family legacy. Solution 2 is the proper solution for Chetan. OOPS, internationally, may be viewed as crushing small businesses in the Indian market and likely will be looking for some sort of brand rehabilitation that doesn’t cost them money. Chetan can offer his great grandfather’s image to go alongside Tom’s on OOPS’ packaging in exchange for jobs for his employees. In this scenario, both parties will receive what they desire, a positive international appearance for OOPS and Chetan’s continuing family legacy.


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


Chetan simply should pitch this solution in his negotiations with Tom. OOPS’ manufacturing in India will be expanded or moved to Chetan’s community shortly thereafter and all new products will be produced with both Tom and Chetan’s great grandfather’s image.


Case Study 3: Porridge


Step 1:

I have received a grant to establish a women’s cooperative in East Africa. The donor’s intention is to improve the nutritional status of children in the region as well as to improve the livelihood of rural households. In this region, the growth of 35% of the children is stunted and there is also a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The disease is commonly spread through breastfeeding and in this region, women tend to breastfeed their children until around two years of age. The longer a mother breastfeeds her child, the more likely they are to contract the disease.

Traditionally, a gruel made of maize and bananas is used as a supplement to breastfeeding beginning around two months of age. The perception of the gruel is that it helps the children’s nutrition when in reality it does not. The grant will provide enough capital to begin producing a nutritious, shelf-stable porridge. 500 women from contiguous locations have indicated interest in joining the cooperative but are skeptical of the porridge’s use as an early weaning food. Pesticides are used on the crops that will be used in the making of the porridge that could have adverse health effects of the children.

The ethical question in this case is multifaceted. It is essentially whether it is ethical to introduce the new supplement meant to reduce childhood malnourishment and the spread of HIV/AIDS even though it may risk other health issues. Implementing the solution in a culturally effective and sensitive way is vital as well.


Steps 2 and 3:


  • Me: Want to develop a well-functioning cooperative that will aid the rural African community it is based in and make a lasting positive impact
  • Children: Want good tasting foods and to be breastfed
  • Mothers: Want to raise healthy children and have social acceptance
  • Women in the cooperative: A desire to supplement their household incomes and use that money to improve the lives of their children
  • Local Farmers: Want to sell their crops for a profit
  • Donor: Wants money to be utilized properly in a manner that creates an impact and builds reputation for themselves

Step 4:

Potential Solution 1:

  • Found the women’s cooperative, and implement an education program consisting of workshops, informative advertising and developing other programs such as support groups for mothers detailing the recommended child nourishment methods, their effectiveness levels and comparing and contrasting the benefits of the porridge with other available means.
  • Pros: This method would have the potential to generate positive behavioral change in the mothers as well as generate create positive press within the communities for the cooperative
  • Cons: This solution would be costly to implement and hard to gauge its effectiveness
  • Ethical Principle: Duty-based, as educating the community about the product and its potential effects are imperative to treat the community with respect

Potential Solution 2:

  • Recruit elders in the community to extoll the benefits of the porridge to the other mothers within the community while explaining the potential negative effects
  • Pros: Elders are more respected and will be in touch with the community, it could lead to a palpable change in the community’s behavior, this approach doesn’t involve any direct intervention on our parts within the communities
  • Cons: Still have to convince the elders which will take time and money and will be difficult to replicate on a community to community basis
  • Ethical Principle: Consequence-based thinking, as utilizing elders to convince the community the pros of the porridge outweigh any potential cons is realizing a well-nourished child with a slight potential for health issues from pesticides is far better than a malnourished one with the potential to contract AIDS/HIV

Potential Solution 3:

  • Attempt to grow organic vegetables via the cooperative to use for the porridge.
  • Pros: The porridge would not be made with pesticide laced crops
  • Cons: Prohibitively expensive, will anger local farmers, increases difficulty of running the cooperative, crops may be destroyed without the fertilizer
  • Ethical Principle: Virtue-based thinking, providing ingredients with no risk of harm would be the right thing to do morally.


Step 5:

Through my experience in the Philippines, I’ve come to learn that it’s important to get ventures off the ground in an economically sustainable way. It isn’t possible to make everyone happy 100% of the time, especially when enterprises are first launching. Even if a solution appears rose colored as it is the morally correct choice, it often isn’t economically or culturally feasible.


Step 6:

The best solution is solution number 2. Both solutions 1 and 2 are not feasible. Implementing a widescale education program would stretch out the cooperative too far and likely not reach as many people as desired. Meanwhile, the cooperative growing their own vegetables is not economically feasible, it would anger the local farmers, and has the potential to fail outright through crop failure. Solution 2 utilizes the East African cultural norm of respecting your elders for the advantage of the cooperative. This will cause the mothers to adopt the porridge as a nutritional supplement that could potentially cause health issues for their children but will be saving a far greater amount from the plights of malnourishment and HIV/AIDS.


Step 7:

The venture will continue to utilize locally sourced crops using potentially harmful pesticides, and the technology to process this will remain unchanged. Economically, more porridge will be sold, and women will be employed by the cooperative based on the greater amount of porridge. Socially, overall health of the community’s children will improve, with the potential for a few health issues due to the pesticides utilized in the crops. Environmentally, there will be little to no change in the venture





Part 1:

6 months after launching, the cooperative is very successful and the women are overwhelmingly satisfied. The women make a satisfactory wage of $3 a day for 9 hours of work. The women are forced to provide their wages to their husbands, which they are not necessarily opposed to, however the husbands waste the money on frivolous things instead of supplementing the household’s income. We are still a board member on the cooperative for the next 6 months and we are loved and respected by the community. The other 6 members of the board are local women who want things to change. The porridge isn’t sold to anyone in the community, but rather is sold to grocery stores and bought in cities.

The ethical issue at play is that the twin social objectives of improving families’ livelihoods and providing nutritious foods aren’t being met. Determining how to implement a strategy to ensure these two objectives are met is the problem at hand.


Parts 2 and 3:

  • Me: Desire for the community to improve their overall health and leave a sustainable cooperative in the community that maintains my own reputation
  • Board members of cooperative: Want to avoid angering husbands of workers, but still generate positive change
  • Women working in the cooperative: want to supplement their households’ livelihoods to improve their children’s’ nutrition
  • Children and families of workers: desire good health
  • Husbands of women working in co-op: want to feel powerful and purchase frivolous things
  • Families in cities: desire good health


Part 4:


Potential solution 1:

  • Rather than paying the women entirely in cash, 50% of their paycheck is presented to them in porridge at a value slightly below market rate.
  • Pros: Provides both twin outcomes of improving families’ livelihoods and providing them with nutritious foods.
  • Cons: Men can waste the rest of the money still, provides a potential for a black market to spring up where the families sell the porridge to make more cash


Potential solution 2:

  • Provide a program where workers can opt in to having a portion of their salary taken to finance the operation of programs such as a food bank and medical programs.
  • Pros: The workers would have the option of whether they wanted to set a portion of their salaries aside for this purpose, it would create a tangible benefit
  • Cons: It would take many years of accumulating capital before any tangible program could come to fruition, husbands could refuse to allow wives to opt into program


Potential solution 3:

  • Stamp pacifiers on the cash provided to the women to ensure that if the men spend the money on frivolous things, they will be embarrassed by spending money their wives made
  • Pros: Men likely will be more reluctant to spend the money provided to the women and will allow the money to be spent on other things such as nutritious food for children
  • Cons: This is extremely likely to anger the husbands and may lead to them refusing to allow their wives to work and even potential abuse of the women


Part 5:

I have little personal experience or reference for this decision. However, many students in the group I had the opportunity to discuss this case with had recently come back from Sierra Leone and were kind enough to provide me with some context on African familial relationships.


Part 6:

Potential solution 3 can be thrown out immediately. It is foolish to consider a path that would involve direct physical harm to come to anyone, especially your own workers. Potential solution number 2 meanwhile has the potential to help the community in the long run, but the time frame is too far out and the women would get disenchanted with the process far before enough capital was accumulated to implement anything of value. The proper choice is potential solution 1. It addresses the twin social impacts desired from the co-op in an immediate fashion and ensures no one is harmed as a result of our decision. There may unfortunately be some who choose to sell the porridge for more cash on the black market, but this potential con is outweighed by providing a greater amount of the women with a truly nutritious food for their children. All parties are happy as they all receive what they desire.


Part 7:

I will go to the board and suggest this change in policy. If the policy is passed, all women will be notified two weeks in advance of the shift in policy. As the policy takes effect, a certain amount of the porridge the women create will be set aside for them to take home to their families later. This solution is extremely simple to implement, which can often be a symbol of a strong idea.


  • Co-op is very successful and the women are overwhelmingly satisfied
    • Livelihood improvement was not attained
      • It’s going to the husbands instead of the women or children
    • Empowerment was attained by the co-op
    • Men take all the money from the women
    • The money goes to alcohol and “frivolous things” instead of supporting their children
  • We are still a board member for 6 months and we are loved and respected by the community
  • Other 6 board members are local women who also want things to change but they are not necessarily for or against taking away the money from the men
  • Not achieving strategic social outcomes of improving the nutritional status of children and the livelihoods of rural households

Fall Blog Post #3 – Kenya

Jack is an American student who is staying at a youth center in Kenya for 5 months while he works on a social venture. He lives with the children and works closely with the staff of the center. Youths 14 and under are receiving gifts provided by an international donor. The staff members had allocated gifts to each child to be given out in a ceremony. Jack was to give out the gifts. As he gave the children the gifts, 4 did not receive gifts due to a lack of supplies and oversight by the staff members. Jack found black hats at the bottom of the box and gave them to the children who didn’t receive gifts. They were sad. The staff didn’t care.

The issue is that four children feel alienated from their peers and the staff has no drive to rectify the situation. Jack was seen as being the gift-giver so they naturally place the blame on him and their relationship will potentially be frayed by this act. However, Jack must tread carefully not to anger the staff members in any potential solution he comes up with as the staff members have already mocked him for caring too much about the children’s feelings.

Jack is a stakeholder. He would like to have a good relationship with both the staff and the children of the youth center. This would help both in his professional capacity and his personal capacity while in country.

The staff of the youth center are stakeholders. They wish for their youth center to be a respectable establishment. They are concerned with spending their limited time on the major initiatives that matter rather than focusing on small perceived slights

The children are stakeholders. They simply don’t want to feel left out and alienated from their peers.

Option 1: Apologize to the children. Explain to the children the gifts were provided by an international donor and they unfortunately didn’t send enough. The pros of this option are that the children will be told the truth and the staff will not be angry at Jack’s decision in any way. The con is that the children likely will still be sad that they didn’t receive a gift and weren’t thought of. Short-term, the staff’s relationship with Jack won’t be impacted, while the four children who didn’t receive gifts will be angry/sad at Jack for a time, potentially negatively impacting this time at the center. Long-term, the relationship with the staff still won’t be affected, while the relationship with the children will eventually recover as long as Jack continues to treat them well and put effort into their relationship.

Option 2: Buy gifts for the children and hold a special ceremony for them. This will cost Jack a small amount of money, but will be rather easy to carry out. The pros of this option are that the children will potentially be satisfied that they received their ceremony. However the cons are that the staff will feel like Jack has blown the situation out of proportion, the children may feel singled out in a negative way, and the other children may become jealous they aren’t involved in the second ceremony. Short-term, the staff will be angry with Jack while the 4 children likely will be satisfied. Long-term, the staff and Jack’s relationship will still be frayed, and the children likely will forget about the incident shortly thereafter.

Option 3: Purchase a black hat and wear it around. This will cost Jack an extremely small amount of money and will be very easy to carry out. The pros of this option are the children will grow to be satisfied with their ‘presents’ as they will likely think the hat is cool if Jack wears it around. Additionally, the relationship with the staff won’t be frayed in any way. The con of this solution is it could swing the pendulum the other way and make the other children jealous they don’t have a black hat. Short-term, the children will be satisfied and the staff will not have any issue with Jack’s actions. Long-term, the children’s relationship with Jack will have a strong foundation and his relationship with the staff will not be impacted.

Option 3 is the best solution for Jack. It provides positive results for all of the stakeholders: with the staff not being impacted, Jack’s relationship with the children being positively impacted, and the children not feeling left out. The other options will lead to some sort of negative impact. Meanwhile, the ease of implementing this solution is also a positive. All that would need to occur is for Jack to purchase a black hat, and wear it around periodically for the next five months. Although there is a potential for the other children to feel left out, this is unlikely as they all received a ceremony and other gifts that the 4 children did not.

Fall Blog Post #2: Lesotho

In this case study, I am helming a team of researchers traveling to different communities in the Sub-Saharan country of Lesotho. We will be there for two weeks testing community water sources for a disease-causing pathogen. We will have to rely on the community members to assist us in showing us there water sources. The main dilemma in this study is whether or not our study would constitute “hit and run” research that wouldn’t benefit the community and therefore have an uneven distribution of benefits.

The following are stakeholders in conducting this study:

  1. My team of academic researchers and I: Our motivation is to publish a credible study that will make an impact on the scientific community and inspire real change.
  2. The academic institution we represent: The institution we are a part of is our primary financial backer, and as such will hope to minimize the cost of the trip while maximizing the value. They hope that our work will lead to published academic works and create tangible change in the process.
  3. Community members: The members of the community would like to eliminate the disease causing pathogen in their water source as they want their community to be as safe as possible for all its members. They also would like to ensure they are fairly compensated for any work they take part in.
  4. Community Chief/Different levels of government: The chief or leader of the community wants the best for his community members as it his job not to allow anyone to be taken advantage of or harmed by any outsiders. He is concerned for the safety of everyone under his care. The different levels of government share these concerns, they are just slightly changed at each level up the ladder. In addition the national government in particular is concerned about their image in the international community and don’t simply wish to be viewed as a charity case.
  5. Publication: The publication our research will be submitted in desires genuine, quality research that will expand the scientific community’s collective knowledge. They also desire a study that will be marketable and help promote the publication.
  6. Chemists that would will make any additives to add to the water: At the end of our research, there will be experts who have to turn our revelations into an actual chemical solution to kill the pathogens in the water. Their primary goal is for us to collect quality research to ensure they have enough information to create this solution. In addition, they would like a demonstrated market for their solution, and eventually a financial incentive for creating and distributing the solution.

My group in class formulated three solutions to this ethical dilemma, in each case we opted to complete the research.

Solution A: The research team would have the community members show us their water sources and allow us to collect samples. In exchange, we would provide them with fair market-value monetary compensation for their time

Solution B: The research team would still be shown by the community members to their water sources. However, we would offer no monetary compensation and instead simply share with them our gratitude and assure them the completion of a successful study is in their best interest.

Solution C: We would be shown by the community members to their water sources. Rather than offering monetary compensation we would specifically mention their community in our research and give them all due credit for their assistance in our study.

The best course of action in this scenario is Solution A. Although it is unfortunate to have to spend money on a task we could receive help with for free, it is imperative we collect quality research. This can’t be guaranteed without fair-value compensation. Continuing with this course of action ensures both major parties, the researchers and the community members, are both compensated properly, with quality research and real monetary value. Utilizing consequence-based thinking in this scenario makes the most sense, as relying simply on virtue or duty and hoping the community members are willing to help us out of the goodness of their hearts is not practical when so much is at stake. We are only in country two weeks and must gather as much quality research as possible. Additionally, although all methods imply (in a perfect world) a successful study leading to a successful additive to fight the pathogen, this is far from guaranteed to occur. In the event it doesn’t, the community is left with no tangible benefit from the study, and simply left with feeling they had provided good will to strangers.

This decision will require more expenses during the trip from our principle financial backers, i.e. the institution, who likely won’t be happy that we chose to pay this community rather than opting for an option that would’ve required no monetary compensation. However, it will ensure quality research as well as fair compensation for all parties in this study. With the research being of high quality, we should have a very compelling case for publication, that would lead to a great amount of innovation in the chemical additive space to create a solution to fight these pathogens. In the end, all parties will be satisfied with the result and the study will be a success following Solution A.


Fall Blog Post #1

Top three things I learned


  1. The importance of adaptability was something I learned this summer. For a large portion of our fieldwork in the Philippines we didn’t have a finalized business framework, then suddenly we did and we had to roll with it. Being willing to recognize better ideas and immediately run with them is important in essentially any field if you want to make lasting change. I will continue to work on Plastech with both a more discerning and more critical mind.
  2. I learned how important networking is to starting up a venture. We had many one on one interviews with potential stakeholders that have set us up with an extensive network in the Philippines. This kind of network is invaluable for a business just getting its feet wet. In the future, I intend to view most interactions in the lens of networking which should allow me to develop a larger amount of relationships that I can leverage in the future.
  3. I better learned how to handle team dynamics. As our team split up into smaller elements, friction naturally developed. Learning to straddle the line between two opposing groups and help bring them together was an experience I won’t forget. I hope to continue serving as a sort of mediator between opposing groups in the future.


Professional Development


  1. The realization of simply how important networking is to any professional development warrants a second mention. The people we met, from Presidents of Plastics companies to Nanays, all had something valuable to offer us, from insights to connections and more. I’ll certainly continue to develop this skill in the future and utilize it to my advantage.
  2. Our group was fortunate enough to have a paper accepted for the GHTC conference. In helping to write and edit this paper, I gained an understanding of how academic papers should be structured. We also submitted a Venturewell grant application for the qualifications phase. Developing that grant similarly broadened my skills in writing grant applications, Specifically for grant writing, I hope to translate those skills to my work at the UN where I’d like to help the organization I represent, Center for Public Health, gain more funding for the work they’re doing.
  3. Learning to balance respectful conversation with pleasant conversation was an interesting takeaway for me as well. When you meet with important people, it’s important to remember they’re still people while also remembering they deserve your respect. That certainly sounds basic, and I don’t mean to imply you shouldn’t respect certain people, I’m merely referring to when people are faced with the opportunity to meet the Mr. Co’s of the world and the balance conversation should have in those situations. I believe I’ve grasped that balance well and that should hopefully serve me well in the future in any pivotal meeting I may have.


Personal Growth


  1. In the Philippines, I grew better at hitting the ground running with a project, in addition to working in high stress environments. When you only have two and a half weeks in a country to make as much progress as possible, you can’t lollygag and try to wait until you’re over your jetlag to start work. The high stress, ten thousand tasks thrown at you every day type of environment always appeared daunting. Yet when you’re in it, you learn to adjust and even enjoy it quite quickly. Having that experience will ensure I don’t shirk away from those types of environments in the future.
  2. Working together in such a high stress environment served to bring the whole Plastech team much closer together. Although there was certainly tension at a variety of times, coming out the other side of that tension strengthened our bonds and friendships. Working on projects with friends, when there is mutual respect and a commitment to a final goal can be an extremely enjoyable and productive endeavor, and I hope that’s what this project continues to be for a long time to come.
  3. In addition to strengthening bonds with people I already knew, I also had the opportunity to meet a new group of people who I quickly grew to know and love. The Filipino students and faculty from UPD we had a chance to work with were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met anywhere. I believe I made truly long lasting bonds with several of the students and I hope we stay in touch for years down the line.


Envirofit BMC

By: Andy Fugh and Devin Yeatter

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, www.businessinsider.com/last-mile-delivery-shipping-explained.
  2. “CSR Programs | Off Grid Appliances | Clean Cooking Stoves.” Envirofit, envirofit.org/our-story/#our-story.
  3. “Harmful Hearths: Open-Fire Cooking Threatens Lives.” Food Safety News, 31 Jan. 2011, www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/01/harmful-hearths-open-fire-cooking-threatens-lives/.
  4. Narapareddy, Vijaya. “Envirofit International: Cracking the BoP Market Blue Ocean Strategy Case Solution.” Blue Ocean University, Blue Ocean University, 5 Dec. 2018, blueoceanuniversity.com/frontpage/blueoceancase/7785-envirofit-bop.
  5. Bauer, T. (2011). Enabling Market-Driven Technology (Innovations Case Narrative: Envirofit International). innovations, 6(3), 93-102.

Kawasaki and BMC

By Devin Yeatter

Kawasaki’s suggestion of making a mantra was well taken. I realized Project Plastikan hasn’t necessarily had a set way of explaining what we were all about other than each individual member’s near paragraph long explanation of the project. So having a simple mantra we can all preach would be very helpful.

We just had the opportunity to choose two people who would be assisting the project at Mountaintop this summer and beyond. In our process, we chose to “hire infected people” as Guy Kawasaki would say. The two students we chose seemed to display a genuine passion for the project, and to ensure the project works out, it will be important to continue to rely on infected people rather than those who aren’t

I enjoyed the idea of the 10/20/30 rule for presentations. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a minimalist presentation wise, so this idea takes it to another level. I hope as we continue in the project, and especially in regard to our final presentation, we are able to stick to this minimalist style Kawasaki advocates for.

We’ve done a good job of following a MAT without even consciously realizing that was what we had been doing. Now that we understand the idea of assigning tasks based on assumptions in pursuit of milestones, it should allow our project to remain on track.

Finally, the idea of simply getting going resonates with myself. Rather than sitting around planning what to do, it’s key to just get started. With our project being so young, we have so much to be doing at any given time that simply sitting around on our hands isn’t an option if we want to succeed.



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.

Assumptions, Hypotheses and Contributions

By Devin Yeatter

List ten non-obvious assumptions about your target customers (or organizations) that you need to validate

  1. The women of the Paradise Village co-op have the ability to learn how to utilize the machines we are developing
  2. They will be able to innovate and develop product designs
  3. Upon developing these products, they will be able to find outlets to ensure they can manufacture them, i.e. creating or finding a way to acquire injection molds of the products
  4. The products they develop will find a market base in the Philippines
  5. Recycled products will be marketable within the Philippines
  6. The government (especially local) will be willing to cooperate and assist our project and the women’s co-op
  7. We have chosen the correct people to be present at the women’s co-op during our workshop
  8. Ramon will help us in developing our ecosystem and fleshing out our contacts
  9. Locally made products will be valued more highly
  10. We know who will be supplying the plastic waste/how we will be acquiring it

List ten hypotheses about your project that you need to test during fieldwork

  1. Dividing workshop participants into smaller groups will be more effective in teaching them
  2. Jumping right into working with the machines after a very brief introduction is the best method of teaching/knowledge acquisition
  3. The machines will work exactly as planned with minimal problems
  4. The machines can be run day and night
  5. The machines can be operated with just the women of the co-op
  6. We will be able to effectively sort the plastic waste to avoid cross contamination
  7. The goods the women will create will either be very durable or able to reenter the recycling cycle again easily
  8. The rented space for the machines will have enough electricity and be big enough to house them
  9. Creating a recycling system that is effective for one community will lead to its spread in neighboring communities
  10. The process of conducting a workshop with the women’s co-op will be different than the process of conducting a workshop in the US for college students

What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific

I believe currently my experience writing proposals for grants and writing experience in general is quite helpful to the team as we begin working in earnest on our paper. In addition, as the general lead on working with the sus dev class on the completion of our ecosystem map, I believe some of the experience I have working in business environments (although less than desired) is still helpful at this juncture. I believe I bring a generally positive attitude about the project and life in general to the team, seeing the work ahead of us and knowing we have the ability to do it and do it well. This attitude can be helpful when we have great amounts of work ahead and could become discouraged at the prospect.

I believe this project has reinforced my ability to see to see the forest for the trees and look beyond the day to day tasks and towards the goal and end result being worked towards. With such an early stage project, this has become especially important. At the beginning of the project I believed myself to be good at communication within groups and above average at time management. However, this semester has seen quite a few issues arise within both of these aspects of myself as my schedule grew more full than I anticipated. My abilities within both of these aspects need to continue improving, especially with an increase in workload overall. I know I am more than able to handle all that is on my plate and I’m passionate about everything I’ve been working on, it’s just a matter of budgeting my time better and staying on top of communicating with all the other stakeholders who are invested in the work I am involved in.


IRB and Logic Model

As part of Project Plastikan, we won’t need to apply for IRB approval. We won’t be conducting research on the women of the co-op in the Philippines, instead, we’ll just be helping them develop a recycling system.

Our inputs will include the knowledge and time of all the various stakeholders in our project including the students at Lehigh and at UPD. We will also utilize materials to build the machines, in addition to plastics to run through the process.

Our outputs will reach the women’s co-op in the Philippines and the surrounding community of Malabon. The students will develop the various pieces of knowledge that come from planning and implementing various parts of the recycling project. The actual products being developed from the machines are still to be determined, but those will be our most tangible outputs. This will most likely be delivered to retailers. We intend to write a paper detailing the types of products that can be made with the machines and the best kinds of plastics to develop the products with. We will also be conducting a workshop both at Lehigh and in the Philippines which will involve disseminating knowledge to others.

Our outcomes will include the knowledge gained by all the students and the women of the community in the Philippines. In the short term, the women of the community will hopefully gain further economic stability and be able to provide for their families more. The plastic collected from the community will hopefully lead to a cleaner community overall. If this system works, we hope communities other than the one in Malabon will also begin to see the value in the program and more plastics will begin to be recycled in the Philippines, making a larger impact on the plastics problem in the country as a whole.