Who are PlasTech Venture’s Strategic Partnerships with?

  • 10 partnerships formed before or after GSIF experience
    • UPD faculty
      • Ma’am Jill & Sir Tito forming the initial concept of project and prototyping machines, providing a space to work in, hosting our activities, connecting us to other UPD alumni workers, touring us around town. We pushed into a form and vision with them. We needed their local knowledge, and they needed our perspective and energy.
      • This would be stronger with more legitimized roles, responsibilities and rights outlined and defined between us.
    • UPD alumni
      • Collaborating on vision and design, assisted in cultural disparities, translated, pushed understanding and validation of the business model. We needed each other to ground our various romantic perspectives for implementation. Salaries, accountability, and transparency would help this relationship.
    • UPD current students
      • Assisting in various small activities that we did not have expertise in. They got work experience and we got help. We did not need each other, but we helped each other.
      • Giving more roles/responsibilities would have helped to strengthen this partnership.
    • PPIA
      • Pushing our understanding of the state of plastics waste production and recycling manufacturing ecosystems and consumer expectations for plastic products in the Philippines. This is a symbiotic relationship because he wants to help support the plastics recycling ecosystem functionality of the Philippines, and we want to have realistic business model goals and expectations.
    • Ramone Augustines
      • This partnership was formed as Ramone was a Lehigh Industrial systems engineering graduate and lives in the Philippines. Ramone helped us by giving us a tour of his plastic film plant. The tour gave us an understanding of how a standard plastic plant operates and some details to consider when we make our own facilities. He has also hinted at the fact that his company might be available to give us capital.
      • This is a very new partnership, but so far I’m not entirely sure if this relationship is mutually beneficial. I guess if he funds us then that would benefit us because we get money and it would benefit him because he can capitalize on CSR
    • Victor Paterno
      • Victor owns the 7/11 franchise in the Philippines. Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to foster a strong partnership with him, however, there is still an opportunity to grow such a partnership here. This would benefit us greatly, as the 7/11 franchise is a market that sells a large quantity of single-use plastic products.
      • An effective way of strengthening this partnership would be to meet him or contact him.
    • Ludwig Federigan
      • We met with Ludwig and he was very excited by our product and shared vision. He connected us with various industry partners and is on board to continue promoting our project to his extensive network. He has helped us based on our vision of improving the Philippines’ environment even though we have not assisted him in any concrete fashion. This will likely grow stronger the more full-fledged our venture becomes.
    • Manam
      • Manam represents our first customer and an early adopter in our vision. They are graciously giving us their patience in developing our enterprise and machines before we are able to sell them the coasters they are purchasing. They want to tell their story as an environmentally conscious company, while we want to start our venture on solid footing.
      • This partnership will be strengthened as Plastech continues to develop and when we actually fulfill their order.
    • Malabon women
      • These women gave us insight into the feasibility of the local residents to perform recycling manufacturing roles efficiently and effectively. They also gave us insights into the municipality-level recycling ecosystems that we now intend on sourcing plastics from and setting up manufacturing facilities in.
      • Giving these women more roles and responsibilities to begin earning a livelihood and making an impact in the community.
    • Malabon Gov
      • Facilitating relations with the Malabon women. They helped us to understand that there are other communities similarly organized as Malabon. We are helping them by giving them an opportunity to buy into the opportunity of creating livelihood opportunities in their own cities while reducing plastic waste.
      • Strengthening the partnership could happen by giving them a recycling facility.


  • Coalition Name: Clean Seas
    • Vision: reduce plastic waste by having more plastic be recycled than produced
    • Mission: establish the standard in recycling infrastructure for developing countries
      • Do this by offering people a means of filling in existing gaps in large scale recycling industry using our micro facilities
    • Who is in our coalition:
      • PPIA President
      • UPD HEED
      • Malabon Likhaan
      • Malabon Government Officials
      • Filipino Gov Reps from waste management
      • Funding partner that will invest for facilities
    • Our vast network of small scale plastic recycling facilities
    • The communities that have adopted the facilities
    • Support and inclusion in our network of relevant NGO’s such as Plastic Tides etc
    • Governmental support and frameworks to help our facilities flourish
    • Philippines Hospitality– customer for products

GSIF Conceptual Framework

In class, our team came up with a conceptual framework for the whole GSIF program. We decided to highlight the cyclical patterns: between academic (theory) and the real world (praxis). We centered the word “Impact” because that is a core goal of GISF, and it connects students, advisors, communities, and partners.

“GSIF is the Avenue for Change”

Team Dynamics Analysis/Reflection


  • Personal Goals
    • Andy: Gain experience in mechanical engineering and use what I’ve learned in the classroom to improve the world around me
    • Rob: Understand how to balance personal life with a professional commitment
    • Ellie: Combine my passions in sustainability, gender equality, and mechanical engineering to make a long lasting impact on the people involved in this project
    • Devin: Learn where my skill set fits into the bigger picture of plastics waste recycling
  • Project Goal: “All plastic should be treated as a resource”. Our goal is to reduce plastic waste and elevate the livelihoods of those affected by the plastic waste crisis.
  • Metrics for Success
    • Tons of plastic locked up into new, higher value products
    • “Livelihoods Elevated” through employment numbers


  • Who is responsible for which deliverables?
    • We divide work based on a combination of skill sets and interests. The more administrative work is divided evenly. For example, Devin and Rob will make and present the first presentation while Andy and Ellie will make and present the final presentation.
  • Which deliverables require collaboration, subgroups and individual work? Who does each person depend on to succeed?
    • Machine testing, breaking and repairing is a team effort. That being said, Andy and Ellie are in charge of pushing that front of the project. Rob and Devin are more concentrated on paper content development and article content development. We can not have paper content development without a better understanding of the limitations of our machines.
  • Do we need a project manager to coordinate?
    • Yes. We are not good at completing work without deadlines. We are not good at self-assigning deadlines.


  • Decision making process: consensus, majority, loudest, etc?
    • The person who has the most energy and best argument is listened to the most. Sustaining that level of energy is incredibly difficult, making many decisions a default to the most logical conclusion.
  • Focus on key timely discussions versus updates
    • This is a conversation that we need to have. Key timely discussions seem to happen every week, which makes separating the most important insights from the filler insights quite difficult. Updates are necessary to sustain forward-moving improvement.
  • Meeting roles: scribe, facilitator, time keeper, etc.
    • Rob/Devin: Scribes
    • Andy/Ellie: Facilitators
  • Communication
    • Frequency, Time. Location:
      • Once a week at 4 pm in Wilbur Power House
      • Daily on Slack
    • Type of technology: Slack
    • Expectations for responsiveness: within a 24 hour window


  • What is the diversity of the team?
    • College of Business, College of Engineering and College of Arts and Science students are represented on this team.
  • Team name
    • PlasTech Solutions

Creativity and Systems Thinking; Emergence

The definition of creativity: creativity is one’s ability to come up with original ideas

Where does creativity happen: 

  1. Having aha moments, can’t force it to happen
  2. Asking yourself questions
  3. Changing your environment to draw on unrelated 
  4. Immersing yourself in challenge
  5. Chain of events

What is flight to a bird?

  1. Survival 
  2. Needs to be taught


PART 1:  8 things, define and example for each

  1. Interdependence →  how factors (ideas, goals, people, projects) in a relating system all impact each other; it is a pyramid from the bottom up
    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 Rev 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. 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. all teams: fieldwork
  4. Equifinality → understanding that a goal can be achieved in a variety of ways/ paths
    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. Malnutrition team breaking up and assigning roles after week 1 in Sierra Leanne
      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. 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. Safe Motherhood: trying to inspire grassroots 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. 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


PART 2:  Solution to hyacinth removal.

  • 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 

Grassroots Diplomacy: Indian Neem Oil Products


  • Neem is a sacred plant indigenous to India that has been used for over 2,000 years for medicine, food, fuel and as a pesticide
  • 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 Chetan’s business



  • OOPS
    • Prof: Make a profit to benefit shareholders and employees
    • Personal: Make as much profit as possible
  • Chetan
    • Prof: Keep his employees employed and his family business running
    • Personal: Honor his family by running this business
  • Chetan’s employees
    • Prof: Want to make a living
    • Personal: 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- while this will keep the employees and local economy sustained, it will not protect the family business and the legacy the business had in local culture.
  • Work with locals to create a new formula and have a shared patent- this would allow both companies to work together and thus preserve both businesses, however, this is not very likely to actually happen. The larger company will most likely just absorb the smaller one like what happened in the first solution. The legal enforcement and logistics behind this solution also make it much more difficult and ineffective. Additionally, there might not be a new and better patent out there.
  • Try and persuade the government to not accept the subsidized goods- the family business will be protected but this might also cause tension between the US and India which wouldn’t be good for anyone. And, who’s to say that the Indian gov’t would even go for that deal.



The best course of action would be to adopt the first proposed solution. The large US company will be able to create jobs for Chetan’s current employees and provide Neem products to the people who want them. Working in a large and profitable company will likely raise the standard of living of employees.


  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:


  • OOPS is crushing the Indian market
  • Chetans wrapper features his grandfather, a local legend
  • OOPS wrapper features Tom
  • Chetan will have to lay off many employees at current state
  • Tom open to merging if it means more profit
  • Chetan was seen having meetings with Tom and employees believe Chetan is a sell out



See part one, Chetan additionally wants to save face


  1. OOPS absorbs Chetan’s Business- this is good because the employees and livelihoods of the employees may be preserved, but the employees might not be treated as well as they were when working under Chetan.
  2. Chetan lays off employees and tries to remain in the market- one pro to this option is that some employees can maintain their way of life, but bad because the employees who got laid off now don’t have a livelihood.
  3. Chetan sues OOPS in an attempt to regain footing in the market- he may be able to separate his buisiness from OOPS in a way that they both have niche markets, however, the cost of a lawsuit is probably too much for Chetan to pay and there is only unstable grounds on which Chetan can sue.


Choose Best Solution:

Option 1 is the best solution for both Chetan and his employees. Although Chetan will probably face backlash from his employees (they’ll say he is a sellout), this is the best financial outcome for Chetan and his employees. OOPS might recognize them for their expertise and they may be able to get advisory/manager roles within the company.


  1. Chetan sends an email to the company that the larger company wishes to merger with the family owned one and manages expectations while explaining why this is a good move for their company.
  2. Begin the legal and financial processes of merging/absorbing the two companies together, making sure to specify that Chetan and his employees get good roles within the larger company.
  3. Bring the employees over from the family owned business
  4. Chetan will begin his leadership position and maintains his old company values with his old employees.