Friday, October 2, 2015

Entry #10 - Makers

The maker movement has created a new emphasis on tinkering and experimenting.  Playing around with objects to bring your ideas into 3d whether that be starting from a sketch and then putting it together by hand or using a 3d printer to materialize an idea.

Towards those ends we want to challenge our students to create something with their hands that came from their own idea generation.  The simple act of turning some thing useless into something useful has a magical effect and stimulates the idea and opportunity process.  Many students need practice in this area as it is not often used in the college classroom.  Tinkering belongs in the entrepreneurial process and creativity while well exercised in early education needs equal attention and practice in lifelong learning.

For my example, I took tape, paper, scizzors, magazine articles and old packaging and created an idea journal in a former cheese box.  This physical manipulation from one form to another is an important part of transformation and an exercise in value creation.  There are many tools to learn how to do new things and I am especially recommending ehow and instructables as places to learn how to make and experiment following simple instructions provided by members of these communities and others like them.  Have fun!

Entry #10 of 10 - Idea Journal 2015 - Teacher's example

Entry #9 - 5 Social Problems and 5 Business Solutions (Pairs)

Social as being used for our course is addressing social issues not necessarily social media.  Though sometimes social media is used to communicate and raise awareness to social issues.  This post starts with asking questions...what social problems is the world facing today? What are those 5 that you want to research and see how people and places are coming up with business solutions to address these problems.

Let's start with a list of social issues facing the world:

Lack of Education
Child Welfare
Family Erosion
Animal Rights
Human Trafficking
Social Exclusion
Global Warming
Natural Disasters
and unfortunately the list can go on and on...

and turn it into a word cloud with

But simply thinking of all the problems the world faces will not solve them.  We can look for inspiration in social entrepreneurs and the organizations that support their development like th Skoll Foundation, Ashoka and NESsT.

Now I will pick 5 of these problems and try to show how social entrepreneurs are trying to solve them through social enterprise and social innovation...

Poverty is being addressed by many social enterprises but trying to create pathways out of the poverty cycle.  Providing seed money to in sma
ll amounts to start microenterprises is how microfinance concept began and led Muhammad Yunus to a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.  Yunus has spread the concept of social entrepreneurship and his reach has gone beyond his intial homeland of Bangladesh to many other parts of the world including his initiative Yunus Social Business Balkans.

Human Trafficking - Partnership for Freedom ran a social entrepreneurship idea competition to help identify ways in which victims of human trafficking could heal and engage in employment to reclaim their lives.  The results were discussed in a Jan 2014 Forbes magazine article.  I found another example of Neet's Sweets whose founder was a victim of human trafficking and now helps others through the bakery she runs with a social purpose.

Homelessness is a topic I have covered through blogs before so you can see more at the link provided which was written after I worked with the City of Zagreb to address some social issues right here in Croatia.  One of the most memorable ideas is the one called Hidden City Tours out of Barcelona which employs the homeless or previously homeless to give tours of the city as they know the city streets so well from living on them.

Aging and increasing life spans has lead to a shortage of housing and quality of life issues for those over 65 in communities across the globe.  The UK even has published a guide book to address health and social care businesses that might want to serve this demographic. An example of one is Amnick Social Enterprise which helps elderly in 3 main ways...teaches them IT, helps them get back into sports and provides a handyman assistance program.

Disabilities can be short term or long term but they create physical and mental challenges to leading a full participatory life.  People with disabilities often get left out of work and social groups and there are many organizations who are trying to solve this with business solutions.  Vedran Habel in Croatia is a chef and cooking teacher who has been working with the blind, wheelchair bound, hearing impaired and low mental capacity individuals and organizations as well as mainstream organizations to help educate and connect and include through hospitality and catering. He runs Center UNUO and offers dining workshops where persons with different abilities can come together and share through meals and learn more about reducing the challenges for those with disabilities toward fuller inclusion.

Entry #8 - Croatia Customized for Tourists from Entry #5

Each student's journal will refer back to the destination of origin of their international Barbie or Ken from entry#5.  Mine is from Scotland so I have selected some ways I would customize a tour of Croatia for visitors from Scotland.

I tend to believe in the 10% rule that people can handle and appreciate differences to a small degree (10% different and 90% familiar).  Therefore I have chosen elements of Croatia that someone from Scotland might enjoy because they are familiar to them.

Scots and Croats both love the sport of soccer so they might want to take a tour that includes playing soccer, attending soccer matches or visiting businesses and locations where current and former soccer stars hangout.

Croatia and Scotland have a rich history which includes castles. I would be sure to include a castle tour and include culinary classes for learning cooking under the bell "Peka" as well as rakija tastings.

The other option for a tour for Scots to Croatia would be cliff diving and adventure tourism to enjoy recreation and nature's beautiful landscapes all at once.

Entry #7 - Compare to Tech Companies

Tech company comparisons can take many directions. Compare two mobile apps, compare two competing web based companies, compare two high tech inventions.  I chose to focus on two gadgets that I found in the same article which were gift suggestions.

They both are tech gadgets that appeal to young with a retro feel.  Both appeared on list for Girls
Gifts for tech savvy.
Airweel Airboard - Combines technology with mobility and is similar to a Segway without bulk. Cost  599.95 British Pounds
Mini Arcade Machine - Shows there is a market for outdated technologies getting and updated simply by changing size and allowing a compact device to carry 240 video games. Cost 24.99 British Pounds

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Entry #6 - Health Plus

One of the other creative exercise we use in the course is Forced Relationships.  We take two words and try to create what that combination would joining two words together it can create unusual and fresh combinations.  Health sector is an amazing industry as quality of life issues lead to many innovations for prevention and treatment for body, mind and soul.

Here are the results of my own personal mashups.  While their almost a limitless set of outcomes its letting your original thought combined with research to explore new ideas and combinations that is the point of this entry.

Health and Agriculture makes me think of bee farmers and hive products.  While many may think of honey, I know from doing some bee tourism on the island of Ĺ olta that honey is one of the simpler products in the world of bees.  Royal Jelly, also known as bee milk, is one of the more elevated ingredients that are used in finer cosmetics like one of my current favorites by dr.Organic vein cream.

Health and Culture combo gets me thinking about the oldest pharmacies.  My father is a pharmacist by profession and a pharmacy was also the entrepreneurship venture he ran for over 25 years so its tied to my own culture but also to the first point which brought me to Croatia, my beloved Dubrovnik.  Dubrovnik has the oldest working pharmacy in Europe and is located in the beautiful grounds of the Franciscan monastery.

Health and Technology brings to mind the many on trend mobile apps being developed for this sector. In additon to being very practical in health care management they are also being used as personal management and motivation of fitness and exercise.  Many creative names for marketing purposes abound but one that caught my eye was "Couch to 5K" which helps lift one off the couch potatoe lifestyle and back in to a life of exercise towards a 5K run.

Health and Tourism while this is a fast growing sector also known as medical tourism, I find the plastic surgery tourism particularly fascinating.  I would hope to not fall into ever needing or wanting plastic surgery myself as I know it does not always improve on what nature and God provided but I do know that those who choose suffer stares and curiousity during the healing process.  Tourism therefore makes sense as clients of procedures can recover out of the watchful eye of neighbors in beautiful locations at reduced prices. 

Health and Social Impact...while organic products, old pharmacies, mobile health and medical tourism have been discussed so far its hard to imagine the level of healthcare of those left behind.  There are still many across the globe that suffer health issues due to poor sanitation conditions.  So for this last part of the post its important to note that proper toilet facilities are still in demand and access to them and basic supplies like soap, water and toilet tissue or lack thereof affect health conditions of the poor.

Entry #5 - CULTURE in a box

In this entry we try to supersize Barbie and put Culture in a box.  The Classic Ken or Barbie doll come in many variations including the international collection which has the iconic dolls dressed up in costumes to represent different cultures from around the world.  This is the starting point and each student was assigned a different country.  I chose to use Scottish Barbie as my starting point with the task of coming up with 5 items to include in her box that would represent Scotland and its culture.

I then for this blog to on the challenge to add Scottish Ken as her cultural counterpart...
and somehow like a peacock he is more decorative than his Barbie counterpart.  The 5 items we would add for the pair to enhance their cultural representation of their homeland, in this case Scotland would be...

Book of Poetry by Robert Burns
Robert Burns Book - Select Poems   

A Classic Flask for carrying assorted beverages in style
and instrument of choice, the bagpipes


Entry #4 - Agriculture from Farm to...

Norman Rockwell's The County Agent (1948), 

When I imagine farms like probably the average person I think of it as an idyllic place with fields full of food and green pastures for free range animals but as many documentaries have reported this is not in tune with modern reality of factory farms.  However, food quality and food mile awareness has risen to make consumers rethink where their food comes from.  In this blog post, I think its also important to rethink what grows on farms and where does it go....the places are certainly not limited to the table.

In class, I used the example of Christmas tree farms to bring attention to the fact that other things are farmed not necessarily to be eaten.  The main product of a Christmas tree farm are trees for decorative purposes in celebration of the Christmas holiday which can be used for up to 2 months and then where do they go.  The National Christmas Tree Association actively collects consumer data and their latest surveys indicate that over a billion dollars is spent annual on real christmas trees. Most trees end up at the curb while others with roots are replanted. There is an emphasis now placed on recycling christmas trees.

Author's Original (September, 2015). TLOZec
While students should choose from a wide variety of other farms (fruit, nuts, dairy, livestock, non-edible crops used in other industries like textiles and pharmceuticals, etc.). I will explain furthe where do Christmas trees go to once they leave the farm.

There are various businesses that sprout up from Christmas tree farms...

The farm themselves can be destination from simple choose and cut....where customers can come and pick out the tree and cut it from the property themselves to complete winter wonderlands where the christmas tree farms host events and create magical family experiences around the Christmas holidays. Some activities even include hayrides, petting zoo to full family vacation spots.

For others the christmas tree farms cut and ship off their trees locally, nationally and even internationally.  These distributed trees make their way into pop-up tree sales in parking lots as well as into wholesale and retail chains.  They go on to be decorated with simple popcorn strings and lights to elaborate homemade and store bought creations.  Stylists can even come in and decorate your whole holiday home including indoor and outdoor decor for those with an extensive budget. 

However after the holidays the destiny of many trees becomes mulch which are trees ground to chips for use in spring gardening projects. Others are turning the wood from the trees into rustic furniture and others are created blocks of eco briquettes for use as energy in the fireplaces.  One of the most unusual uses I found was for natural disaster prevention where coastal cities bury christmas trees in their sand dunes to make more stable solutions during storms as flood prevention along the coast.