28 December 2019

21 December 2019

Mapping Corruption ~ Transparency to Opacity

Visual Capitalist's Chart of the Week maps Transparency International 2018 data about corruption perceptions worldwide...

13 December 2019

MIT Global Ventures ~ Emergent Newcos 2019!

Great to see all 29 final projects in our MIT Global+Development Ventures class this past Fall 2019, a joint-offering between MIT D-Lab, MIT Sloan School of Management, and MIT Media Arts & Sciences in the School of Architecture & Planning! My MIT Media Lab co-instructors Alex "Sandy" Pentland, Ramesh Raskar, and I are all keen to see where our students will take their projects next. Many have received MIT Sandbox support, others are Legatum Fellows or have Legatum Voyager grants over IAP/January 2020, most are entering MIT IDEAS and/or MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition Accelerate & Launch phases, and a few are engaging up-river in Harvard's President Innovation Challenge! And, of course, there's many more things to do beyond grant-seeking and contests, most especially actually founding, financing, and building these newcos! Here they are alphabetically...
  1. 1Room ~ Kenyan Affordable Personalized Learning System
  2. AiBaobao ~ Chinese Active Parenting Solutions
  3. Aqua ~ Argentinian Digital Banking
  4. AZEKI ~ African Designer Brand & Operational Solutions
  5. Co.Mig ~ Venezuelan Migrant Integration & Employment
  6. CON-DE ~ Architectural Material Reuse Solutions
  7. Corpus Law ~ Digital Accessible Legal Info
  8. CorruptionMonitor ~ Citizen Reporting Solutions
  9. Experimental Fund ~ Fast Harvard Student Project Funding
  10. Green Source ~ African Local Sustainble Fair Palm Oil 
  11. GRIA ~ African Snack Foods
  12. IT VC for EAC ~ East African ICT Investment Fund
  13. KAAN ~ Latam Retired Expat Co-Living Communities
  14. Kinderoo ~ Affordable Distributed Day Care Services
  15. mBody ~ Pakistani Girls Body Literacy
  16. Medical Records ~ Ownership & Transportability
  17. Molo ~ Cote d'Ivoire Pay-as-you-go LPG
  18. MYLA ~ Make Your Life Awesome Virtual Personal Assistant
  19. Mylea ~ Sustainable Fashion Materials
  20. OneBeat ~ Social Exercise Engagement
  21. Pandar ~ African Smallholder Farmer Informatics
  22. RateMonk ~ Indian Online Academic Ratings & Informatics
  23. Red Feather ~ Canadian Indigenous Certification & Products
  24. RISE ~ Colombian Rural Innovations for Solidarity Economies
  25. Salut ~ Brazilian Integrated Healthcare Services 
  26. TABIGO ~ Chinese Social Travel Planner
  27. Text4Health ~ Anonymous Sexual Health Services
  28. TOWARDS ~ Presentation Speech & Performance Coaching
  29. Wala ~ Ghanaian Blood Supply Solutions

09 December 2019

Trophic Cascade ~ Discovery & Eco-Regeneration

PBS Nature shares The Serengeti Rules episode on keystone species in ecosystems and the notion of a "trophic cascade" plus ultimately the prospect of ecosystem regeneration via "upgrading". These ecologists and natural scientists used "living labs" to better disentangle the complexities of biomes, for example, comparing tidepool life with and without starfish, pond life with and without bass fish, Scottish highlands with and without grazing sheep, parks with and without wolves, and kelp forests with and without sea otters.

08 December 2019

Circular Economies ~ From Trashflow to Cashflow

I've become increasingly intrigued by the circular economies idea wherein the classic linear material and energy flows going from source-to-sink are supplanted by recycling or reuse or waste-use material flow loops. Sarah Murray makes The case for a circular world in the recent FT Special Report on the Circular Economy...
"This is an approach to industrial and consumption systems that shifts from linear “take-make-dispose” models to circular ones that return what comes from nature to the production cycle. This means going back to the drawing board.  For example, Steelcase, the US office furniture maker, designs products with disassembly in mind. […] "we’re trying to, by design, keep things in the system as opposed to just reducing their negative impact,” […] For some companies, this has meant rethinking the business model. [Umcore made] the shift from mining operations to a business in refining, recycling and recovering speciality metals. […] DSM, a life sciences and materials sciences group [is] looking at how to recycle and reuse 100 per cent of carpets by making them from a single type of material, rather than from multiple materials. […] “People are frustrated by the extent of packaging and by having to throw a washing machine out after three years. Companies are responding —- that’s a big shift.”
In the WEF report Towards the circular economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply they spotlight -- and illustrate -- the material flows of a restorative industry system...
"First, a circular economy aims to design out waste. [...] Second, circularity introduces a strict differentiation between consumable and durable components of a product. [...] Third, the energy required to fuel this cycle should be renewable by nature."