Impact Detroit: 72 hours and 80 humans

This week’s episode on It’s Hot in Here highlights the 2016 Ross School of Business iMpact Challenge and how social entrepreneurship food ventures can address food access and affordability issues in Detroit.  

As part of Ross’s MBA orientation program, incoming students receive a 72-hour challenge to work intensely with their newly formed MBA section, to ideate, create, and pitch a profitable venture with a social mission in Detroit. It begins with a series of workshops, community conversations, team challenges, and pitch competitions that engage more than 400 students across five academic programs at Ross.

In the studio we welcome Jeff Domagala, Associate Director for MBA Programs at the Sanger Leadership Center, who helped create this year’s iMpact challenge; Jeff Tenza, former IHIH host/engineer, who co-led a tour of students to interview Ann Arbor food entrepreneurs at Argus Farm Stop, Washtenaw Food Hub, and Tilian Farm Development Center.  Remaining mics were surrounded by members of the incoming winning section, Section 5: Vaish Shastry,  Nancy McDermott, and John Barbour.

We discuss the theme, the experience, the people, and the way a group of initial strangers developed a program which utilizes “cosmetically challenged” food to create prepared meals served on wheels.

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A Soundtrack for Complex Systems

Loren Demerath is a Professor of Sociology at Centenary College of Louisiana. With the help professors from Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Economics, Philosophy, and English, Demerath recently taught a course entitled: Explaining the Emergence of Order: the Universe, Life, Consciousness, and Society to introduce students to the study of complexity across disciplines. Here at the University of Michigan check out the Center for the Study of Complex Systems. 

In his book, Explaining Culture: The Social Pursuit of Subjective Order, Demerath describes how culture is a self-organizing phenomenon that develops according to principles of information processing. He has also used those principles with computer scientist Mark Goadrich to create an agent-based simulation of the emergence of social order. Demerath is now working on a book entitled, Good Energy: Explaining the Emergence of Order and Virtue, that describes how contributing to naturally evolving orders is inherently fulfilling.

How do such orders require us to transmit to one another information about suffering, struggle, environmental damage and emotional priorities? From dustbowl farming to the feeling of heartbreak, answers come through songs as wide ranging as “You are my Sunshine” (penned in Shreveport) and “The Lady is a Tramp.” Listen to Loren’s daughter Rafaela sing “Just Ask,” which she heard recently in Austin performed live  by the group Lake Street Dive, out of Boston. They started in 2004 with “free country” music (think free-jazz) but recently signed with Nonesuch to release Side Pony. Take a listen to the Jackson 5 cover which Loren mentioned on air as an example of what complexity theorists call “novelty.”  We just call it hot.

Carbon Confidential: Calculating and Changing our Footprints

img_3729_720Economist Ghislain Dubois does lots of quantitative analyses of environmental policy and practice, including field studies of households in Europe, and specialized treatments of large datasets. He has taught in Universities from Versailles to the Sorbonne and Aix en Provence and is currently working on projects about the future of water resources in the middle east, as well as running games and surveys to assist families, home owners and businesses with carbon reduction scenarios for their future.

Ghislain came of age in the wake of the first Rio summit, and Continue reading Carbon Confidential: Calculating and Changing our Footprints