The Lewis Institute
June is long gone, July feels like a distant memory and August is more than halfway over. Where did the summer go? It sure flew by, especially over here in Lunder Admission Center, but it passed with many visitors and countless opportunities for professional development. Over the course of the summer, our staff invited various offices around campus to present at our weekly staff meetings in hopes of learning more about events/programs on campus to pass along to YOU, the students! In the coming weeks I’ll be featuring different offices on campus in order to provide you with the fantastic resources which make Babson, the one and the only.
Among many hidden gems at Babson is The Lewis Institute. Founded in July 2010 as part of a generous gift from Alan and Harriet Lewis of Grand Circle Corporation, The Lewis Institute for Social Innovation is, “the GPS for navigating social innovation and redefining expectations for business by moving from social responsibility to social relevance.” Social innovation is one of the up-and-coming areas where Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® can make a valued difference and The Lewis Institute aids in creating a path for students, faculty, and corporate partners looking to break into this field. At its core, The Lewis Institute is a think/action tank designed to be an incubator for students to create great economic and social value everywhere.
Partnering with The Lewis Institute is Babson Social Innovation Lab which puts the emerging ideas from The Lewis Institute into action. Thanks to a two-year $500,000 grant from the Toyota Foundation, the Lab brings students and mentors together in hopes to build a better world. The Lab utilizes Babson’s Uncommon Table methodology which features “smart action” by assembling multiple audiences to collaborate on current world dilemmas. Check out three current projects the Lab is participating in for the 2013-2014 school year:
Food Solutions (Food Sol): While two billion people in the world are starving, one billion are over-consuming, and the population keeps growing. How we manufacture, grow, and distribute food is a problem. Food Sol seeks to influence a world where all people can fully nourish themselves, their families, and their communities. This will require influencing and changing business, government, community, and consumer behavior around food. The business of food and its impact on the world is complex; Food Sol will focus on dilemmas that can be addressed through entrepreneurship and social innovation.
- Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship: The Babson Social Innovation Lab is supporting this joint course between Babson and the Olin School of Engineering. The goal is to incorporate principles of lean thinking as an integral part of the design process. Students will travel nationally and internationally to work with community partners in developing and deploying innovations that generate income and meet daily human needs.
- Micro Supply Chain: Entrepreneurs and artisans in developing countries face barriers due to lack of infrastructure, systematic burdens, corruption, inefficient government, and limited markets. This partnership among MIT; Made By Survivors, an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking; and the Babson Social Innovation Lab will create mobile applications for managing micro supply chains that will change the future for marginalized people in developing countries by enabling them to succeed in the global marketplace.
For more information on social innovation initiatives, please check out Babson’s Creating Social Value Blog where faculty, student, and global thought leaders share ideas and information around defining and creating social value across business, government, community organizations, and new ventures.