Creating Social Value Blog / Food

A Living Case on FoodEx

Two of the most interesting people I know were in a room together this summer – and they let me sit in.

Marty Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Management at Babson, holds the Lewis Family Chair in Social Innovation, and teaches an MBA favorite: Extended Enterprise Management.  To call him a “systems thinker” is a grave understatement.  Listening to him think out loud is like a show at the Planetarium.

JD Kemp, one of our Storytellers at Babson Food Days last year, is co-founder of Crop Circle Kitchen and FoodEx.  JD and I have known each other for years, connected by Lee Kane – the Regional Forager and Eco Czar (yes, his real title) at Whole Foods Market North Atlantic Region.  JD’s distribution and logistics company FoodEx is a household name among many regional food entrepreneurs.

JD in front of a FoodEx truck. Photo Credit: Seedstock.

JD Kemp in front of a FoodEx truck. Photo Credit: Seedstock.

JD and Marty and fellow superlative professor Sinan Erzurumlu are working together on a teaching innovation called a “Living Case.”  A Living Case differs from a traditional paper case in that it’s not a static look at a business conundrum, frozen in a certain moment in time, with teaching notes to direct toward certain conclusions.

Instead, a Living Case is comprised of “video bricks,” short reels that play out certain views into the supply chain, company environment and characteristics, and system surrounding the enterprise.  The instructor of a Living Case can pick, choose, and arrange the video bricks in ways that make sense to what he or she aims to teach.  Case protagonists can be Skyped in for real-time consultation.

The greater purpose of the Case is to illustrate and deliver the case study in ways that are relevant to actual business life – that is, to expose the students to decision-making conditions that are accurately complex and uncertain, and that likely demand more questions than answers.

To complement the cutting-edge character of the Living Case, there is FoodEx, one of the most ambitious and interconnected business models that Food Sol has ever seen.  JD is looking to educate, influence and change behavior of multiple food-system stakeholders. Seedstock did a terrific piece on FoodEx, if you’re curious about the business.

For now, I’m just hungry to continue watching this Living Case unfold.