Innovation and Design for Global Grand Challenges
School: Duke University
Registration Link: REGISTER HERE
Start Date: September 12, 2016 (5 Weeks Long)
Workload: 8-10 Hours Per Week
Instructor: Alex Dehgan
Credentials: Diplomat…intrapreneur…scholar…visionary: Those are just a few of the labels associated with Dehgan, a Fulbright Scholar who earned his BA in Zoology at Duke University before collecting a JD at the University of California-Hastings and a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago. Currently the CEO of Conservation X Labs and the Chanier Innovator in Residence at Duke University, Dehgan was previously the chief scientist at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Here, he launched the agency’s first independent Office of Science & Technology, where he built an 80 person team with a $100 million dollar budget. In the process, he developed the agency’s Grand Challenges for Development program to leverage scientific and business solutions to address major global issues. Before hat, he was an advisor on nonproliferation in Iraq; a diplomacy fellow, policy planner, and senior scientist at the U.S. Department in State; and head of the Wildlife Conservation Center’s efforts in Afghanistan. He was named an Icon of Science by Seed magazine and earned a Merit Honor Award at the Department State. Dehgan is also the author of The Snow Leopard Startup.
Graded: Students must finish all required assignments, including a concluding startup proposal, to complete the course.
Description: The World is accelerating, as the developing world pushes tens of millions into the middle class. This has created new demands that exert pressure on the water and food supplies, energy consumption, and environmental resources. It potentially forces some hard choices —and potentially painful tradeoffs —between conservation and development. In response, Dehgan has created a course that focuses on how science and technology can partner with entrepreneurial endeavors and finance to create new business models and products to address the biggest and most complex global challenges. The course places special emphasis on design and innovation processes, with the content covering “constructing innovation pipelines, principals of design and engineering unique to the developing world and to conservation (Design for the Other 90%), on harnessing and developing disruptive technologies, principles of behavior and marketing, and on overcoming the challenges with setting up social ventures.” Taught through video lectures, interviews with thought leaders, and case readings of successful (and failed) enterprises, the course challenges assumptions about the developing world. Even more, it addresses how the world has grown more connected — and how emerging levers, ranging from crowdsourcing to 3D printing —are enabling innovators to better scale their efforts at a lower cost.
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