REFRESCH (Gabon)

The project is part of the University of Michigan-funded REFRESCH program, which has proposed the development of the REFRESCH Institute for Sustainability Education (RISE) in Lambaréné, Gabon. REFRESCH refers to Researching Fresh Solutions to the Energy/Water/Food Challenge in Resource Constrained Environments and is consortium of educators and researchers working to improve the lives of those living in resource-constrained communities. This proposal envisions an institute that will develop and implement innovative entrepreneurial educational methodologies centered around some of Gabon’s most significant development challenges, including access to affordable, renewable energy. RISE will provide students with a program of entrepreneurial education specifically tailored to launching and managing energy enterprises that increase energy access. WDI worked with REFRESCH to assess the market demand for PV solar energy in rural off-grid areas of Gabon to determine if there is sufficient demand to support a profit-seeking enterprise.

From a 2017 WDI-sponsored MAP team.

 

WDI’s partnership with Aravind Eye Care System dates back to 1999.  Over the years, the organization has utilized a combination of student MBA teams and other engagements with the Institute to explore new ideas for growing strategically and improving operations at its hospitals and clinics, which offer world-class eye care at affordable prices.

Just a few of those completed projects include determining the appropriate governance structures for Aravind, consulting on expanding geographically and growing eye care services, implementing improved operational processes, delivering HR capabilities and leadership training for physicians, and improving the culture and patient experiences. Each of those projects were sponsored by WDI as part of the Ross School of Business’s annual Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP).

In 2016, a student team customized and tested an existing process model at select Aravind facilities that measured performance of each unit in terms that everyone in the organization could understand. Last year, the Aravind MAP team worked with senior leadership to develop a roadmap for the eyecare system’s future growth.

MAP is an action-based learning course offered at Ross in which MBA students receive guidance from faculty advisors. Each project requires analytical rigor, critical thinking, and teamwork. (Find out more about WDI’s MAP projects over the years here.)

After learning about their projects and conducting secondary research for several weeks, the students spend two to four weeks working with their organizations in the field.

In March, a MAP team (one of nine sponsored by WDI) will travel to Chennai, India to work at Aravind’s largest facility, which opened in September 2017 and offers the usual suite of services to patients, including specialty eye surgeries. As the new facility nears its six-month anniversary, administrators are studying patient care and looking for areas of improvement.

The students, as part of their overall work to enhance the patient experience, will work with Aravind leadership to develop recommendations on how to transition some of the work performed by eye specialists to general ophthalmologists, who are currently underutilized. Before heading to Chennai on March 17, the team will meet with faculty at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center to hear how they manage similar issues.

Members of the MAP team said they are eager to observe the Aravind business model, which student Gerard Heath called “a leader around the world in developing solutions to provide high quality care in low-resource environments.” They all think the experience and work at Aravind will help them in the classroom as they finish up their studies, and may help inform their future career paths.

Kelsey Wyatt-Mair said she is interested in operations and “learning from this hands-on experience will equip me for later in my career, whether it’s in or out of healthcare.”

And Katie Zurales is “excited to see a different healthcare system” and how high quality, cost-effective healthcare “translates to different cultures.”

Of the four team members, which also includes Daniel Semaan, only Wyatt-Mair has some international work experience.

“It will be interesting for all of us – how to navigate that culture,” Wyatt-Mair said. “We’ll get exposed to the similarities and differences of Aravind with, say, Kellogg Eye Center.”

In between the work, the group plans to explore some local temples and beaches and perhaps travel to other cities. They said they were excited to discover Chennai was listed as one of the world’s best “food cities.”

WDI Initiatives often recruit partner organizations to work with MAP teams. The Aravind project is aligned with the Institute’s Healthcare Initiative. Similarly, WDI’s Education Initiative is working with the MAP team assigned to the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) project. The students will create a strategic plan for a newer TIP initiative to improve the engineering and technology skills of students.

Amy Gillett, vice president of WDI’s Education Initiative, said MAP teams are one of the ways the initiative can improve the delivery of management education in emerging markets.

“The MAP teams bring new perspectives to universities in emerging markets,” she said. “They help university leadership think in different ways about how to expand into promising new areas or how to think strategically about growing an existing department or initiative. We’re so pleased to have this opportunity to unite MBA students – with their passion for social impact and their strategic thinking – with our university partners who welcome fresh insights.”

Like many of the Institute’s MAP partners, TIP has collaborated with WDI in the past. TIP was one of three university partners that worked with WDI on the STRIDE project.

“We’re so pleased to continue our successful partnership with TIP,” Gillett said. “During a recent trip to Manila, I had the opportunity to meet with TIP’s leadership. I was really impressed by their commitment to providing access to a college education for underserved communities as well as by their drive to continuously improve their operations and the services they offer to students.”

 

Here is a summary of each WDI-sponsored MAP project:

 

Aparajitha Foundations – India

Advisors: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business; Stewart Thornhill, Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Amirah Patterson, Riki Smolen, Robert Mack, Nathan Stevens

Aparajitha Foundations is a charitable trust that supports the less privileged, mainly in the areas of education and health.

The team will co-create alongside the founding team of the Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE) as they test, validate, and iterate on MADE’s business model and product prototype for supporting entrepreneurs and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Madurai, India. MADE is a nonprofit institute established at the Ross School of Business by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, in partnership with WDI and Aparajitha Foundations, that works with entrepreneurship development organizations in developing countries to give individuals operating businesses in these environments the knowledge and best practices they need to thrive.

 

Aravind Eye Care System – India

 

Advisors: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business; Jim Walsh, Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Gerard Heath, Katie Zurales, Daniel Semaan, Kelsey Wyatt-Mair

Aravind Eye Care System is a vast network of hospitals, clinics, community outreach efforts, factories, and research and training institutes in south India that has treated more than 32 million patients and has performed 4 million surgeries since its 1976 founding.

The MAP team will develop a framework for integrated patient care service delivery.

 

CURE International – Ethiopia

Advisors: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Simon Kaufmann, Keegan McQuillan, Alan Wisniewski, Brandon Yelen

CURE operates clubfoot clinics in 17 countries around the world, each tasked with helping children and families deal with the congenital deformity that twists the foot, making it difficult or impossible to walk. In Ethiopia, CURE manages 37 clinics.

The MAP team will work to improve quality and increase scale of leg brace production in Ethiopia.

 

Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative – Ghana

Advisors: David Butz, WDI and Ross School of Business; Jim Walsh, Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Alexander Ukoh, Liam Kraft, Kartik Raju, Shreyance Mandaliya

The Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative aims to improve emergency medical care in Ghana through innovative and sustainable training programs for physician, nursing and medical students. The goal of the training programs is to increase the number of qualified emergency health care workers retained over time in areas where they are most needed.

The student team will investigate the feasibility of incorporating mobile payments into the emergency department workflow, including an analysis of how that will impact both the finances and operations of the department.

 

Imperial Logistics – South Africa

Advisors: David Butz, WDI and Ross School of Business; Ravi Anupindi, Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Justin Loescher, Jasmine Knowles, Courtney Alexander, Javier Castillo

Imperial Logistics provides logistics and supply-chain management across the African continent, and is a leading distributor of medicines and healthcare products.

The MAP team will establish an African Pharmaceutical Wholesaler Association (APWA).

 

Outbound Initiative – Brazil

Advisors: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business; Stewart Thornhill, Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Tsering Sherpa, Daniel Vergara Ramirez, Dale Jarosz, Varun Haralalka, Agustin Sosa, Mike Porcelli

Outbound Brasil uses the latest technology to identify global opportunities and resources for the growth of innovative and high impact business in that country, such as new and better markets, customers, partnerships, investments and awards.

The team will conduct a situation analysis on the Brazilian tech investment scenario and make recommendations for which innovations could make smart money more accessible to local startups.

 

REFRESCH – Gabon

Advisors: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business; Bob Dittmar, Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Alena Golovchenko, Felipe Prieto Nunez, Sean Welsh, Allie Murphy

REFRESCH (Researching Fresh Solutions to the Energy/Water/Food Challenge in Resource Constrained Environments), is a consortium of educators and researchers working to improve the lives of those living in resource-constrained communities. Its goal is to find solutions to challenges in the areas of food, water and energy. It is funded by the University of Michigan Third Century Initiative and is headquartered at the University of Michigan Energy Institute.

The student team will identify a set of commercially viable business model archetypes or templates to increase access to renewable energy products and services in Gabon. They also will develop a recommendation on the most likely template to be profitable. A secondary goal is to understand the entrepreneurial skills and capabilities required to launch and operate such enterprises.

 

Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) – Philippines

Advisor: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Joseph Grandominico, James Schoen, Alexa Thomas, Charlton Washington.

The Technological Institute of the Philippines (T.I.P.) is a leading private tertiary education institution that specializes in engineering and technology courses, and has an enrollment of  25,000 students on campuses in Manila and Quezon City. In 2016, the school launched T.I.P. TechnoCoRe, which aims to develop engineering and technology students’ skills in problem-business opportunity formulation, ideation, validation and execution – the core skills of technopreneurship.

The student team will create a strategic plan for T.I.P. TechnoCoRe.

 

Vayu Inc – Senegal

Advisor: Paul Clyde, WDI and Ross School of Business

MAP Team: Alexander Franczyk, Brandon Pickett, Adam Ronk, Adam Woodruff.

Vayu has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be used to deliver needed medical supplies and products to remote areas. The UAV launches and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane once off the ground. It can fly 100 kilometers and hold just over two kilograms of payload.

The team will conduct market analysis and develop an entry strategy for introducing delivery UAVs into Senegal’s market.

 

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