Thanks to an initial gift from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and with continued support by alumni giving, The Lewis Institute launched the Social Innovation Inventureships program in 2016. This first-of-its-kind fellowship is unique to Babson as we ask students (whether undergraduates or graduates) to use Babson's Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® methodology to work at a strategic level with social enterprises or companies seeking to have greater social impact. Students co-create with a sponsoring organization either a semester-long or summer-long Inventureship™ that addresses a real and current social impact challenge.
To apply for an Inventureship™, students must send a one-page letter outlining what they are seeking to change, the organization they intend to work with, and the plan for co-creating lasting impact both for the organization and for Babson. The Lewis Institute can work with students to identify potential placements. Students must have enough background information to articulate the impact they are trying to create in order for The Lewis Institute to help identify the pathway.
If you have questions, join one of our Open Office Hours. To apply for an Inventureship™, please email your proposal to Cheryl Kiser at email@example.com and Emily Weiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inventureships are one of the experiential learning opportunities that help our MBA students qualify for the Business and Social Innovation Intensity Track.
Examples of our Social Innovation Inventureships:
This Inventureship was undertaken to identify business strategy for a Babson MBA’s startup to enter the market. Magnomer’s novel coating technology transforms standard plastic single-use packaging (such as cutlery and bottle caps) into recyclable products by adding magnetic markers during the manufacturing stage. By automating end-of-life waste management processes, the “design for recycling” motif reduces reliance on consumer behavior and diverts packaging away from landfills. Through this project, Magnomer identified its stakeholders and defined value propositions for each. Magnomer determined that its technology serves as a win-win-win proposition. First, customers like restaurants and schools can pay prices on par with current industry pricing for compostable products. Secondly, packaging manufacturers can introduce a differentiated product in a commodity market to achieve higher gross margins. Finally, recyclers can reduce the levels of contamination in their facilities through easier segregation.
What he learned: "Thanks to the Inventureship program, I had the opportunity to introduce Babson first-year students to the concept of the circular economy. My startup Magnomer was used as a case study to showcase how innovation and design can be used to tackle the problem of plastic waste in our societies. Students were asked to outline Magnomer’s customer-value proposition for various stakeholders in the circular economy context. Class exercises for students, designed by Babson professor Dr. Siddharth Vedula, teased out marketing and communication blueprints for Magnomer’s stakeholders. The class included a very vibrant discussion around how startups can innovate in the context of the circular economy."
–Ravish Majithia MBA’18
Iroquois Valley Farms (B Corp.)
This Inventureship resulted in the creation of a whitepaper discussing the advantages of investing in farmland, explaining why an investment in organic land can have a higher financial return compared to conventional land, and how an investment in mid-sized organic and ecological farmland can make a substantial financial impact on rural communities. The MBA student researched, analyzed, and discussed topics including triple bottom line, impact investing, economies of size, the local money multiplier, slow money, organic food, local food, and mid-sized farming (vs. small “farmers’ market” farmers) to complete and publically present the final whitepaper: The Investment Advantages of Organic Farmland.
What he learned & activated: "The Inventureship was the perfect opportunity for me to apply my ongoing education at Babson at a real-world company that prioritized impact along with profit. The structure, funding, and support of The Lewis Institute made the experience one of the highlights of my second year and paved the way for a smooth transition back into the professional world. Most excitingly, what began as an Inventureship ultimately led to a job offer and my current position as Director of Business Development at Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, an organic farmland finance company raising private capital to secure land for organic farmers in 14 states around the country."
–Alex Mackay MBA’17
Greyston Bakery (B Corp.)
This Inventureship had two main goals. The first was to identify the top five metrics Greyston Bakery should be measuring and evaluating, and the corresponding operational changes necessary to track the data required for these metrics. The second was finding the ROI of Open Hiring by identifying the cost and potential savings of the model, and comparing it to the costs of a traditional hiring model. At the time, Greyston was the only known organization to use Open Hiring, and while the bakery has shown profitability and growth, the organization has not quantified the costs (or potential savings) of the different components of Open Hiring. Both projects help set the foundation for Greyston to create a more robust story and toolkit for other businesses to adopt Open Hiring. Evadne wrote a blog post and gave a presentation on her work Quantifying the Impacts of Open Hiring at Greyston Bakery.
What she learned: "My Inventureship at Greyston Bakery and Foundation helped me understand the importance of metrics and measurement for a social enterprise to communicate effectively with for-profit companies. Numbers, for better or worse, are one of the easiest languages to understand across department, industry, and culture, giving them incredible power. Greyston has used my work calculating the ROI on Open Hiring to help other companies understand the cost of Open Hiring."
–Evadne Cokeh MBA’17
SEEDS Vietnam (NGO)
This Inventureship enabled the launch of the first-ever women’s hackathon in Vietnam. The hackathon helped further the mission of SEEDS Vietnam, an NGO founded by the student, to tackle education inequality for Vietnamese youth. The purpose of the SheCodes hackathon is to bring more women to STEM and help close the IT gender gap in Vietnam. The SheCodes team organized workshops to educate participants in coding basics. They also invited several successful businesswomen in the tech startup and IT fields to share their experience and expertise. The event attracted over 100 women from both of the largest cities in Vietnam. Nearly 15 percent of participants were youth (<18 years old), and another 82.6 percent were young women (19–25 years old). Participants formed teams to collaboratively design and code a solution to address the UN Global Goals of Quality Education and Gender Equality. Read her blog post, Launching the First Women's Hackathon in Vietnam.
What she learned & activated:
"I keep thinking about the 'what’s next' after this hackathon because I want to maintain this community. Right now, we are recruiting a regional organizing team in the two biggest cities in Vietnam. They will be in charge of organizing 3–4 events per year until our yearly hackathon. These events aim to focus on different topics around the IT industry for women. For example, we will be educating women about Open Source technology, instructing how to interview for a tech company, and teaching basic programming."
–Tien Mai ’20