On Wednesday, August 31, the innovative SAI platform course SW47: Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems began. Over 80 students, a combination of undergraduates and graduate students, “shopped” the university-wide course, which fulfills the General Education requirement. Shopping week allows students to try out courses for a week before they commit to taking them for the whole semester. The course is cross registered at the Business School, the School of Public Health, the Kennedy School, the Medical School, the Law School, and the Graduate School of Education.
This course, co-taught by Tarun Khanna (SAI, Harvard Business School), Satchit Balsari (Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health), Krzysztof Gajos (School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), Doris Sommer (Faculty of Arts and Sciences), and John Macomber (Harvard Business School) will provide a framework (and multiple lenses) through which to think about the salient economic and social problems of the five billion people of the developing world, and to work in a team setting toward identifying entrepreneurial solutions to such problems. Case study discussions will cover challenges and solutions in fields as diverse as health, education, technology, urban planning, and arts and the humanities. The modules themselves will be team-taught by faculty from engineering, the arts, urban design, healthcare and business. The course will embrace a bias toward action by enabling students to understand the potential of individual agency in addressing these problems. All students will participate in the development of a business plan or grant proposal to tackle their chosen problem in a specific developing country/region, emphasizing the importance of contextualizing the entrepreneurial intervention. The student-team will ideally be comprised of students with diverse backgrounds from across the University.