Innovating for Societal and Planet Health
Today, we are facing global systemic challenges such as climate change, food and water insecurity, loss of biodiversity, chronic diseases, mental health crises, and societal inequality. Such complex and interconnected problems are threatening life and well-being on earth more than ever before. Yet, at the same time, we are seeing unprecedented advances in bioengineering, computer sciences, material sciences, social sciences, and beyond that can be applied to these challenges.
How can we harness our innovation capabilities and human ingenuity to create a different future? How can we create a future that works for all? At Emergence, we believe that purposeful entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary innovation can address the root causes of the many global challenges we face. That is why we are creating a community of educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and cross-sector innovators and thought leaders to catalyze the emergence of new projects and ventures driven by purpose and a sense of urgency in improving societal and planetary health.
Purposeful entrepreneurship is driven by solving important societal and environmental challenges. It is a journey as well as a destination. Purposeful entrepreneurs put purpose at the core of creating their organizations, are committed to their own personal development, and are thoughtful about important decisions in building their business such as governance, culture, and capital to align every step of their journey with their mission. They build their businesses for the long run and measure their success by the positive impact they create in the lives of their employees, communities, and the world.
We asked our students to reflect on their key takeaways or lessons learned through Emergence's curricular and co-curricular offering, as well as how they will incorporate these lessons in the next steps of their career or entrepreneurial journey. Here are some of their reflections:
"... the possibility to even consider the combination of ethics, environmental sustainability, integrity within a company, and a successful enterprise. Honestly, this was huge, because in this world today, it is hard to feel like this is possible. I have felt enlightened and refreshed with this possibility..."
"This class exposed me, for the first time, to many of the major issues the world faces today. The guest speakers offered an interesting mix of the difficulties in entrepreneurship and raising money for a business while calling on the importance of major global issues like energy, waste, and climate... I walk away from it with a different awareness for purposeful engineering and entrepreneurship. Two closing take-aways: (1) a mission statement can drive a whole business and a career and (2) companies that impact the globe have a responsibility for it."
"I appreciated the continual emphasis on using systems thinking and exploring a problem before offering solutions, particularly with respect to technological ideas, where entrepreneurs may feel tempted to apply their technology to solving a problem without first doing this analysis... I look forward to continue using systems thinking and incorporating interdisciplinary perspectives into my career!"
Image credit: Daniel Biber