Can Do Attitude


Social innovation comes in many different shapes and sizes. In São Paulo, a mobile recycling center turns discarded soda cans into designer stools thanks to designer duo Alex Groves and Azusa Murakam, who haul around a mobile cart that melts cans using vegetable oil waste collected from local cafes. The team then pours the molten aluminum into molds to make stools that are given to locals as payment for providing materials.

The project, called Can City, relies on recycling to reclaim materials and provide income to waste collectors. Check out the inspiring video below for a look at how Can City is taking eco and social innovation to the streets of São Paulo.

Read the full story here.

Image via Studio Swine

Big Ideas for Small Business

The heart of America’s economic success has always been innovation and the growth of small businesses. Today, the majority of net jobs created in the country can be attributed to companies that are five years old or younger.

The Economist explored this trend, only to find that the America’s start-ups no longer thrive and create jobs the way they did about a decade ago. Despite the blame placed on the financial crisis, there are other factors at play, like shortage of skilled workers and the cost of taxes and regulations. A third issue is the challenge of acquiring funding, both private and public, to sponsor the continued development of new business ventures.

All of these factors combined are greatly stunting economic recovery and job growth in America. That’s why we need to advocate for policies that benefit small-businesses and programs that train the next wave of skilled laborers. With nearly 22 million workers either unemployed or underemployed, it’s time to get America’s engines of growth firing on all cylinders.

Click here for the full article.  

Photo by Marco Verch

Innovation for the Long Term

When it comes to growing the economy, the US depends on innovation to create jobs and drive the market. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, innovation in America has become stagnant as corporations focus on immediate returns rather than devoting time and money on projects with a lasting impact.

Christensen makes the argument that innovation should take into consideration future development, such as sustaining new research and creating jobs. We agree.

To read more of Clayton Christensen’s thoughts on innovation, read the full piece at Inc. here:

3 Pillars of Innovation

The innovation economy—fueled by ever changing institutions, technology and entrepreneurs—sits at the center of economic growth. There are three key pillars to sustain this innovation economy according to Faisal Hoque, CEO at BTM Corporation.

Hoque says the following concepts are necessary for innovators and businesses to validate innovation and reach their full potential. Whether you are starting your own business or working for an established one, rethinking your approach to innovation could have a big, and lasting impact.

Below are Faisal Hoque’s Top 3 Pillars for Social Innovation:

1. A Leader’s Emotional Intelligence

According to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of financial success is credited to skills in “human engineering,” such as personality and one’s ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Successful communicating leads to successful innovation.

2. Cultivating A Cross-Collaborative Culture

Leaders with forethought can organize analytical and creative talent in a way that is collaborative and cross-functional, and forms teams to capitalize on these interactions.

3. Establishing Repeatable Processes
Sustained innovation can be ensured through organization and creating a set of processes to identify growth opportunities and enhance future options.

Click here for the full article. 

Photo via Mark Notari

The American Pipe Dream: Why Affordable Housing Matters

Thinking of buying a home in Southern California? Think again.

Jed Kolko, the chief economist for the real estate site Trulia, took an in-depth look at homeownership and affordability throughout the country. The results show that homeownership is well within the reach of some people. But for many—especially those living in Southern California or the Bay area—homeownership might just a pipe dream.

For the middle class especially, homeownership has long been regarded as central to economic stability and a cornerstone of the American dream. But Kolko argues that access to affordable housing is not evenly distributed throughout the country. In fact, the disparities between incomes and housing costs continue to grow.

Here in LA, the average LA family can only afford 24% of houses on the LA market.  That’s leaves a lot of folks with dwindling housing options. Whether in the San Fernando Valley or a suburb of Chicago, affordable housing and homeownership are important issues. How can a city strive, innovate and provide a good life for working families if the American dream is a non-starter?

Read the full aticle here:

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