SUMMER LEADERSHIP & INNOVATION PROGRAM

APPLICATIONS DUE FRIDAY, MARCH 24

 

FEED COLLABORATIVE SPECIAL ISSUE DESIGN PROJECT:  

This is a first of its kind opportunity to work directly with the FEED Collaborative founders on a design project that they felt like they had to define, lead, and personally undertake themselves.  This project will attempt to answer several big questions plaguing nearly everyone in the food system who works at the intersection of business, innovation, and impact.

SUMMER FOOD & AG BUSINESS INCUBATOR:  

For aspiring graduate student entrepreneurs in need of time, space and support to further develop an existing business idea related to sustainable food or agriculture.

(scroll down for detailed information)


2015 Summer Fellow Sarah McCurdy visiting Route 1 Farms in Santa Cruz, CA to test prototypes with Jeff Larkey, owner and operator. 

FEED COLLABORATIVE SPECIAL ISSUE DESIGN PROJECT

This is a first of its kind opportunity to work directly with the FEED Collaborative founders on a design project that they felt like they had to define, lead, and personally undertake themselves.  This project will attempt to answer several big questions plaguing nearly everyone in the food system who works at the intersection of business, innovation, and impact.

 

Students working on this project will:

  • Sharpen their design thinking abilities by working alongside a team of experts

  • Make connections to, and work in collaboration with, some of the food systems’ leading thinkers and doers

  • Develop collaborative leadership capabilities by working on a team with the co-directors of the FEED Collaborative

  • Hone their creative storytelling and media design skills

Applications to work on this project will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come rolling basis through Friday, March 24.

Qualified students will have taken a core d.school course, especially FEED Lab (or have equivalent work experience).  Exceptionally qualified students will have also worked for a design firm, demonstrated prior analytical experience working with large data sets, and/or demonstrated prior experience in web development/communication.

To apply, please send a resume attached to a very short email that explains your interest in working with us to feedcollaborative (at) dschool (dot) stanford (dot) edu.  Be sure to include, “Accelerating Impact Student Application” in the subject of the email.

DESIGN PROJECT DETAILS

2015 Summer Fellows (L to R) Mary Chambers, Liam McSweeney and Cecily Foote in implementation-mode editing video footage for their project at the d.school, August 2015. 

“As a generation that wholeheartedly understands the power of food, we can be taking this passion so much further. This could be our revolution.”  

Eve Turow Paul, How Millennials Faked the Food Movement

Eve Turow Paul, a widely regarded expert on Millennial food beliefs and behaviors, concluded after years of research that her generation is “using food as comfort” and as a way to “stimulate all our senses and feel just a bit more in control. Even if we can’t find a job, are freaked about climate change and don’t trust Congress, we can find serenity in a really great beet and goat cheese risotto.”  But despite their interest in food, she argues, Millennials are not necessarily connecting the dots between the food they eat and important economic, social, and environmental issues of concern to them.  Like Eve, and especially in light of recent political events, we believe that helping this increasingly influential generation of eaters align their food choices with their values could result in a potent force for meaningful impact.

Inspired by the proliferation of instruction manuals for civic engagement and targeted boycotts/buycotts of products and companies since the recent presidential election, we believe there’s a timely opportunity to mobilize Millennials to eat in ways that actualize their social and environmental priorities. Beginning in the spring quarter, with a specific focus on the environment, we will undertake a series of human-centered design projects to deeply explore this hypothesis.  The outcome of these projects will include a number of actionable insights and concepts designed to help this generation align their food choices with their values in these dimensions.  The projects will involve both qualitative design research and a novel form of quantitative data collection we’ve pioneered known as “human-centered surveys”, which together will explore:

  • The dynamics of how Millennial eaters are acquiring, synthesizing, sharing and acting upon information, and how these processes correlate to predictors of trust for those who grow, sell, and cook food.  

  • Social and emotional associations with existing and potential narratives around the intersections of food, health, and environmental resilience

  • The various ways in which eaters are, or perceive themselves as, politically active and empowered

At the end of each project we will produce a series of artifacts that articulate several key “eater archetypes”, a comprehensive summary of our discoveries about them, and ideas for mobilizing them to make food choices that align with their values.  These artifacts will include a website, white paper, short videos, and infographics designed to both inform and provoke our intended audiences.  Working with our project collaborators, we will also create a media and event strategy to disseminate our work and to accelerate the impact of people, companies and other organizations working towards a more sustainable food system.  

Collaborators to this project include a small number of highly influential experts, leaders, and thinkers.


SUMMER FOOD AND AG BUSINESS INCUBATOR

For aspiring graduate student entrepreneurs in need of time, space and support to further develop an existing business idea related to sustainable food or agriculture

This program provides an opportunity for graduate student teams actively developing a new business in food or agriculture to receive financial support, mentorship, and access to the FEED Collaborative’s network of leaders in all aspects of the food system.  This program is seeking teams of students in the very early stage of development who are not ready for more mainstream incubators.

Students participating in this program should expect to spend approximately 10 to 20% of their time engaging with FEED leadership and participating in various aspects of the Leadership and Innovation Program.  The student’s remaining time will be spent actively developing the team’s business.

Qualified proposals will demonstrate:

  • A team of two people or more is in place and has committed in writing to the business or organization

  • A written work plan with timelines and major deliverables for the duration of the summer

  • The primary ways in which the business model, if successful, will create beneficial economic, social and/or ecological outcomes

  • Prior experience among members of the team with human-centered design and plans to incorporate human-centered design (specifically user-focused qualitative research and early stage prototyping) in the development process over the summer

  • A brief description of the team’s financial status, including existing funding, capital needs, and a budget for the summer

IMG_1843.JPG

TO APPLY

Please send a resume for each member of the team, a short document that contains the information requested above, and any existing business plans or pitch decks of relevance to feedcollaborative (at) dschool (dot) stanford (dot) edu.  Be sure to include, “Application for Graduate Student Entrepreneur Program” in the subject of the email.

Applications for the program will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve rolling basis with an application deadline of Friday, March 24th. Selected students will be required to do an in-person interview.

 

A NOTE FROM JAMIE STARK, 2016 SUMMER INCUBATOR PARTICIPANT AND FOUNDER OF FARMING HOPE

IMG_8571.JPG

The [program] got Farming Hope off the ground. In one short summer, we went from scattered ideas on Post-Its, to our first profitable prototype.

Less than a year later, Farming Hope is a social enterprise that employs and empowers 20 homeless individuals in garden and cooking work. We hold garden work days and pop up restaurants to employ our team members and bring people together. Folks from all housing backgrounds dine and work together at our events.

Our four person student team (Alex, Laura, Kevin, Jamie) used the full-time FEED summer to:

  • Empathize with our potential audience

  • Define our user and their point of view (ambitiously transitional homeless folks)

  • Hypothesize around our users’ need (to be needed again in the community)

  • Iterate on early stage garden and cooking employment prototypes

  • Start making money and establish our partnership with another nonprofit!

In just three months, we built what became a growing social enterprise. This was only possible because of the FEED team mentors like Debra and Matt, the office space, d.school trainings, and funding to work full-time.  

Since graduating from the summer incubator, we found traction by hiring over 20 homeless folks, raising $50,000 from area foundations, and partnering with local gardens in Palo Alto and San Francisco.

This incubator is unique. Because of it, we are grounded in design thinking. When we encounter a challenge, which is daily, d.thinking is first in the tool belt. Problems become design challenges, and usually, empathy is the answer. This keeps us grounded enough to grow and stand out among many competitive nonprofits. It ensures we design for someone, and keep our homeless neighbors at the center of our work.

I could be in a boring desk job pushing someone else’s papers, but instead design thinking and the FEED Collaborative sparked a program that allows me to make a dent in homelessness and open our food system up to our most vulnerable neighbors.”


2015 Summer Fellows Maria Deloso & Sarah McCurdy touring VoloAgri seed company's demonstration fields in Morgan Hill, CA.

Dede Boies, founder of Root Down Farm and friend of the FEED Collaborative

Dede Boies, founder of Root Down Farm and friend of the FEED Collaborative


 If you're interested in being involved with this program but have questions (or want to stay in touch but for whatever reason the summer programs won't work for you), please e-mail : feedcollaborative (at) dschool.stanford.edu