Weekend Briefing No. 23

Welcome to the weekend! Yesterday I spent the morning with the World Economic Forum Fellows at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. The fellows were presenting their final projects, where they applied design thinking to real problems of poverty and health in New York City.  It’s cool to see a program that thinks about learning through doing.




Are there slaves in your supply chain?

Yes… it is crazy that this is a real question. But unfortunately modern day slavery is thriving. Made in a Free World recently partnered up with the US State Department to create a tool for businesses to assess the likelihood of slave labor in their supply chain as well as best practices to eliminate it.


Hi-Tech transit cards are a tough sell on Nairobi’s matatus. I spent 6 months in Nairobi last year to work on Profit & Purpose. One thing you notice right away is that the majority of Kenyans travel on colorful mini-buses called matatus. They are packed with people and drive crazy and until now, they’ve only accepted cash. But Google partnered with the Nairobi government to try to change that by introducing a smart card. Sometimes hi-tech solutions don’t catch on, watch this New York Times video to see why. Thanks to Stefanie Chang for the tip off on this story!


An ice cream plant powered by… ice cream. Well, technically ice cream waste. At Ben & Jerry’s plant in the Netherlands, “The Chunkinator” just went live. Ice cream waste is fed into its tank, where 24bn natural micro-organisms break down the particles, turning them into biogas. Learn more HERE.


The circular economy gains traction. Ben & Jerry’s Chunkinator falls inline with the larger trend of the ‘circular economy’. The circular economy represents a markedly different way of doing business, replacing established practices like planned obsolescence with new approaches to generating profits. The report examines how brands from Puma and Ford to Ikea and Starbucks are upending various elements of the status quo: leasing rather than selling products, remanufacturing goods, seeking ways to extend the life of products or their components, and finding more value in waste. Read the in-depth report on the circular economy.


Monopolies on the internet. The internet has upended traditional retail channels by cutting out most of the middlemen and allowing brands to deal directly with consumers, unlocking value for both. But over time monopolies have grown up – think Google and Amazon. When these platforms grow to monopolies, who will keep them honest. Read this fascinating piece by Fred Wilson.




Creative process. My friend Tiffany Chan sent me a stellar video on the creative process this week. After finishing my first book, I’m really interested on how other creatives do what they do. This is a 3-minute video from a screen writer breaking down his process. If you like to create in any form, it’s worth the watch.


You are super smart, so I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have any story ideas, questions or just want to say hi, just hit reply to this email. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. If you have friends that would like the WEEKEND BRIEFING, please forward it along. They can sign up for free HERE. Follow me on twitter for updates throughout the week.


Have a restful & thoughtful weekend.