Doing Good Is Good Business

Description for ITPG-GT.2758.1:
This course, in partnership with the UNICEF Office of Innovation, focuses on the two-to-five-year horizon of technology and human needs in order to evaluate emerging opportunities and investigate how public and private sectors can collaborate to create good businesses and solve pressing problems.

The class will be structured around specific areas of global need and opportunity such as transport & delivery, identity and personal data, learning, lack of financial services. We will investigate how businesses and industries can be influenced and leveraged to address these growing needs. How can we provide identity to the 30% of children who don’t have formal IDs? How do we create financial access for the approximately 2 billion unbanked adults? How do we work to protect the 50 million children who have been displaced because of conflict and violence?

These issues can’t be solved by any single technology or by any one organization but require a network of collaborations among entrepreneurs, governments and corporate entities. Interdisciplinary teams and partnerships are key for the success of any project or initiative in the social sphere. Through a speaker series and conversations students will be exposed to both private sector companies as well as current needs and will work in groups to research and investigate where those worlds converge and overlap and which future opportunities exist for collaboration.

Shorter assignments will have students focused on understanding potential technologies, their current limitations and future potential in the context of a specific problem, while the final project will allow for a more thorough exploration of a concept or strategy aimed at helping UNICEF think through future approaches. The final project could take the form of a working prototype or a lo-fi prototype that explores the potential for collaboration, a proof of concept, a design proposal, a business case or other. A series of workshops will help students on this path.

At the end of the semester, students will present their work at UNICEF HQ to staff and invited guests. This class is all about collaboration,structuring partnerships (interdisciplinary and cross-sector), learning from failures, research and rapid iteration, forming and rejecting ideas, feedback and presentations to a larger audience.

Dates, Times & Location:
Wednesdays, 9-11.30am
721 Broadway, 4th Floor of Tisch Building
Room #442 (Conference Room)

  1. January 25
  2. February 1
  3. February 8
  4. February 15
  5. February 22
  6. March 1
  7. March 8
  8. March 22
  9. March 29
  10. April 5
  11. April 12
  12. April 19
  13. April 26
  14. May 3

Office Hours:
Wednesday and Thursday afternoons by appointment.

Check Benedetta’s Google Calendar of office hours for updated schedule and to sign up for a slot using your NYU email NOT your gmail account!

Your Instructors:
Benedetta Piantella –
Christopher Fabian –
Tanya Bhandari –