Theresa Newhard

GlobaLens Offers BoP Cases, Courses and Community

The William Davidson Institute at The University of Michigan recently launched an exciting new tool for educators and others in the emerging markets and international business spaces. A remarkably transparent resource, GlobaLens offers cases, courses and community through a user-friendly database and discussion platform.

The site’s course and syllabi-sharing section is a particularly unique opportunity for faculty members to identify innovative teaching strategies and approaches to learning.?? Beyond encouraging collaboration domestically, GlobaLens has great potential to leverage international partnerships and break down geographic barriers.? If effectively utilized, universities could enhance a their course offerings to include a more comprehensive diversity of perspectives.? At a fundamental level, they can simply talk to each other about what works and what does not work in teaching international business across a multitude of disciplines.For readers interested in social enterprise and businesses serving the base of the pyramid, the site offers access and easy navigation of great case studies.?? Ted London’s case on Acumen Fund with co-author Moses Lee and on Scojo Foundation (now VisionSpring) with co-author Molly Christensen, for example, go beyond the basic case depiction of the organization and the problem or opportunity it is facing to include detailed metrics, growth strategies and financials.? The “How to Make the Greatest Impact” case on Acumen Fund includes a full portfolio summary, including debt and equity disbursement and social returns measured thus far.? For an entrepreneur interested in taking VisionSpring’s “business in a bag” concept to another product idea, the case provides a list of materials and visuals to help contextualize how Vision Entrepreneurs actually conduct business.Still in its nascent stages, GlobaLens is just beginning to fully integrate content and built a virtual community. But with adequate time, I imagine the site will take off and become an integral component to knowledge dissemination in the emerging and international markets arena.