Skip to content

Archive for June, 2013

23
Jun

EU split on future bank bailouts

EU finance ministers fail to agree on how to rescue troubled banks in any future crisis, with countries split on whether savers should bear some of the burden.

23
Jun

For Solazyme, a Side Trip on the Way to Clean Fuel

A company wants to turn algae into energy. But first it has to make money, so it is developing other products from its algae-derived oils.

    

23
Jun

Can a Pasta Brand Rock Social Media?

Dreamfields Foods uses a fan club email technique to energize the diabetes sufferers who depend on their pasta.

    

23
Jun

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. …

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. Stephen King US horror novelist & screenwriter (1947 – )

23
Jun

Aaron Hernandez Loses Endorsement Amid Murder Probe

No news has been good news for Aaron Hernandez over the past 24 hours. Despite days of “arrest warrant forthcoming”-type headlines, the former Florida Gator and current New England Patriots tight end remains a free man.

But the ongoing murder investigation that has swirled around Hernandez the past few days is starting to hit his bottom line.

CytoSport, makers of Muscle Milk and other athletic nutrition supplements, has officially ended its relationship with Hernandez.

Hernandez is currently being investigated in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd, 27, who was found shot dead about a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, Mass. Lloyd, a semi-professional football player and friend of Hernandez’s, and the Patriot’s star had been out on the town together the evening of Lloyd’s death.

Once he was identified as a person of interest in the murder investigation, Hernandez allegedly smashed his cell phone and home security system. He also brought a team of cleaners into his home before police could search the premises. Police have now visited Hernandez’s home multiple times.

Hernandez was one of several players cited in a 2012 Sporting News article about rampant behavioral problems during former University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer’s tenure. Prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, Hernandez’s admission that he’d failed multiple drug tests while at Florida damaged his draft stock.

17
Jun

Students take their LGO tools to African clinics

Every student in the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program travels for internships and plant treks, but not many wind up working in Africa. Unless they’re part of Global Health Delivery Lab (ghdLab), a hands-on MIT Sloan course that sends teams of multidisciplinary graduate students to deliver health care to resource-limited areas in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Erna Pardede LGO ’13 and her MIT Sloan MBA teammates studied ways to improve operational efficiency at the Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) clinic in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Their on-site work over spring break included a flow time study for 48 patients, interviewing staff and patients, visits to other clinics at Kibera, simulating patient experiences for a day and studying costs associated with the clinic. Their results: a set of recommendations including a new clinic floor layout to improve safety and minimize congestion, and a business strategy toolkit to evaluate growth.

“It was exciting to actually apply the skill sets I learned during my two years at LGO during the two weeks we were on the ground,” Pardede says. “Basic operations management is key in assessing the clinic’s operational health, and we were happy to know that our clients are really interested in what we’re doing.”

The Kenyans around Pardede were very friendly and full of questions, she says. “Kibera’s children are taught that foreigners’ names are ‘How are you?’ At least, that’s how we were greeted every morning,” she says with a smile. She was also impressed by a dance and skit performance by the Kibera School for Girls. “They’re full of potential, and the school is teaching them about believing in themselves and be leaders to change society,” she says.

Jan Ma LGO ’14 was also in Kenya for two weeks, working with her team on developing a supply chain model for Daktari Diagnostics. Cambridge-based Daktari designs and manufactures a portable device that measures blood levels of CD4 cells (a component of the immune system) in HIV-positive patients, providing results in 10 minutes and requiring no special training. To better understand the environment in which the device would be used, Ma’s team started out in Nairobi and then traveled west to Kisumu, Kakamega, and Eldoret, visiting rural clinics, dispensaries and district hospitals.

The project offered a unique opportunity to apply the business and technical know-how Ma had acquired on campus. “I used a ton of operation management knowledge acquired from the LGO program, especially supply chain management, process design, and product inventory tracking,” she says.

Interacting with high-level government officials, private-sector distributors and local healthcare providers resulted in “such a rich array of experiences. We really had to learn how to behave in a new social and cultural setting, how to get information from people, and how to introduce new ideas and skills to empower various stakeholders,” Ma adds.

Weekends were just as interesting — she and her ghdLab teammates saw lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants and other animals on the Masai Mara Reserve and went white-water rafting on the Nile in Jinja, Uganda.

Jonas Hiltrop LGO ’14 went further south to Cape Town, South Africa to work with MIT Sloan teammates at the Retreat Community Health Center, which provides free health care services to the poor. The clinic had a problem: patients could not be seen for several weeks if they booked an appointment, but those who showed up unbooked with an acute condition had to wait an average of two hours just to be triaged and sometimes 12 hours to see a doctor or nurse practitioner.

By implementing four immediate changes involving check-in procedures and patient-folder handling, “we were able to increase the throughput of the triage room by an average of 40 percent, which meant that about 19 additional patients could be triaged during the busiest hours at the clinic without any need for additional staff or other resources,” says Hiltrop, who contributed to a blog about the team’s ghdLab experience.

“The tools we learned in Organizational Processes (15.311) for building support for structural change inside an organization (i.e., how to bring people on board and get them to support your ideas) turned out to be very helpful,” Hiltrop says. “Many of the concepts from the LGO Lean Tools and High-Velocity Systems summer classes were also directly applicable.”

Hiltrop’s team also gave a presentation on how to draft a business plan to aspiring South African entrepreneurs and their mentors from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, who visited the clinic to get a better understanding of how they might develop healthcare products and services for South Africa. Afterwards, they broke into groups to answer the entrepreneurs’ questions about basic business considerations for their potential startups.

In a “pay it forward” scenario, Hiltrop can now turn around and use his South Africa experience in his internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, where his project will focus on inpatient bed demand forecasting. Though MGH is a far cry from the Cape Town clinic in terms of resources, “I think that many of the challenges around optimizing patient flow probably exist in both settings,” he says.

17
Jun

EU and US 'in biggest trade deal'

The EU and US announce plans for what could be “the biggest bilateral trade deal in history”, aimed at boosting exports and driving growth.

17
Jun

Big Jets May Be Back in Demand With Economy

After years of emphasis on smaller, single-aisle aircraft, Airbus is seeing rise in orders for its jumbo planes.