Ahmad Yassir FS

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Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world


  • Society should be shaped by the free market.
  • Economy should be regulated and privatized.
  • What works in the private sector works in the public sector.
  • The public sector follow the rules and subsidize the private sector: which is currently owned by fewer global capitalists.

Neoliberalism is the current economic global system of trade. Expanding the economy on a global scale and ensuring the application of the open market system is what led to many wars with an aim of making them more democratic and open to the global market. I have experienced living in Lebanon, with its open-trade system that gives its people access to accessive consumerism due to the foundation of all global brands. While also living in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is still socialist in its trade, since all what is found in local products with small access to other European brands. This system has proven to take advantage of places with lower income and higher labor, to maximize the production and profit for those companies that continuously expand due to their strong capital and lack of global competition and regulations.

Doughnut Economics: Kate Raworth - Regenerative Future Summit 2017



  • Economics frames the world we live in, its the language of public policy.
  • Challenge of the century: how do we meet the needs for all with the needs of the planet.
  • Higher education teaches economics by theorists from the 1950s while having 21st-century problems.
  • Adam Smith on who we are: self-interest is important for making markets work but our interest in another is what makes society works.

All my high school friends are currently studying finance or economics, hearing them talk about their assignments started making more sense to me after this reading. I have noticed an issue with the way its taught in schools and universities, but Kate Raworth framed it in the best way possible. The way she went through the history of the United States in relation to the system applied right now is what I focused on the most. Likewise, the US intervention in foreign countries started making more sense to me as well. This video made me really interested in researching more about the US international trade market, in relation to the US military bases around the world. Nevertheless, I also learned more about the position of the US as the world superpower through this video. Kate's proposal is in favor of: The center of the doughnut (health, food, energy, water, education, income/work, peace/justice, political voice, gender equality, housing, networks) are what need to be addressed to prevent "overshooting," into the problems on the outside of the doughnut. The actual doughnut is the "safe and just space for humanity." Personally speaking, it conceptually looks very progressive since it's covering all necessities and seems like a great structure to be applied.

More People Working on Stuff that Matters: Working Better Together


  • The strategy of Enspiral Foundation: Help people connect with peers and each other succeed.
  • Their concept: work together to deliver big projects., everyone has a chance to lead, everyone shares the function here.
  • The challenge: getting paid well to do work you love with love.
  • Listening to stories and sharing the experiences are the cores and for those people finding a space to do they love
  • Short term goals are more clear than a long goal. Start from a small target is the first step of success.
  • “Always put the relationship before the deal”
  • For many people, business means selfish individualism. However, by creating a community with clear boundaries and rules, business becomes unconditionally.
  • Start from experimentation, start from failure. Try to stay autonomous
  • The core problem: Design a financial model that paid for people to work.
  • It’s only possible if you try.
  • Failure is the mother of success. Every failure has value and meaning.
  • Building an organization is full of the process of exploration. The importance of learning from others. Honor the role of time. There are no shortcuts.
  • “Knowing the difference is the art of innovation”
  • Respect the status quo, analyze the status quo, then it is possible to reduce the damage in the following work.
  • “We all shared ideas from our various background, tried lots of things, and kept the stuff that worked.”
  • Remain optimistic. Every attempt is a learning experience and has its value.
  • “No one should lead all the time and everyone should lead some of the time”
  • “I don’t believe you can (or would want to) have a flat community where everyone is equal in every way.” “There were some formal steps on the way, but the real work was managing all the asymmetries.”

My personal take on projects is that the creative development and input into each one of them usually becomes the focus for me, which leads to inspirations for other projects but its also distracting while trying to manage one thing at a time. This reading is really important to refresh the mind on the priorities of work as it is also a great structure for practicing great work ethic.

Welcome to the age of participation - Francesca Pick


  • Decentralized communities are trying to find more open ways of operating.
  • Platforms happened all around the world, helped build Ouishare.
  • Network governance: connect, collaborate, increase our impact together.
  • Creating a movement, which are on the rise in different mediums and fields.
  • Requires prior work and research.
  • Movements: address societal problems.
  • Communities: structure to humans in society.
  • Participatory: organizing and sharing practices.
  • Philosophy of open source software.
  • Start-up companies to implement solutions which inspired the development of tools to support these businesses.

This reading furthered my understanding of globalization and the opportunities of finding organizations that facilitate the work for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and civil society organizations. I had a positive take on this reading since it encourages me to further my research in finding opportunities for networking and collaborating, because sometimes it does feel like one person or a single organization is the only one functioning in their field, due to the increasing involvement, and personal investment in the development of the enterprise without having a diverse perspective or enough research in finding a match to work with. I really liked the metaphor that society is like a series of streams that are now slowly emerging. Which made me reflect positively on this reading, since they are deligating for the increased use of technology and online platform in order to become less wasteful and facilitate for more communication, whilst they're also focused on having physical group meetings. It also spoke on connective technology the same way the Arab Spring took a shift towards it during revolutions, and elsewhere as well. Millennials becoming more interested in systemic social and environmental problems, while studies are showing that around 40% of them will not be working in companies is also very interesting to me. During the time of developing technologies with an increase in the fear of unemployment its good to see that we are already making a shift away from companies, but the foundation of the organizations mentioned in the reading is what makes it more structured and social rather than just working from home without having any human interaction.

Besides the organizations listed, I am also aware of the work of Moonwalk Innovation. I received a proposal earlier to give out a course following the syllabus of Moonwalk Innovation, as an internship for the members of my group. Moonwalk Venture Creation: Moonwalk turns Epic Challenges into Stellar Startups to improve 1 Billion Lives from its venture studios in London and Oslo. Moonwalk revolutionized venture creation with its award-winning system of innovation, entrepreneurship and investing. It made 3 portfolios of 18 startups now growing on 3 continents in 3 years. It engaged 150 innovators backed by 300 angel investors. Moonwalk made 5 companies for a Norwegian post-oil economy; democratizes health with 8 startups in seed stage; and reinvents education with 5 startups in the seed stage.

Moonwalk. Future worth making[1]

In a world of systems



  • We are made of systems, part of systems, the initiation to the social world begins with the family system.
  • System: a set of parts connected to one another to achieve one goal. Like the shower, human organs, etc. We become apart of the system when we have shared goals, such as having hot water (shower) or surviving (human organs).
  • Feedback, to ensure what is convenient and ideal for a person. Feedback happens in a loop: repeated until reaches full desire. Delay is a part of the system to achieve a full loop.
  • System has been set-up to depleted itself. Example: fish industry.

The traffic feedback loop has a very interesting humorous take on the topic as well as it shows a mean of communication between people that extends to honking. Reinforcing feedback regains strength after each cycle. What I also found interesting is how we can see all the systems that made it possible, but we are obnoxious due to our lack of awareness in some parts of the systems that we are connected to.

Enough problem solving lets start creating - Robert Ransick

  • We often encounter problems and try to manage the resources in fixing it.
  • " Design thinking: an approach where designers, through direct engagement and listening, build empathic relationships in order to identify and define problems faced by a target group of “users.”"
  • Limited by generating possibilities.
  • "Less focus on emphasizing problems. Developing new systems to achieve our goals.
  • Art transforms societies.
  • These artists and collectives are envisioning and creating new structures and systems with human-focused values, and they demonstrate the range of ways artists, and artistic methods can intervene in and on society itself:
  • Public Matters Group
  • Des Moines Social Club

The Donella Meadows Project - Academy for Systems Change

Down to Earth

  • Full circle leadership, how to fundraise money, use it, implement something.
  • Models and information, theory, tools of getting to our goals. How to form the policies that will be implemented.
  • Clarity in goals: visions; articulated and socially shared.
  • We are lacking in the arenas since we are not currently meeting our goals in sustainability.
  • A tendency towards direct implementation, rather than working in a better system.
  • Economic mdels fail: classic models, we should implement more technology and markets.
  • Take the l (ast steps first; skipping over, taking the vision for granted.
  • Vision: systematically untrained to have a vision, we don't need training, we need to rediscover the idea of a living world, in our minds and others.
  • Vision of sacrifice; having less. Example: my experience in Somaliland.
  • Series of workshops on ending hunger, ask the experts who spent their lives trying to eliminate hunger; how would the world look like without hunger?
  • People think that putting a vision is a waste of time; we should just implement things. Visions are dangerous things, full of suspicion and not followed. Communicating problems and not vision.Communication vision has been limited.
  • Cynicism is shared with total strangers, but not our dreams, hopes, and visions: not permitted in scientific and economic forums. What's the world we like living in, without being labeled unrealistic. It is our cultural response to vision, stop being naive and idealistic.
  • Children are natural visionaries, how deeply we want the world to look like what we like.
  • Positive feedback loop
  • State, articulate, see, what you want and not what you can get. Types of analysis toward what is possible, but it should go towards what you want. Finding out that other people want it to.
  • Source of visions are unknown but there's a responsibility in forming a vision, with rationality. Sharing it with other people, the more responsible and ethical it gets.
  • Power vision: growth is not the goal, there's no alternative vision.
  • A place where no one is hungry or poor, a world where you are excited to get up in the morning and go to work, excited for the future for the children and grandchildren. Forms of resistance will rise when finding the visions.

“Creative Placemaking: How to Do It Well”, Ann Markusen and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus

  • Spacial development of spaces with different partners forms creative placemaking. Public, private, nonprofit, and community sectors develop the social character of the neighborhood, town, tribe, city around arts and culture.
  • Partnership is essential and challenging
  • Designing around distinctiveness and local patronage: strong success.
  • Roles with community development bankers: assembling adequate financing.
  • Evaluating outcomes: has an impact on all contributors.
  • Improving model: expand incomes and opportunities for low-income communities.

Three Artists Who Think Outside the Box, By Nikil Saval, The New York Times.

  • Lowe inspired two fellow artists and eventual friends, Theaster Gates and Mark Bradford to create political art.
  • Think more about their own art: what its purpose was, how it should be seen, even where it should live.
  • Concept of ‘‘social sculpture,’’ a more engaged form of political art in which the spectators themselves were the participants.

Self-Help for African People Through Education (look-up) Lowe’s co-conspirators in a mode of political or ‘‘social practice’’ art that actively involves them in underserved neighborhoods.

  • Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects on Chicago’s South Side has hosted Bradford.
  • Very practical skills of a policymaker, a preservationist or an organizer.
  • Creates public art, hosts soul-food dinners.
  • Bradford told me how the geographic separation of art and life gets played out early for people who grew up where he did.
  • Known for his extraordinary abstract paintings
  • Opened Art + Practice Foundation, hosts exhibitions, but it is also a center that, through an affiliation with the RightWay Foundation, offers job training and mental health services to the neighborhood’s foster youth.

Political and social practice in art requires sufficient prior research and investigation, I find it very motivating that these artists returned to where they grew up trying to bring change to those locations. They are a piece of evidence that art can bring social change and community-oriented organizations can bring positive outcome in numerous ways.

How Cooperation Jackson Is Transforming the Poorest State in the US, by Cat Johnson.

  • Transform the state based on local issues, in particular, the largest city, Jackson. Cooperation Jackson is a network of interconnected yet independent institutions including an incubator and training center, a cooperative bank, and a federation of established cooperatives.
  • The organization teaches people about the importance of worker cooperatives and how to create one.
  • Cooperation Jackson has many ambitious plans, but they are prioritizing the issue of unemployment, development of economic democracy.
  • Majority of the people were enthused with their vision of job creation and distributing wealth in an equitable manner. but some people opposed their vision.

I really enjoyed having this reading is very business oriented, cooperations should have a high financial interest in order to bring assets to make developmental projects for the community. The work that this organization has done is very motivating and interesting to read about and analyze. Democratizing the processes of production, distribution and consumption

  • Equitably distributing the surpluses produced or exchanged
  • Creating economies of scale
  • Increasing bargaining power
  • Sharing costs for new technology.
  • Gaining access to new markets.
  • Reducing individual market risks.
  • Creating and obtaining new services.
  • Purchasing in bulk to achieve lower prices.
  • Providing credit under reasonable terms.

What is Strategy?


  • Productivity Frontier: maximum value at the given cost.
  • Fit: the means in which company’s activities interact and push each other.
  • Strategic Positioning: being somehow unique and creating an identity; achieving sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company; performing different activities from rivals, or performing similar activities in different ways.
  • Operational Effectiveness: refers to any number of practices that allow a company yo increase its production or general input, for example, reducing the issues or flaws found in products or developing better products faster.
  • Market Share: when a portion of the market is controlled by a company or a product
  • Competitive Advantage: circumstances and conditions that favors one company over another and making it more successful
  • Hyper-competition: this exists when there's a strong competition between companies especially when the market is regularly changing, it becomes easy to enter a new market, therefore its not possible for one company to keep a competitive advantage for a long time.
  • Time-based Competition: gaining advantage that results from changing the product or strategy, to satisfy the consumer while times are changing. Being more smart about the changes that occur in the market, and trying to suit it could reflect either positively or negatively.
  • Competency/Competitive Convergence: choosing one supplier over the other, since the competition is too tough, does this only exists when the products or too similar? Is it more common for low quality products rather than services?
  • Total Quality Management: maintaining standards of work maintains the quality of the work produced by one company.
  • Continuous Improvement: an ongoing regular effort to improve products, processes, or services.
  • Benchmarking: the practice of comparing business processes and performance to support the selection, planning and delivery of projects.
  • Low-cost strategy: increasing demand by offering cheap prices.
  • Portfolio turnover: a measure of how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the managers. It is calculated by dividing either the total purchases or total sales, whichever is lower, by the average of the net assets.

The measurement is usually reported for a 12-month time period. I really enjoyed this reading, problem solving and tackling issues in order to serve the majority of the people is a great skill to develop, especially when its something that belongs to the market. I do not believe that corporations are always bad, most of them grew from being small enterprises that were able to strategize themselves with a product, a short, and a long term plan to serve the consumer regularly. People usually criticize the level of consumerism present, I just think these corporations or enterprises were simply able to figure it out and branch out for development and expansion. Although I have studied economics before but it was also important to refreshen my memory on some of the terms such as; benchmarking, partnering, reengineering, and time-based competition.

The Lean Startup

  • Testing and learning faster than your competitors
  • Failure is avoidable with the lean start-up
  • Conventional approach to management is what makes most start-ups fail, same as trying to predict the market.
  • A lot of money and resources goes towards developing a product that doesn't have a market.
  • Build product, measure costumers reaction, learn if your idea has been validated or if you need to adapt, and then you repeat the cycle until you fit the market's need.
  • Before you start: What are the key assumptions, what's the cheapest fastest way to test them? Then build your MVP: minimum viable product.
  • You need a method to measure feedback, what do you need to count it as successful.

I really enjoyed this video and I can reflect on it with a personal experience of mine, in a school project I was the CEO for a virtual company that has around 30 employees divided on 5 departments. I met with the dean of the American University of Beirut, so we can set-up a booth there for collecting feedback from college students, who were older than us at that time. I wanted to do it for the sake of marketing, and engaging with the community through having presence in it. But by the end of it I was actually amazed by how much feedback and suggestions that they ended up giving us, brand name proposals, colors, and designs etc. I really believe in this model now as a very affective tool to overcome the uncertainties of the market and the consumer.


This video made me think about the line between a services and a product? It's totally a business but where do we draw the line? This business idea regarding delivering cat-food is the same as Uber and others that are tools for accommodating transportation and the transportation of goods, in such setting does this MVP has a long term plan? or does it go back to strategizing it, because I can't see ways in which these business can overcome the changes of the market. I also really enjoy using a white board and sticky-notes.

Design for Action

Products that are visually satisfying, or seem appealing to a specific group of people can have a higher demand than others. Juul look better than a mod, all apple products are very neat, and supreme is simply a logo that has the same font as using text on your story on Instagram. But all of these products have grew and dominated the market in a fairly short period of time. Knowing that we see things before we experience using them, our sight and perception of the visual qualities of the product have an influence on our decision making towards it for sure. With the increasing competition present in most markets, having a strategy around design, could bring you either a step closer or further from being successful. Similar to how the San Francisco Unified School District, for example, recently worked with IDEO to help redesign the cafeteria experience across all its schools, companies also use design to show development in accommodating new audiences. I believe that design is also a strategy for business to represent their success, for example Coca-cola doesn't have to change its label for every holiday or remarkable event, but they do to seem like they're thriving and more powerful since they can afford changing their design for such short periods of time. Introducing something new is always worrisome. Prototypes are important in order to have less predictions about the consumer's experience. Reactions: (1) This doesn’t address the problems I think are critical. (2) These aren’t the possibilities I would have considered. (3) These aren’t the things I would have studied. (4) This isn’t an answer that’s compelling to me. As a consequence, winning commitment to the strategy tends to be the exception rather than the rule, especially when the strategy represents a meaningful deviation from the status quo.


#1: weeks 3: Malach, Caroline, Sitashma, Ahmad, Hannah FS[2]

Focus was on the comparisons between Bennington and Burlington, here are the class notes:

  • Bennington: 15.239 (-3.42%) -Decline
  • Brattleboro: 11.646 (-3.30%)
  • Montpelier: 7.584 (-4.03%)
  • Burlington: 420453 (+1.23%)

Contemporary reality of the state of Vermont, from the data of populations in different cities in the state. Economically viable, but not growing in data points. Are the people with bachelor degrees staying, for my enterprise to serve them?

Education rates in Bennington town, Bennington County, Vermont
2010-2017 High school Some college Associate's Bachelor's Graduate
- - + + +

Wages for women:

  • Bennington: 27.986(+14.96%)
  • Brattleboro: 26.439(-4.29%)
  • Montpelier: 38.934(+20.85)
  • Burlington: 31.546(+14.09%)

Data makes the rates more informed; Brattleboro has the cheapest labor. Montpeleir is vastly growing. This data informs tha audience and targeted group.

Our Enterprise:

Malach, Musa, Ahmad

For my enterprise, I am working with Malach and Musa to develop a space designed for cross-sector collaborations intended to improve community living conditions through creativity and education. In both physical and intangible ways, the space will be strategically crafted to allow for a natural influx of creatives. It will be devised to assist individuals with projects, vocational and creative training, educating the local youth (including foster children)–with the intention of invigorating people with visions, passions, and interests–entertaining the local community as well as showcasing local talent.


'What do you want (vision)?' Arts culture and food; community shared elements.

'What is it?' A space with two areas:

1) food, drinks (culture themed)

2) a bigger space with a stage and lights.

Every two weeks there will be a different theme for this space: covering different cultures from around the world: decoration, music, movie screenings.

Food: Affordable: grain dependant meals from different cultures

Drinks: the facility will have a brewery connected to it

Open space: a stage with lights, will serve as a space for talks, meetings, workshops, open collaborations.


Extra-curricular activities

-Contract with schools

-Contract with education centers

Space for meetings and collaboration

-Affordable food and drinks bring people together

Mixers and networking for artists

-Events hosted by locals or visiting artists

Hosts open-events for the community


-Theatre plays

-Visual arts exhibitions

'What does it do?'

Community oriented; Community outreach and support:

• Pick up station for people with needs, during specific time

• A space for local artists to meet, host other artists, sell artwork, public marketing, networking and collaboration.

• Work as an organization that is applicable to receive funds for projects:

• Revenue of the events in addition to commissioned for projects will go towards development projects for the town, and the development of the facility.

'Who is it for?'

• Community learning centre

• People interested in arts and culture

• Interested in video and photography

• Interested in performance arts

Location Research

(1) If your enterprise wanted to locate in the community (among the 4 we are analyzing) which had the greatest number of High School Graduates and Some College education combined in 2017, which community would you pick?


(2) If your location decision is to be based on the most favorable population trend in the category of the Number of High School Graduates, which community would you select?


(3) Which community had the highest growth rate for the period 2010-2017 in the Graduate or Professional degree category?


(4) Which community had the greatest decline in Graduate/Professional median wages? In your opinion, why might your company choose to locate there?

Brattleboro; because our enterprise centers around direct community involvement and low prices, this may be a good location as many residents who have degrees (specific skills) but aren’t making much would likely be attracted to our space, as it promises a range of things from food, beer, performance space, educational services, working space, creative advising, and equipment–all affordable by most standards.

(5) Which community has the least disparity between men and women in Graduate/Professional degrees? Why do you think that smaller disparity exists in the community you identified?

Bennington. Not really sure why… Maybe it’s due to certain practices in education and job training. Most likely it’s because Bennington’s male and female populations are extremely close (roughly 4,500 each)