As recent incidents in Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida and California indicate, humans never seem to be sufficiently prepared for “unthinkable” disasters. Disasters occur in many forms: health epidemics, climatological, geological, environmental, economic, geopolitical and so on. Once disasters occur, recovery, regardlessof preparedness, likely takes years.
At the same time, given the historically slow growth of the US manufacturing sector as well as the continuing impact of automation and robotics on employment, how might we view the preparedness market as an entrepreneurial opportunity to help fill in employment gaps as disaster recovery occurs and long-term employment prospects recover?
According to http://marketsandmarkets.com, the global emergency preparedness market is expected to exceed $93 billion in 2018. Whether in services or production, this IPRO team will conceptualize new products, services and business models that serve this expanding preparedness market. This may include architectural designs or products that aid in having more resilient buildings both locally or globally. It may also include opportunities to recycle and repurpose salvageable materials. Other possibilities could be developed to enable first responders to serve and survivors to be sustained.
Students who join this IPRO project will work in teams to thoroughly investigate the existing preparedness market and understand the lessons learned from a range of recent disasters. This will help to identify unmet needs and/or identify insights that can lead to innovative solutions and social entrepreneurship opportunities that can positively impact the lives of many people.
It is also within the realm of possibility to think about the Chicago area and the hardships its residents face as the result of catastrophic events that include floods, tornados, blizzards and other disasters. Again, what are the social entrepreneurship and associated employment opportunities that can be addressed in creative ways that improve the resiliency, speed and effectiveness of products, services and business models that help people regain a normal life?