The Beef with Protein: Innovating for a Sustainable Food System


MIT FAC and The Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan bring you this Fall 2015 Sloan Innovation Period course. 

The good news is that longer lifespans, greater prosperity, and health consciousness around the world are driving demand for protein.

The bad news is that demand outpaces current supply, and production of protein sources – beef in particular – has a significant impact on social, environmental, and economic sustainability.

During this interactive 2.5-day workshop, MIT Sloan students will explore opportunities to create sustainable sources of protein to meet the needs of our growing population by applying systems- and design-thinking approaches. This will involve first understanding the systemic challenges and how they fit into the larger picture of food systems sustainability. Second, students will hear first hand how existing companies are tackling this challenge through innovative technologies, partnerships, and business models. Companies will leverage their experiences to illustrate both their specific business problems, as well as challenges faced by multiple players in sustainably producing protein. Following the presentations, students will be led through a design-thinking workshop to brainstorm extensions and solutions to address these challenges and create additional value for the participating companies. The workshop will conclude with student presentations of their results and recommendations to leading food experts and entrepreneurs.