MORE TO EXPLORE: Social Innovation

NYU Wagner Convocation | Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service's 2019 Convocation Ceremony featured the 286 graduating students, their friends, and loved ones at New York City Center in Midtown Manhattan on May 23.

Strategies to Enhance the Financial Viability of Environmental Projects

Client
National Audubon Society
Faculty
John Ceffalio
Team
Audrey Campbell, Lucia Herz, Edwin Jacobi
The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is a nonprofit environmental organization that seeks to conserve and restore natural ecosystems and wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Despite growing demand for investable social and environmental enterprises, a lack of viable environmental projects that can both generate financial returns and environmental gains persists. Audubon engaged a Capstone team to develop strategic recommendations for leveraging its existing programs and generating the gains mentioned above. The team conducted in-depth research, interviews with impact investing practitioners, and an extensive analysis of Audubon’s internal programs. Based on their research, the team delivered a final report that offers a clear description of the impact investing field, preliminary steps the Audubon team should consider, and strategic recommendations on how to use impact investments to finance and scale the organization’s existing programs.
Capstone Year

Measuring the Social Impact of Early- and Growth-Stage Firms

Client
Grand Central Tech
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Alexis Herschkowitsch, Loulou Momoh, Zuowen Wei, Ziyan Zhao
Grand Central Tech (GCT) is an initiative funded by the NYC Economic Development Corporation that aims to support and advance companies addressing NYC’s most pressing urban challenges. GCT is considering incorporating social value consideration into its startup screening, valuation, and mentoring process. GCT enlisted a Capstone team to create an introductory tool for assessing early- and growth-stage social impact firms. The team researched existing forms of social impact measurement, conducted informal interviews with companies in the GCT portfolio, and developed and administered a survey of GCT companies to evaluate social impact potential. Based on the results, the team created a Social Impact Dashboard for GCT, accompanied by a comprehensive report about the state of social impact evaluation within the field.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year

Developing a Wage Negotiation Platform to Narrow the Gender and Race Wage Gap

Client
Tactical Mentor
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Team
Michael Вrocker, Harriet Flavel, Jeffrey Jiménez, Jasiel Martin-Odoom, Jasmin Matos
Women earn 54 to 87 cents for every dollar earned by their Caucasian male counterparts. Most of this wage gap is "explained" by characteristics such as experience, education, and occupation. However, over 20 percent of the wage gap is "unexplained" and represents the wage penalty. A significant contributing factor to this penalty is the tendency for women and people of color to refrain from salary negotiation, and a higher likelihood of penalization when they do negotiate. A Capstone team developed the hypothesis that if these populations negotiate more and better, the wage gap will narrow. The team completed a literature review, interviews, a design sprint, and a component design, followed by user testing and product design. They developed a product called Tactical Mentor, which offers finance professionals tools to evaluate their job offers, improve their negotiation skills, and receive better compensation packages. The team developed a business case that presents Tactical Mentor’s value proposition, competitive landscape, and business model.
Capstone Year

Developing a Smart Cities Strategic Framework and Index

Client
Citi Ventures
Faculty
Scott Taitel
Citi Ventures is the innovation and venture capital team of Citigroup, a multinational investment banking and financial services corporation. Citi Ventures employs a discovery mindset to bring forth new ideas by exploring the startup landscape and engaging in strategic investments and partnerships regardless of the lifecycle stage. Citi Ventures enlisted a Capstone team to provide a blueprint for a longterm smart city strategic framework that assesses future products and services against clear strategic goals. The framework would support the development of a preliminary smart cities index and a product or service that should be revenue generating and implementable in one to five years. The team conducted stakeholder interviews and industry research to inform their framework design. The team delivered a final report to Citi Ventures, which included a smart cities strategic framework, a business plan, five-year pro formas, an operational narrative of a proposed smart cities product, and recommendations that support the development of a smart cities index.
Areas Of Impact
Capstone Year