Future Problem Solvers

Resources to support students on MLWGS teams competing in Future Problem Solving Program International (FPSPI). Coach: Mrs. Boswell.

Tips for leveraging databases and open source sites to enhance the FLEXIBILITY and FLUENCY of your solutions, as well as your ability to ELABORATE on ideas.

  • SHIFT search language. Generate an expansive word bank related to your topic, including vocabulary that reflects how stakeholders with different points-of-view talk about topic. Then – in any search interface – compare results when you search with terms used by people with one perspective versus another
  • Continuously enhance your list of potential search words with subject terms (AP Source), subject headings (PowerSearch), keywords (Science Direct), and topics (JSTOR) assigned to articles related to your topic by database providers.
  • AP Source – limit results to articles from Trade Publications to read perspectives of industries and professional organizations related to a topic
  • PowerSearch – contrast articles published in different cities or countries by using Advanced Search and including a box in your search that looks for a specific country or city name in the Publication Title field
  • Allsides – use the Filter by Bias option on your search results to contrast news from sources considered left, center, or right in the U.S. political landscape
  • Opposing Viewpoints – can give you a quick sense of some contrasting perspectives, but may need to seek more recent coverage for some topics

2017-2018 Topics

Toxic Materials (Problem #2)

You may wish to begin by reviewing the suggested readings from FPSPI and adding key words from these readings to the list of potential search words you gleaned from the problem description.

Resources for further study from international organizations, U.S. government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies:

Philanthrocapitalism (Qualifying problem)

You may wish to begin by reviewing the suggested readings from FPSPI and adding key words from these readings to the list of potential search words you gleaned from the problem description.

The language of this topic can be tricky.  “Philanthrocapitalism” itself is a word used more often by its critics than its supporters who call themselves “social entrepreneurs” or “social investors.” To develop an understanding of this topic informed by contrasting viewpoints, compare results from search phrases like social entrepreneurship or venture philanthropy with results for philanthrocapitalism. You may also want to include words like myths, realities, perils, and risks, or promise, benefits, pros, gains, etc.

As you divide up your research, you may each wish to focus on this topic in relation to its impact in a certain sector: arts, education, environment, healthcare, agriculture, etc.

Along with those on the FPFSI suggested reading list, consider these articles (some require our school’s passwords to PowerSearch or AP Source from off-campus) to understand how philanthrocapitalism differs from traditional philanthropy, its origins, its promise, and its drawbacks:

Brief articles/essays

Longer articles/essays

When comparing traditional philanthropy with philanthrocapitalism, you’ll notice a shift in vocabulary from charitable giving, non-profit organizations, social services, trusts, endowments, donors, and donations to business-oriented words like charitable or philanthropic marketplace, investors, social enterprise, impact investment, profitability, accountability, oversight, outcomes, and return on investment (ROI).

Other key terms include sustainability, regulation, foundations, NGO’s, endowments, grants, grantees, grant-making, charitable expenditures, role of government, “five percent rule,” successful failing, and sector-specific language (examples in the healthcare sector include aid, access, patents, and intellectual property).

Other resources include the following:

  • Stanford Social Innovation Review – a hub of social entrepreneurship that includes some articles which raise questions about philanthrocapitalism, such as “Philanthrocapitalism is not social change philanthropy” (2011)
  • Global Philanthropy Forum – peer network for philanthropists, social investors, and organizations
  • Related books available at VCU, UR, and/or local public libraries include Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World
  • Related books in the MW Library include Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (338.7 YUN)

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