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The GOTO Awards 2016

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The GOTO Awards 2016
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MBA students were tasked with understanding one of the biggest global challenges of the 21st century: Water security. Absent or unreliable water and sanitation services, unpredictable floods and droughts, and degraded ecosystems threaten the lives of many of the world’s population, and pose increasing risk to businesses and governments. Rapid changes such as climate change, population pressures, urbanization and financial crises are presenting new challenges to the goal of achieving water security.

The project required students to think through a specific subset of the Water Management & Markets challenge. Analytical approaches such as scenarios, systems dynamics and ecosystems thinking were explored as tools for approaching this and other such complex challenges. By thinking through the landscapes of the challenge and solution efforts and the lessons that can be learned, students drew out market opportunities and possible future levers of change as they considered how this challenge could be tackled.

The students were divided into groups of 5-6 students. Each group focused on one industrial area or geographic location. Following assessment the top ten groups in terms of academic achievement and innovation were recognised at The GOTO Awards. The top three teams received cash prizes.

Arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh

It is estimated that over 70 million people in Bangladesh have been exposed to water contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic in excess of who guidelines, as a result of drinking from aid-funded wells. The team identified a number of problems with the current solutions and examined the various stakeholders including aid organisations, technology providers, community organizations, and education providers, as well as businesses affected by and implicated in the issue including the agriculture and textile industries.

The team researched other global solutions to drinking water purification and proposed the consideration of a market-based solution, by which water filtration technology was franchised to communities via water ATMs. This community action would ideally lead to increased community buy-in to the solution, and would help to ensure that a sustainable supply of clean water was available to impacted communities.

Andrea Coulis | Nicholas Dunford | Wayne Moodaley | Sugam Taneja | Weerawat Wongcharoenyai

Increasing access to water in Mumbai‘s slums

In Mumbai, 50% of the city’s 12.4 million population live in slums and the number looks set to double by 2050. The combination of this rapid urbanisation, poor quality infrastructure and the expansion of ‘notified’ (legal) and ‘non-notified’ (unregulated) slums have caused continued problems of access to clean water; an increase in disease and illness; and the growth of a black-market trade in water for Mumbai’s poorest communities.

The team set out to identify the root causes of the issues and built a set of scenarios that would enable them to recommend next steps to fill the gaps in the current proposed solutions. Their recommendations included considerations for increasing the number of licenced water merchants, implementing rainwater harvesting initiatives, and facilitating mobile payments for water purchasing.

Ahana Dwivedi | Tilman Melzer | Sumeet Sarangi | Molly Shaw | Matthew Williams | Lu Zheng

Below The Surface: London’s water – a damp city becomes dry

Water management: Renewed Privatisation and Regulations that Matter. This report documents that London is a water-stressed city. The cause, however, is not simply water scarcity per se, but water mismanagement: the perpetuation of unsystematic, inefficient, and wasteful water-supply and -disposal networks.

At the heart of the problem is the monopoly that is Thames Water—the sole company responsible for water supply and disposal in London. On inspection, shareholder interests are quite evidently prioritized over customer concerns, facilitated by an overinflated Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC), long-term securitisation of house bills, and 'ring fencing' of the proceeds of these securitised bonds by creating an overly complex owner structure (Allen & Pryke, 2013). We believe that the complexity and intricacy of the system has prevented the public from understanding the situation and from taking action.

Adnan Al-Khatib | Angela Qi | Nicholas Ingle | Wataru Matsumoto | Parag Kulkarni | Christian Forrer                                                                                                                                

Runners up projects:

  • Open Defecation in Nigeria
  • Oxford Water Education
  • Salt Tolerant Technologies
  • Almond Farming in California
  • The Indus River,
  • Philidelphia’s Water System
  • Seawater Desalination in Kenya                                                                                                                                                                                                          
GOTO Platform

View content relating to the topics investigated by the students, faculty and alumni. 

Water Challenge

Find out more about the GOTO water challenge.