Skip to content
Oct 6 / Nick Fassler

On Hiatus

Thrively Logo

If you couldn’t tell by the lack of updates, I’ve put this blog on hiatus as I work to launch my new company We are busy building a web tool to make it extremely simple to exchange personal and professional feedback.

I’m not sure when I’ll get back to updating this blog, but if you are feeling deprived of (infrequent) updates from me, then you can keep up with me on Twitter.


Jan 26 / Nick Fassler

International Cooperative Year

2012 is International Year of Co-operativesLast year, I posted about International Day of Cooperatives, which is celebrated every year at on the first Saturday in July. Now that it’s 2012, we are officially celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives (as declared by the United Nations).

Check out the site celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives or visit my original post for more of my thoughts.


Jul 22 / Nick Fassler

My Pizza Obsession

My award-winning photo (seriously) of a margherita pie at Punch Pizza in St Paul, MN

It’s only inevitable that I would eventually talk about my pizza obsession on this blog. Most folks who know me have at some point experienced me ranting about this or that amazing pizza place that they need  to try. I’m not sure exactly where this obsession started, perhaps as a boy in Brooklyn eating at my favorite pizza place, Roma Pizza (which at the time I thought was the best in the world, but I realized after returning there a few years ago that it is just pretty good NY pizza).

More recently, this obsession led me to convince Emily to take a slight detour through Los Angeles (Pizzeria Mozza) and Phoenix (Pizzeria Bianco, my all time favorite) on our move from Oakland, CA to Ann Arbor, MI (which is decidedly not even close to on the way). And when we were back visiting New York, there was no way I was going to miss the amazing school bus tour of NY pizza led by my high school friend Scott. Since moving to Michigan for grad school, I’ve been in a search for great pizza and luckily have found it at Supino Pizza in Detroit and the brand new Mani Osteria in Ann Arbor. All of this on top of my own adventures making pizza, with my favorite recipes coming from Cook’s Illustrated and Peter Reinhart’s American Pie (a fun read which is half pizza journey and half amazing recipes).

Read more…

Dec 14 / Nick Fassler

Design Thinking for Mobility in Ann Arbor

Storyboard of New Prototype Bus e-Service

After hearing more and more about design thinking over the last couple years and then visiting a few of the Bay Area’s finest design firms, I decided to take BIT 678: Service Innovation Management at Ross. The class is taught by Nigel Melville, a leader in the research on carbon and energy management software, and helps students develop e-services using a design thinking approach to problem solving.

While most business school projects start with a clearly defined problem (e.g. “How do we sell more of this widget?”), design thinking recognizes that we need to dig deeper to find out what the problem actually is (e.g. “Do people even need this widget?”). To help us go deeper, we used a design thinking model called Service Innovation Design (SID) that is broken into four phases: Explore; Discover; Concept & Design; and Implement & Assess.

For this class, our group was tasked with developing an e-service solution that could improve mobility in the Ann Arbor region. We decided to narrow that focus by concentrating on bus transit for the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA).

Read more…

Oct 12 / Nick Fassler

Energy Efficiency is Not the End Game

This blog post is cross-posted with the EDF Innovation Exchange blog.

“Energy efficiency is not the end game.” These words from Peter Senge (senior lecturer at MIT, renown author and founding Chairman of the Society for Organizational Learning) literally and figuratively kicked off the Capturing the Energy Efficiency Opportunity conference (read Emily Reyna’s blog post) that focused on the results and learnings of the 2010 EDF Climate Corps program. In just one summer, 51 Climate Corps fellows found energy efficiency projects with savings of $350 million in net operating costs and 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. During my own fellowship with HCA Healthcare, I found a lighting efficiency project that could be rolled out to most of HCA’s hospitals to save 52,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually and $14.7 million in net operating costs over the life of the project. The success of EDF Climate Corps is no modest accomplishment for a program that has only been in existence for three years, yet throughout the conference I kept thinking about Professor Senge’s words and wondered how we could be addressing the deeper and more systemic issues of energy and sustainability.

I spoke with Professor Senge shortly after the conference to ask him about moving beyond energy efficiency, and what he thinks programs like EDF Climate Corps can do to be more transformative in their relationships with businesses.

Read more…