Students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Tyler School of Art collaborated on a project that explored entrepreneurship through researching underground markets, and received feedback from students of the University of Technology Sydney.
The teams of Fox School and Tyler School students partnered with Stephanie Syjuco during her three-day residency in November, to discover the practical uses and workings of alternative economies. Syjuco is a San Francisco-based, mixed-media conceptual artist whose interests lie in counterfeit goods and underground markets.
In order to better understand the workings of underground markets, MBA students from the Fox School conducted primary and secondary research, and identified the workings of underground markets, specific products that are bought and sold in these economies, and their overall impact of their sale on mainstream economies. Their primary research included interviews with sellers and buyers in underground markets. They also looked into stakeholders’ perspectives, in order to identify any risks and explore the structure of alternative economies. Their secondary research examined the flow of products, from production to the hands of the consumer. Through their research, the Fox MBA students identified six products commonly bought and sold through underground markets, including sports jerseys, Tide laundry detergent and DVDs.
“This project pushed the boundaries of unstructured research and design-based field work to document and quantify markets that do not want to be documented or quantified in any way,” said James Moustafellos, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School and Associate Director of Temple’s Center for Design + Innovation, who led the collaboration between Fox School and Tyler School students.
Tyler students replicated an underground market in the Temple Contemporary Gallery, printing representations of the products that were to be “sold” and the money to be used for purchasing the goods. At the Nov. 20 gallery opening, University of Technology Sydney students visited the Gallery, and discussed the overview of the project, as well as the research the Fox MBA students had completed. UTS students, who were in Philadelphia studying entrepreneurship through a partnership with the Fox School of Business, were interested to learn how the Fox MBA students had researched an undocumented market.
Later, University of Technology Sydney students and Fox MBA students met with Syjuco to discuss her interest in underground markets and alternative economies, the challenges faced while researching a secretive market and entrepreneurial opportunities in alternative economies. Students from the University of Technology Sydney, Fox and Tyler engaged in a dynamic discussion to better understand alternative entrepreneurial ventures through researching underground markets.
Additional photos from the collaboration are shown below.