Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fall 2011 Projects

ABB - David & Claire & ZachABB (Asea Brown Boveri Ltd.)

ABB is a global provider of power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. Engineering companies like ABB often deliver technically complex products, systems and services to its customers.  Claims by or against either party are common for such complicated transactions. HNMCP students analyzed ABB’s approach to claims resolution, with a view to reducing friction and increasing future business without taking on significantly more risk in practice.  Students evaluated ABB’s existing practices, researched industry norms and analyzed typical contract claims in order to predict future trends and make recommendations on how to avoid, mitigate or resolve claims in a more effective way.  In January 2012, the HNMCP team presented its findings to ABB executives in Zurich, Switzerland.

CFPB - Jeff & Lizzie & RyanConsumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans. The CFPB will be supervising financial institutions to help ensure that consumer financial products, services, and practices conform to federal consumer financial protection legal requirements. At times disputes will emerge as financial institutions will wish to appeal the findings of the supervision process. The CFPB is staffed with employees who have transferred from a number of different agencies with different appeals processes; implementing a specific process will require a persuasive proposal backed by extensive research. The HNMCP team researched various appeals models and surveyed stakeholders on current practices with the aim of designing a dispute resolution appeals process to be implemented by the CFPB.  The team presented its findings to key members of the CFPB at a December 2011 meeting of the bureau in Washington, D.C.

Cornerstone - David and JoelCornerstone Village Cohousing

Cornerstone Village Cohousing is an intentional residential community of 32 households in North Cambridge in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhood. With the acknowledgement that conflict is an inevitable part of working and living together, a plan for a conflict resolution committee was written into the bylaws, but it was disbanded many years ago and since then, Cornerstone has been without any formal means of dispute resolution. The HNMCP team analyzed conflict at Cornerstone and worked with Cornerstone to co-design a dispute resolution process to address structural conflict, inter-household conflict, conflict in committees, and situations where one of the parties refuses to engage in conflict resolution. In December 2011, the HNMCP team presented its findings and recommendations to the Cornerstone community.

Chile - Leah & Apoovra & TeresaDirección de Gestión y Modernización de la Justicia,  Ministerio de Justicia, Chile (DGM)

The Dirección de Gestión y Modernización de la Justicia (DGM) evaluates, coordinates, implements and monitors reforms undertaken by the Ministry of Justice in Chile. DGM will implement a pilot project focused on providing access to a multi-door model of dispute resolution for underserved constituents, which includes (1) a collaborative option (mediation and conciliation), (2) an adjudicative option (arbitration and referral to the local judge in charge of community disputes), (3) and a social services option. The HNMCP student team evaluated this program, made recommendations for improvement, and provided a suggested methodology for evaluating the pilot program at the conclusion of year 1 operations.  The HNMCP team spent two weeks in Chile in January meeting with key stakeholders, conducting research, and presenting its recommendations.


OGIS - Mike and KristaOffice of Government Information Services (OGIS)

The Office of Government Information Services’ (OGIS) mission is to improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process and resolve disputes between federal agencies and FOIA requesters. OGIS reviews policies and procedures of administrative agencies, reviews compliance, and recommends policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of FOIA. OGIS will offer mediation services to resolve disputes around FOIA, and sought out HNMCP to help design this mediation program. Students identified key interests and goals of OGIS’s mediation program; interviewed stakeholders for information and to obtain buy-in for using OGIS mediation services; identified types of conflicts appropriate for mediation; and identified alternative dispute resolution processes that will be useful to resolve FOIA disputes.

Seeds of Peace

Seeds of Peace (SoP) is a non-profit dedicated to the pursuit of lasting peace in regions of conflict. Their mission is to help young people develop the relationships, understanding, courage, and leadership skills necessary to advance reconciliation and coexistence.  Their current Junior Leadership Program equips high potential youth in conflict regions with the assets and abilities required for effective leadership in peace-building. SoP plans to offer basic training in mediation and negotiation to its “Peer Leaders” group and contracted HNMCP to develop and deliver this training.  In January, the HNMCP student team traveled to Jerusalem and conducted the training for approximately 30–40 SoP Peer Leaders from the Middle East region.