A Collaboratory for the Creation of Shareable Prosperity

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A Collaboratory for the Creation of Shareable Prosperity

MISSION STATEMENT Accelerate the creation of shareable global prosperity through collaborative interdisciplinary field-based scholarship that embodies and sustains an ethic of timeless engagement with the world we inherit, help create and leave behind.



thical humans are frustrated by the enduring palpable disparity between the well-being enjoyed by affluent individuals and the well-being of others less fortunate in their places and times of birth, their generational inheritances, and their genders. This frustration is multiplied by the manifest difficulty in imagining that any one individual can do anything significant about the disparity. Great hopes for the outcomes of intentional individual actions that are directed at eliminating global disparities are invitations for discouragement, withdrawal and cynicism. Tradition has followed a top-down approach for sharing wealth and abundance through charity, social welfare, and other such programs, hoping that it will ultimately uplift the most marginalized. Despite such efforts, the plight of these people remains mostly unchanged in all these years. The time has come to follow Albert Einstein’s advice: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” We need research that contributes to a new paradigm of prosperity, a shareable prosperity, that is created collaboratively with those who live under extreme conditions such that all parties benefit concurrently from its inception. Such prosperity becomes sustainable when its creators acknowledge the ethical responsibility we have for the future of humanity.


What We Do We are a collaboratory that is dedicated toward providing a social and intellectual framework for researchers who want to be involved in reducing disparities in well-being and to combine that involvement with realistic hopes for modest endeavors. Our collaboratory does this in two primary ways: First, it develops and refines a methodology for research that is both scientifically rigorous and profoundly collaborative. The method seeks to mobilize knowledge to serve men, women, and children living in extremely impoverished conditions through active collaboration with those people. And it seeks to do this in ways that build bases for sustained inquiry by those men, women and children. Scholars who are embedded in these communities in this way secure ethical confirmation in the small, local gains that are possible.

“The method seeks to mobilize knowledge to serve men, women, and children living in extremely impoverished conditions through active collaboration with those people. And it seeks to do this in ways that build bases for sustained inquiry by those men, women and children.�

Second, it creates a community of scholars that supports young scholars in their research and in their search for an ethical identity for that research. It encourages a value base for scholarship, a recognition that scholarship is a collaborative effort involving a community of trust that augments individual ambition. And it seeks to help scholars define themselves in ways that ground their commitment to working with others less on hopes for huge consequences than on the scholars’ senses of themselves.

Our Approach Since 1997, we have chosen to investigate and prototype the institutional affordances that allow these aforementioned practices to thrive in a research environment. A few of these include:


• Frequent dialogue that fosters collaborative inquiries between ecolo• • • •

gies of three scholars who are invested in each other as researchers and as people Funding to support invited scholars who wish to explore research that extends beyond the purview of their departments A network of long-term collaborative relationships with communities in global field sites such as the urban poor in Ahmedabad, India and African refugees in Dayton, Ohio A virtual collaborative environment, employing Internet communication technology, that helps collaborations with global partners flourish A multigenerational community of interdisciplinary scholars who are invested in guiding the newest scholars in the research center

These and other aspects of KGC work together to create a research center that is unique within Stanford and other academic institutions.

The Impact of our Work KGC scholars are beginning to see the creation of shareable prosperity in communities around the globe through diverse projects that boldly push the boundaries of their fields. These projects, which are profiled later in this document, impact varied groups. These include women who are victims of physical and sexual violence; villagers who live in impoverished rural areas; aspiring entrepreneurs in the developing world; residents of urban slums; members of refugee communities; individuals with diabetes; mothers; teachers; employees; and business leaders in the United States, Finland, India, Pakistan and Taiwan. They incorporate research from fields spanning public health, psychology, philosophy, education, engineering, and management. Our work has been documented and shared through dissertations, masters theses, scholarly publications, and conference presentations.

Our Vision for the Future There is a dormant abundance in the world that can be unleashed through the collaborative efforts of people who live their lives with an ethic of care. We want to help build a future for many generations to come where this abundance is shareable with every man, woman, and child independent of their conditions at birth.


Remarks on shareable prosperity Shareable prosperity as an idea has been developed by scholars at KGC from a foundation in interdisciplinary inquiry. Dr. Syed Shariq, founding cochair of KGC, articulates some of the points of departure leading up to this new framework for creating prosperity. “The creation of shareable prosperity can best be understood as ethics in practice of caring.1 It invites us to live our lives with an awareness of the following ethics, as an expression of our timeless engagement with the world we inherit, help create and leave behind.

• Gratitude for being alive in the middle of generations that have preceded •

• • •

us and that have yet to follow, and thus embracing our responsibility for the future of humanity Recognition of the impoverished people we are drawn to care for by “Recall(ing) the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.”2 Voluntary commitment to enacting a personal sense of caring as a model for living each of our lives Expression of each of our caring in collaboration with3 those we care about Sharing the prosperity created during the collaboration with those we care about while4 creating it

Shareable prosperity is rooted in the recognition that we share planet earth as our common home. Each of our lives is contingent on the profound implications of our unique, defining origins, since we didn’t choose our parents, we didn’t select our genders and we didn’t decide the places and times of our births.5 Despite our searches for universal truths, each of us is living as a unique human being in a particular environment and situation. A new vision of prosperity, one that creates a shareable, global prosperity, can manifest as a cumulative expression of ethics in practice among those of us who aspire to recognize and pursue a personal sense of caring 1

“A person who cares about something is, as it were, invested in it. He identifies himself with what he cares about in the sense that he makes himself vulnerable to losses and susceptible to benefits depending upon whether what he cares about is diminished or enhanced. [...] Insofar as the person’s life is in whole or in part devoted to anything, rather than being merely a sequence of events whose themes and structures he makes no effort to fashion, it is devoted to this.” in Harry Frankfurt (1982), The Importance of What We Care About, Synthese, 1982, 53 (2), p. 260; [T]he experience of caring is the root of ethical behavior - that is, acting in ways which values others in themselves.” in Christopher Groves, Future Ethics - Risk, Care and Non-Reciprocal Responsibility, Journal of Global Ethics, 5(1), 2009, p. 27.


Pyarelal, Mahatma Gandhi - The Last Phase, Vol. II, 1958, p. 65


“[T]here is no ‘self’ except by virtue of a ‘with’, which, in fact, structures it. This would have to be the axiom of any analytic that is to be called coexistential.” Jean−Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural, 2000, p. 94 4


“How do individuals enter into composition with one another in order to form a higher individual, ad infinitum? How can a being take another being into its world, but while preserving or respecting the other’s own relations and world? And in this regard, what are the different types of sociabilities for example?” in Deleuze, G., Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, 1988, p. 126

as a model for living their lives.6 In practice, this ethics of caring is a collaboration that invites and welcomes those who are living under extremely impoverished environments to join in co-creating a shareable prosperity that nurtures all of us concurrently. Shareable prosperity involves recognizing and realizing the unique abundance7 that lies dormant as possibility within the collaborations that each self-inspired practitioner of the ethics of caring can manifest in working together with those they care for. The aspirations for these pursuits emanate from the awareness that if others had not cared for us during the long dependency of our formative years we would not now be able to care for others, and “perhaps the greatest life-value of ethics is precisely that it is a sphere where a certain kind of communion can exist, a sphere where the eternal loneliness stops […] ethics forces a sense of community upon all men.”8

“Shareable prosperity involves recognizing and realizing the unique abundance that lies dormant as possibility within the collaborations that each self-inspired practitioner of the ethics of caring can manifest in working together with those they care for.”

The time has come for us now to dedicate ourselves to research advancing the creation of shareable prosperity with impoverished people by seeking “to experiment, to develop ethics as the practice of exploration and discovery, to carefully create and determine which modes of living enhance or destroy life, and to cultivate respect both for unforeseen possibilities as well as for those ecological limits that cannot yet be determined or overcome.”9 As such, the creation of shareable prosperity is a welcome challenge for those who are drawn to uncovering and realizing the latent possibilities that await the collaborative creation with those among us who are living under the extremes of vulnerabilities. The ultimate result will be a more ethical and caring society, where we are able to see and witness the lives of each other as neighbors through the window created by a rapidly shrinking global space in which there is always enough for everyone to meet their needs sustainably.10” Syed Shariq, Founding Co-Chair, KGC, October 2012 5

Inspired by a statement by James G. March, Stanford University, 2002


“There is naturally an intimate connection between what a person cares about and what he will, generally or under certain conditions, think it best for himself to do.” in Harry Frankfurt, The Importance of What We Care About, Synthese, 53(2), 1982, p. 257 7 “Second nature is born of the collective imagination of humanity, because science is precisely this: the productive result of the appropriative spirit of nature that the human community possesses and develops. The process of civilization is an accumulation of productive capacity.” in Negri, Antonio, Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza’s Metaphysics and Politics, 1999, p. 225 8

György Lukács, Soul and Form, 1974, p. 57


Hayden, Patrick, Multiplicity and Becoming: The Pluralist Empiricism of Gilles Deleuze, 1998, p. 131


“The Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s needs […]”, Gandhi, M. K., Quoted in Dr. Baidyanath Mishra’s Man at the Centre of Development’, Yojana, October 1998, p. 34.


shareable prosperity IN PRACTICE KGC scholars are inspired by the work of others who are creating shareable prosperity. Two examples have been particularly resonant, in which acts of caring have also evolved into sustainable collaborative organizations as ecosystems that magnify the work of their founders.

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, Aravind Eye Care, Madurai, India

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy deeply cared about the plight of the blind. As an eye surgeon, he started providing sight-restoring care to those who could not see, regardless of their ability to pay. With the help of his family, he started treating more patients and addressing the complex factors that lead to needless blindness. Today, his eleven-bed clinic has evolved into a thriving eye care ecosystem, where most patients receive their treatments for free or for a deeply subsidized cost. Community outreach programs ensure that the most vulnerable have access to care. This eye care system, known as Aravind, is financially sustainable, has never relied on external funding, and reinvests all its income into expansion and development. (Photo Source: Infinite Vision, ©Aravind Eye Care System, 2004)


With nail clippers and combs, Jayesh Patel, Anar Patel, and Viren Joshi reached out to children in slum. They cut their nails and combed their hair, offering cleanliness and hygiene as mothers would for their children. More than twenty years later, these small acts evolved into an organizational ecosystem, called Manav Sadhna, that nurtures, feeds, educates and promotes hygiene and sanitation for thousands of men, women and children in slums. Manav Sadhna is driven by the commitment to “love all, share all.” Some of those children from the early days of the organization have grown and learned to be a part of Manav Sadhna, and they are, now, engaged in caring for their own slum community members.

(Photo Source: Living Service, ©Global Oneness Project, 2009)


CURRENT RESEARCH on shareable prosperity

KGC currently supports a global community of researchers, who range from young graduates who just discovered their paths of inquiry to seasoned senior research scholars who serve as guides to younger scholars. Each individual has a unique line of research, and collaborative projects emerge from the complementary interests of scholars. Each of these innovative projects, profiled in the coming pages, have developed particular approaches to creating shareable prosperity within the context of the people they have chosen to work with, be it villagers in India, a group of young entrepreneurs or employees and leaders in organizations.



Co-Founding Scholars: Dr. Bhavna Hariharan, Dr. Jennifer Keller, Dr. Tea Lempiälä, Dr. Ram Nidumolu, Colleen Saxen, MPH, Dr. Syed Shariq, Dr. Neeraj Sonalkar


ver the past decade, KGC scholars have pioneered a new area of research focused on the creation of shareable prosperity, arriving upon a set of theories and practices that have proven effective in the field. These scholars are now codifying their findings into a new academic field of study, where research informs practices, that can support the creation of shareable prosperity as a professional pursuit. KGC scholars draw inspiration from Abraham Flexner’s 1910 groundbreaking report on medical education in the U.S. This report transformed the theory and practice of medical education by fostering the link with research and by designating academic institutions responsible for medical education. The medical professionals then went on to transform the practice of medicine throughout the US and beyond. The researchers believe that a similar impact can ultimately be achieved in uplifting underserved people living in impoverished environments through the theory and practice of enabling shareable prosperity. The Professional School for Shareable Prosperity (PSSP) is a project that advances the education and training of scholars and practitioners who seek to create shareable prosperity. It aims to make KGC a sustainable home for these scholars and create an academic environment for further developing the theories and practices. KGC scholars will implement the following imperatives, adapted from the current model of professional medical education, to achieve the goals of PSSP:


• The practices for creating shareable prosperity, to be consistently

effective and ethical, must be grounded in sound theoretical and field-based research. KGC scholars evaluate their approaches for creating shareable prosperity through parallel efforts that establish a strong research-based validation by proving effectiveness in various field settings. Effective practices must be compiled into a comprehensive set for educating, training and communicating how to create shareable prosperity. KGC scholars will assess the existing practices to determine if they are effective and sufficient or if other practices need to be developed. Long-term sustainability requires the creation of an academic community dedicated to research and development on shareable prosperity. KGC scholars will host annual symposia at Stanford with eminent scholars in the field of professional education. Young scholars interested in the creation of shareable prosperity will also be invited to attend. The education and training of shareable prosperity scholars and practitioners must include experiential learning. Since much of this work requires particular ethical practices to accompany theory and research, experiential learning is an integral part of the professional education. “Clinical study” via laboratories and apprenticeships will complement traditional teaching and research methods. Scholars must have immediate access to their field sites that are distributed globally. Most of the field sites located globally are in remote locations, such as rural villages in India. As a result, KGC will leverage breakthrough satellite communication technologies in a real-time telepresence studio to bring fieldwork into close proximity with the academic setting, providing a similar effect to the inclusion of hospitals on or near medical school campuses. KGC is currently prototyping this studio with Internet video technology that links collaborators at Stanford with field sites in India, Hawaii, Ohio and Finland.

KGC scholars are committed to creating shareable prosperity in field settings around the world, and they will apply the same practices to KGC as an institution in order to create instances of shareable prosperity locally. The ultimate goal is to sustain KGC as an institution that creates shareable prosperity and a community of scholars and practitioners who are dedicated to their own practices of this goal, individually and collaboratively, around the globe.


Collaboratory for Realizing Engineers’ Aspirations for the Last Manav1 (REALM) Dr. Bhavna Hariharan (Co-Lead), Dr. Syed Shariq (Co-Lead)

“The vision for REALM is to build the ability in a new generation of engineers to contribute sustainably toward improving the lives of those living in extreme impoverished conditions, working in the spirit of anthyodaya, expressed by M. K. Gandhi: ‘Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny?’” -Dr Syed Shariq and Dr. Bhavna Hariharan


ngineers have created astonishing technologies that enable the more fortunate in our society to prosper, even in environments devoid of resources necessary for human life. Our ability to support humans in these unlikely homes, even as distant as the International Space Station, is a testament to the skill of these engineers. However, we have failed to make this prosperity universal, and the world remains a place where millions of people lack resources. Many engineers are eager to use their talents to uplift those who live in poverty and create a shareable global prosperity. REALM aims to ensure that such engineering efforts reach and continue to benefit the communities they intend to serve. The project initially focuses on a lack of hygiene and sanitation, a problem that the WHO estimates to affect nearly 2.6 billion people. REALM rethinks the problem as an opportunity for addressing issues of education, safety, and dignity while enabling better hygiene and heath monitoring and making the toilet desirable, affordable and the preferred alternative to open defecation. In addition, the toilet will be a site for the diagnosis and maintenance of community wellness. This in turn will contribute to prosperous local ecosystems, where vulnerable populations like infants, children, and women are afforded an overall sense of well-being.


1 Manav is the Hindi (national language of India) word for humans. This word choice was employed to be inclusive of the last man, woman and child, and thus of the underserved community as a whole.

The REALM project builds collaborations between engineering students and members of impoverished communities in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. It partners with local universities and non-governmental organizations that have ties to these communities. In particular, the project is working with the Environmental Sanitation Institute, an organization in Ahmedabad that has successfully advanced sanitation projects in thousands of villages in India. The REALM process begins by building relationships between students and the community, so that each side can freely share aspirations without expecting any utilitarian outcomes. From there, design teams are assembled from students at Stanford and IITJ, interns from ESI and members of the local community. The teams participate in three labs that form the REALM project. The Aspirations Lab [Lab A] encourages team members to articulate, examine and reconfirm the narratives of their intentions for the project, from which a collective aspiration for sustainably working with the community can form. The Bricolage Lab [Lab B] trains the teams to follow a modified Stanford design process that involves devising products and services with local team members that address problems faced by the community. The Community Co-Venture Lab and Incubator [Lab C] helps the teams develop these products, services and social change opportunities into micro-enterprises that can grow into local ecosystems of shareable prosperity within the partner community. Right now, researchers are working to establish a village as a demonstration site, where a sustainable, long-term collaboration between students and an underserved community will lead to shareable prosperity and greater well-being for all participants. They will investigate the environmental parameters and teaching practices that enable successful collaborations among engineering students and impoverished communities, look at emerging teamwork practices and study the changes that engineering students and the community undergo as a result of their participation in REALM. The REALM project advances the work of Dr. Syed Shariq in his Sustainability of Future Self project, Dr. Bhavna Hariharan in her Global Engineers’ Education project, and KGC’s collaborative Real Time Venture Design Lab (ReVeL) project, which, from 1999 to 2007, worked with early-stage ventures that sought to promote shareable prosperity in the developing world.


Global Engineers’ Education Dr. Bhavna Hariharan (Lead)

“The vision for my research is to see how we can actively create a world where everyone can participate equally, where underserved, marginalized and chronically poor communities and students at prestigious universities can instantiate circumstances and situations where we can all be who we are and still feel relevant and necessary and, therefore, prosperous.� -Dr. Bhavna Hariharan


plifting the poorest, most marginalized communities in the world is one of the most pressing challenges we face. But economic prosperity is only one part of the solution. The creation of a shareable prosperity requires that communities can participate in the societies and institutions that surround them, while also preserving their unique identity. For Dr. Bhavna Hariharan, a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University, this process can start by fostering long-term collaborations between these marginalized communities and the students who want to work with them. Students at institutions like Stanford are eager to have an impact on impoverished communities but do not know how to contribute longterm solutions. Meanwhile, communities see well-intentioned people come and go but do not experience a significant change in their quality of life. As a result, many existing projects fail to have sustainable impact and, instead, reinforce the hopelessness many impoverished communities feel. Dr. Hariharan has designed a curriculum that teaches engineering students to design products and services with impoverished communities,


rather than for them, and consider how these products and services can contribute to building a sustainable local economy. Her research investigates how to train students to work with their partners as equal participants. Her previous research has shown that exposure to the potentially extreme situations that their partners face can create disorienting experiences of discontinuity for students. Her continued research investigates how the students can continue learning when faced with these experiences. These areas of inquiry will contribute toward improving the design of curriculum. Dr. Hariharan is also investigating whether the regular and reliable presence, over at least five to ten years, of students as partners in a village can help a community envision a different future for itself and shift current narratives of marginalization to ones that characterize it as a valuable participant in and contributor to the world at large. Through this effort, the community may be able to move towards a more robust and sustainable vision of shareable prosperity. This curriculum has been adapted for the REALM (Realizing Engineers’ Aspirations for the Last Manav) project in collaboration with Dr Syed Shariq and builds on Dr. Hariharan’s dissertation work in engineering education.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD Dr. Hariharan piloted her curriculum with a group of students working with pitloom weavers in southern India. The students prototyped a mechanism that would change the way in which the weavers use their feet in an attempt to relieve the pain caused by long hours of work on uncomfortable machinery. Dr. Hariharan recalls her interactions with the weaving community: “When I first visited the weaving community, they saw no possibility for improvement. As one of the weavers said, ‘It cannot be changed, as far too many people have tried.’ Another weaver’s prediction was even more bleak, ‘By the time the change comes, there may not be a weaving community.’ When I took the prototype to the village at the end of the project, it didn’t quite fit into their pit. One of the weavers got on his bicycle and brought the local carpenter to modify it. I was amazed by their attempts to make the design work. A short time before, the weavers saw no hope for change. Now, they were participating in the design process.”



“My vision is to live in a world where no person is the victim of interpersonal violence; where all people can flourish and are empowered to see themselves as worthwhile, important human beings.� -Dr. Jennifer Keller


e are far more aware today of the horror and prevalence of the interpersonal violence that permeates our sense of safety, security and freedom. Approximately 1 in 3 women experience violence by a partner or someone they know, and this holds true globally as well as in the United States. This means that worldwide more than one billion women are directly affected by this type of violence. Interpersonal violence, in particular repeated physical, sexual, and emotional trauma, can result in a deeply damaged sense of self and a reduction in psychological, interpersonal, physical, occupational and economic well-being. This violence continues to perpetuate because of the 1) myths of interpersonal violence that we have inherited, 2) the inability to master the truths about violence necessary for preserving ourselves, and 3) the lack of training and knowledge necessary to live fully with the awareness of these truths every day. What is incredible is that much of this violence is preventable! Dr. Jennifer Keller, a senior researcher in psychiatry with over ten years of experience as a clinical psychologist, has witnessed firsthand the profound effects trauma has on her clients. She has founded and directs the IVP Academy at Stanford University. Her vision is to live in a world


where neither boys nor girls are the victims of interpersonal violence; where they can flourish and are empowered to see themselves as worthwhile, important human beings who are not constrained by the threat of violence or by our artificial societal expectations because of their gender; a world where men and women collaboratively create and maintain an environment for sharable prosperity. Both boys and girls deserve such empowerment in order to live their lives to their fullest potential. By giving children the knowledge and skills for healthy living, we aim to create a world where we respect ourselves and one another and develop a more compassionate, humane way of living together. Over the years, the IVP Academy has been conducting research on intervention and prevention of interpersonal violence. This research has resulted in the development of three core practices that are integrated into the programs offered though the IVP Academy: • Education About the Myths of interpersonal violence • Physical Empowerment Skills for mastering the truths about preservation of self • Life Skills Training to live with awareness of these truths every day The program extends beyond traditional therapies, which often treat the symptoms of the trauma without healing a patient’s underlying damaged sense of self. Dr. Keller believes that such training can help rebuild a woman’s trust in her own voice and strength. Realizing the truths about violence can be overwhelming, so we aim to develop the skills necessary to thrive while simultaneously recognizing these dangers. We believe teaching these practices holds the potential to reduce the prevalence of interpersonal violence and help bring women and men together as collaborators in creating and maintaining a culture of safety, security and freedom for fostering a world with sharable prosperity. IVP Academy’s current, intergrated programs consist of: 1) Adolescent Girls’ Prevention Curriculum 2) Mother-Daughter Empowerment Seminars, 3) Women’s Prevention Program. These programs are currently being offered in field sites locally, such as high schools and a juvenile detention center. Dr. Keller is extending these programs to field sites in South Asia, beginning in India and Pakistan. We are also developing similar programs for boys.



“We wish to create environments where more authentic interaction can take place within the work community, i.e. the kinds of environments where issues are discussed honestly, ideas shared openly and collaboration realized in its fullest potential. Such a vision can be extended to organizations in both developed and developing nations, improving the empowerment of individuals and enriching their collaboration, thus generating a positive cycle of prosperity.” -Dr. Tea Lempiälä


In an ever-changing world with limited resources, an essential path to sustainable prosperity is realizing the capacity for innovation that lies dormant. The need for increasing the agency of a more diverse group of actors to take part in the creation of novel solutions cuts across sectors and cultures, whether in a European corporation, a Brazilian service organization or an Indian village community. In her studies of Finnish organizations, Dr. Tea Lempiälä has discovered that innovative potential is routinely missed in organizations, as actors, responding to the norms of professional conduct, mask their feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. This sort of “back stage” interaction, so called because it is typically shared only with trusted individuals in private, is necessary in the inherently collaborative, ambiguous and emotional process of innovation. The BINPRO project aims to find ways in which the back stage can be shared in professional contexts, enabling more authentic interaction to emerge. Dr. Lempiälä believes that this allows us to create and sustain organizations and communities where members are empowered and content, leadership processes are more effective, and innovation capacity fully utilized. The BINPRO project studies both corporate environments as well as underserved communities in order


to understand the differences and similarities in increasing innovation agency in these diverse contexts. The project will also strive to create learning and sharing across the studied contexts; between the four different geographical and cultural contexts and organization types. The BINPRO project team will gather ethnographic data in Finland, the United States, India and Brazil. In all contexts corporate environments as well as underserved communities (and NGO’s working with them) will be studied. During the research the team will work with the studied communities and organizations to create and explore methods for bringing authentic interaction more fully part of the professional world, thus better aligning the front and back stages. The goal is to find ways in which individuals can be better empowered to realize their potential and aspirations, as well as collaborate in meaningful and mutually supportive ways. The aspect of empowerment is particularly highlighted in the underserved communities where the need for innovation and the creation of prosperity is particularly urgent. In these contexts the research is taken to the direction of creating agency with respect to altering one’s own environment, creating novel solutions and generating entrepreneurship.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD “In one case study, I examined a technology concept that progressed nicely at a company. I interviewed a product engineer who had presented the idea, and asked him how he did it. He said that he was excited about the idea and had a strong hunch that it would be a success in the market. But he knew that these were not valid grounds for decision making, so he came up with preliminary profit and feasibility estimates and presented them to the division head, who decided to move rapidly forward with the idea. Then I interviewed the division head, and asked him why he had said yes. He said that, even though the employee had shown him convincing estimates, he knew that these would need to be reworked. Instead, he was drawn by the engineer’s enthusiasm and his own intuition about the market. But these ‘subjective factors’ were not discussed in the meeting, and the decision was seemingly based on the estimates. So these men had created a cover for each other, although they were both driven by the same things: excitement, curiosity and an intuition for the market. Even though the end result was pleasing for both parties, they were hiding things from each other that might have actually been important understand when the decision was made. “



Millennial Entrepreneurship, Wellbeing, and Ecosystem Society (Me-We) Project Dr. Ram Nidumolu (Lead)

Economy Me-We

“My goal is to enable business leaders to recognize their hidden connections to society and nature, rather than viewing themselves as separate. Through a leadership model that is anchored in being, rather than doing or having, we can restore the wholeness of business.” -Dr. Ram Nidumolu


he success of business as an economic institution in the past two centuries has been astounding, having lifted 70% of the world out of absolute poverty. Yet, business has largely been incapable of addressing the collateral damage of its material success on the humanitarian and environmental context in which it operates. Two-thirds of our water and land ecosystems are degraded significantly. We are at great risk of a catastrophic global warming of 4-6°C above preindustrial levels. We are on track to killing off 30% of the world’s species by 2050 and 50% by 2100. We are witnessing growing economic inequality in the U.S. and many other societies, and financial scandals have resulted in a steep drop in society’s trust in business and corporate leadership. A new business leadership model that sees business as existentially dependent on humanity and nature is urgently required. Moreover, such a model should emphasize our interconnections to one another. Being-centered leadership (BCL) is a promising model for the future that integrates our wisdom traditions with recent research in the behavioral and social sciences. This model is anchored in the concept of Being, the fundamental reality that is the essence of all of our existence. It is described in Dr. Nidumolu’s recent book, Two Birds in a Tree: Timeless Indian Wisdom for Business Leaders. Being-centered leaders are guided by a deep sense of interconnection where the good of the whole becomes an integral part of their decisions and actions. BCL’s ultimate goal is to create shareable and sustainable prosperity for the company and all its stakeholders, including humanity and nature. Large, established businesses face severe entrenched challenges in dramatically transforming their business practices to promote the wellbeing of humanity and nature. New ventures provide better opportunities for


promoting this wellbeing, especially if there is a supportive business ecosystem that continually encourages them to do so. The generation that is most passionate about addressing our ecological crisis is the Millennial generation, in part because they are the ones who will be most affected by it. The Millennial Entrepreneurship, Wellbeing, and Ecosystem (Me-We) project therefore focuses on guiding entrepreneurs from the Millennial generation towards embodying BCL from the very inception of their ventures. The goal of the Me-We project is to build leadership capacity among Millennial entrepreneurs to ensure that their ventures continually promote the wellbeing of society and nature, even as their business continues to grow. To accomplish this, the project will develop and offer four core sets of BCL practices for Millennial entrepreneurs: 1) Recognizing the larger context of business that Being represents, 2) Experiencing this recognition in ways that deepen and prolong it, 3) Using these experiences to anchor in a mindset that promotes the overall wellbeing of business, humanity and nature, and 4) Leading by example from this place of anchoring so that the individual and the organization becomes more Beingcentered in thought, word and deed. An initial set of BCL practices will be prototyped and tested with a small group of KGC scholars and students with the goal of identifying practices that have preliminary validity for Millennials. The subsequent validation and improvement of BCL practices will be conducted with two batches of Stanford Millennial entrepreneurs who have high BCL potential. Each batch will comprise 20-30 Millennial entrepreneurs and will implement BCL practices over 6-9 months. The measures of personal and venture wellbeing most related to these practices will also be identified. The initial test site for the Me-We project is KGC at Stanford University, Silicon Valley. Subsequent field sites could include other regions and associated educational institutions around the world that are similar hotbeds for entrepreneurship. To enable the success of the Me-We participants, the project will bring together an ecosystem of business partners and advisors. The ecosystem will include business executives at corporations, foundations, investment firms, and NGOs who are interested in promoting BCL. A workshop on Being-Centered Leadership targeted at Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is being offered through the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.



“My vision is to see remarkable organizations, which have real potential for creating a more just society, sustain themselves without compromising the value of their work and connect with the likeminded people who share a common goal.� -Susan Nourse


he persistence of disparities in our society make a clear case for the need to develop new ideas, approaches and institutions that work towards eliminating these disparities. Such initiatives do exist, generated by creative and dedicated individuals, and hope for a more balanced society lies in the sustainability of these initiatives. Among the challenges that these initiatives face is the inherent difficulty in maintaining their efforts as agents of change in a system that is resistant to deviations from the status quo. This dilemma has been discussed by Professor James March in his research on exploration and exploitation (here used to indicate the use of already-existing ways of knowing). He describes the difficulty in finding and generating resources for exploration in a system that values the efficiency and predictability of exploitation.


Many truly innovative initiatives begin with an incubation process, designed to allow the initiative to explore and develop its ideas without being prematurely molded by the institutions that surround it. However, the resources that support this incubation period are limited, and sustainability requires that the initiatives connect with those who want to provide support, financial and otherwise, over the longer term. This transition is particularly difficult due to the specialized culture and language that often develops during an incubation period. As a result, initiatives find it challenging to communicate their vision, values and practices while maintaining the integrity of essence that uniquely distinguishes them. Susan Nourse, a graduate from the Product Design program at Stanford University, seeks to understand the nature of this specialized language and to rearticulate the messages of these initiatives. She has worked closely with two leaders of KGC, which is emerging from its own incubation period, to carefully author language describing the vision, values and practices of KGC. This process has involved interviewing members of the research group, reviewing large collections of archived materials, creating writing and multimedia pieces, discussing the essence of the organization, and iterative, collaborative editing for precise and compelling language. Extensive data sets of versions of writings that have been authored as well as multimedia representations have generated a rich repository for analyzing how this process of authorship has evolved. Analysis of this data can offer insight into how such a process can be further developed and applied to other initiatives.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD “My work at KGC started with a simple project - build a website to help kickstart a fundraising campaign. As I learned more about KGC’s projects, I found over a decade of truly visionary work on creating shareable prosperity that had not yet been codified into an accessible medium for those who would be excited by it. “Two leaders at KGC and I began rearticulating what had been done in the past, and what currently builds on that foundational work. Now, we have a website and booklet that make the value of KGC’s pioneering insights on shareable prosperity transparent and accessible broadly.”


Harvesting Abundance for Health and Healing Colleen Saxen, MPH (Lead), Richard Saxen, MD

“My vision is to create healing community spaces that are rooted in appreciation of the profound interconnectedness and abundance within ourselves, each other and the environment we share” -Colleen Saxen, MPH

Saxen researches how the acts of planting, foraging, preserving, preparing and sharing foods promote and protect the health of individuals, families, communities and our shared environment. For Saxen, these simple acts offer profound possibilities for treating chronic diseases caused by diet, healing social ailments such as loneliness and isolation, and restoring the health of local ecosystems. Saxen is investigating how community gardens and wilderness spaces can serve as environments for experiencing the abundance of what communities are capable of doing together. Further, she is researching how care for the abandoned lots throughout the neighborhoods of Dayton can offer prosperity to communities struggling with poverty, social isolation and a dearth of green spaces. As part of this research, Saxen is currently developing an endeavor called “Neighborhood Harvesting” to bring together communities of growers across the region for mutual


learning and support. She is investigating how the interpersonal space created by this work provides people with access to, knowledge of and skills for harvesting healthy foods. In particular, Saxen’s inquiry focuses on the learning experienced by people as they relate to the surrounding land, wildlife and soil. The project’s first instantiation involved a community of Burundian refugees, whose forced displacement, history of political and physical trauma and mismatch of existing skills to current economic demands had led to experiences of exclusion in their new homeland. Saxen has investigated the impact farmland has on the Burundian community, offering them an opportunity to use their vast food-growing skills creatively and independently on land of their own. 

A second project was founded for a group of diabetic patients on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside of Dayton. Diabetes is a challenging disease to treat because much of the treatment requires the patient to change their daily behaviors. However, studies consistently show that knowledge is insufficient to prompt sustainable changes in behavior. Furthermore, in the patient-physician encounter, the participation of patients in the process of their own healing is often sidelined by the limited time and space of the traditional clinic. Experiential “garden clinics” can help by becoming places for patients to learn about food choices and healthy behavior and to actively grow the nutritious food that is necessary for their treatment. Saxen’s research examines whether patients who share the food they produce with the greater community are empowered to make the necessary behavioral changes while also shifting their self-perceptions from being exclusively recipients of health care to providers of health for themselves and others. 

Saxen’s projects build on her master’s thesis in public health at Wright State University, which investigates social support in the Burundian community, and is part of a collaboration with Dr. Richard Saxen, an internist at Kettering Health Network.



“When I listen closely to the people I meet, I can hear a latent potential for a future self, a unique giftedness that goes unrealized. That’s even truer when life offers few opportunities, and you simply have to survive day by day. I have a sense that this is a profound loss to humanity when the life of someone, who could have been a brilliant musician, philosopher, teacher or doctor, turned out differently. What if the ability to live as who you are was available to every human being, rich or poor, in a slum or a great university like Stanford? I see each of us collaborating with each other, becoming who we are, as a foundation for a new, more sustainable society.” -Dr. Syed Shariq


hareable global prosperity can be understood as the ability for all people across the world to live and flourish according to their unique capacity. While nearly everyone struggles to identify the nature of this potential, pursuing it sustainably is even more difficult if few opportunities are available. Dr. Syed Shariq, Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University and Founding Co-Chair of KGC, is looking at ways to overcome both of these barriers for people of disparate circumstances all over the globe. He is researching how people identify the particular ideas that they are uniquely inspired by and care about, develop these ideas and practices through rigorous inquiry and discipline to capitalize on their particular competencies and incubate these ideas and practices for themselves as a foundation for living sustainably prosperous lives. He has developed a practicum that costs almost nothing and encourages people to reflect in a disciplined way on their past life narratives and the aspirations they have for the future. By bringing together two groups of three individuals to collaborate over ten weeks, the practicum allows people to re-imagine, rediscover, clarify and sustainably live their unique aspirations for the future by sharing them with other participants. This process is accelerated when each group interacts with another group from a starkly different background. Some of the most successful interactions have started as collaborations between scholars at Stanford and members of a slum community in India.


The second phase of the process uses the group of six people as a mechanism for creating new opportunities for each participant. By cultivating a long-term commitment to the other members, participants can share their unique capabilities and resources with others. The group can act as a supportive ecology, which is particularly important for participants from impoverished backgrounds who may not otherwise be able to enact their new ideas about their future self. The practicum serves as a research laboratory for investigating individual narratives of self and how these narratives change as a result of the practicum process. Dr. Shariq is investigating how these narratives are restrained by inheritances and passed down through immersion in an imperfect culture. He is exploring if they can be unconstrained through re-imagination, rediscovery and re-temporalization to the non-recurrent open ended evolutionary sense of time. Finally, Dr. Shariq is looking at how habits and practices for living a sustainable life can evolve from a practicum and the supportive environment that it creates. To this end, he is developing a collaborative practicum for groups of nine participants who have already completed the SFS practicum and are living in communities representing a globally diverse spectrum of prosperity. This collaborative practicum focuses on creating shareable prosperity ecosystems through the Manavta (“humanness�) project. The Manavta project engages the ethics of care in practice from each of the nine participants as a basis for the creation of a collaborative practicum and a model for the next generation of collaborative entrepreneurship for sustainably creating shareable prosperity for everyone globally. The practicum has already been piloted at field sites in California, Hawaii, Ohio and India.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD A teacher in a slum in India found that her unique inspiration is to offer education to street children. She is collaborating with her coworkers and students to create a new school for these children. A recent Stanford University engineering graduate has identified her compulsion towards issues of women’s health, and is now starting her pre-medical education to become a physician who serves women globally.


realizing possibilities through interpersonal interaction Dr. Neeraj Sonalkar (Lead)

“Cory Booker, speaking at the Stanford Commencement Ceremony in 2012, recalled visiting a run-down neighborhood in Newark. An old woman asked him, ‘What do you see?’ He said, ‘I see broken-down houses. I see drug dealers.’ But then she said, ‘If you can’t see the possibility for this neighborhood, you can’t help us.’ To walk the path of change, you have to see that possibility. I envision a world where people can see these possibilities, express them, and develop them as part of a team to create new things together and joyfully.” -Dr. Neeraj Sonalkar


n often overlooked aspect of shareable prosperity is the capacity for people to imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities and then use that vision as motivation for joyfully building a new future. Dr. Neeraj Sonalkar, a post-doctoral scholar in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford, recognizes this, having worked with design teams in Silicon Valley, improvisational theater groups in San Francisco, and communities in field sites like India and Nigeria. Through his work, he has seen how a culture of innovation lowers the barriers for people to pursue their own ideas and aspirations. He wants to extend this ability to developing communities around the world. Dr. Sonalkar, whose dissertation work investigates the ways in which design teams express ideas in moment-to-moment interactions, is creating


programs in Ahmedabad, India that offer the capacity to imagine and realize personal and community change. The first instantiation of this project is part of VentureStudio, a six-month fellowship program at the Center for Design Research at Stanford that is currently active in India. During the fellowship, entrepreneurs form teams and develop ideas for business ventures that address the needs of local populations. Part of the curriculum includes the module Moved by Love, through which these aspiring entrepreneurs spend three days at the beginning of the fellowship discovering and doing what they love. Dr. Sonalkar is exploring how an unstructured space for finding deeper motivations affects one’s ability to see possibilities and realize them. Dr. Sonalkar is developing an additional component, titled “Little Design Teams,� which will cultivate the same sense of possibility in disadvantaged children. As part of a collaboration with an NGO serving the urban poor of Ahmedabad, the program will develop a practicum for bringing together teams of children to generate ideas for improving the situation around them. These teams of young entrepreneurs could then partner with engineering students at local universities to actually build some of the solutions they imagine. In both of these settings, Dr. Sonalkar is investigating how people see possibilities for themselves and their surroundings, how these possibilities are expressed and developed in interactions between team members and how ventures motivated by love and empathy are best pursued while concurrently creating economic value.



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1. KOZMETSKY GLOBAL COLLABORATORY, Stanford, California 2. NOTRE DAME HIGH SCHOOL, San Jose, California 3. NASA, Mountain View, California 4. Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Waimea, Hawaii 5. AFRICAN REFUGEE COMMUNITY, Dayton, Ohio 6. WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Dayton, Ohio 7. UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, Eugene, Oregon 8. JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, Pasadena, California 9. IC2, University of Texas at Austin, Texas 10. WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, St. Louis, Missouri 11. CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, Cleveland, Ohio 12. MERCATUS CENTER FOR SOCIAL CHANGE, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 13. ECOLE CENTRALE, Paris, France 14. INSTITUO SUPERIOR TECNICO, Lisbon, Portugal 15. ROGALAND RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Stavanger, Norway 16. COPENHAGEN BUSINESS SCHOOL, Copenhagen, Denmark 17. UNIVERSITY OF AARHUS, Aarhus, Denmark 18. AALBORG UNIVERSITY, Aalborg, Denmark


KGC Scholars have built relationships with research field sites, industry partners and academic institutions all over the globe. Active collaborations are listed in black, and prior collaborations are shown in gray. 19


24 21 23 22 30 25 29


26 32

33 31


19. AALTO UNIVERSITY, Helsinki, Finland 20. AGA KHAN UNIVERSITY, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan 21. MANAV SADHNA, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 22. ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION INSTITUTE, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 23. VENTURE STUDIO, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India 24. INDIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, JODHPUR, Rajasthan, India 25. HANDLOOM WEAVER COMMUNITY, Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh, India 26. TIMBAKTU COLLECTIVE, Chennekothapalli Village, Andhra Pradesh, India 27. NATIONAL DONG HWA UNIVERSITY, Hualien, Taiwan 28. VIPANI, Saba Saba and Maragua Villages, Central, Kenya 29. HASMATHPURA, MUTHANGI, AND MAHBUBAGAR VILLAGES, Andhra Pradesh, India 30. CENTRE FOR FOLK CULTURE, University of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India 31. GANDHIGRAM RURAL INSTITUTE, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, India 32. NATIONAL FOLKLORE SUPPORT CENTRE, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India 33. INTERNATIONAL CROP RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR SEMI-ARID TROPICS, Jallipatti, Tamil Nadu, India




Program Manager/Research Associate Communications Manager/Research Assistant Administrator Founding Co-Chair Faculty Co-Chair




Professor (Emeritus), Department of Psychology, Queens University, Canada


Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management (Emeritus); Professor of Computer Science (Emeritus), and former Provost, Stanford


Founding President, The Global Fund for Women, Consulting Professor in Human Biology, Stanford


Professor, Department of Economics, Washington University, Nobel Laureate in Economics

DISSERTATIONS NEERAJ SONALKAR, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2012

A Visual Representation for Characterizing Moment-to-Moment Concept Generation through Interpersonal Interactions in Engineering Design Teams Advisors: Larry Leifer, Sheri Sheppard, Ade Mabogunje


Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2011

Innovating Capability for Continuity of Inquiry in the face of Discontinuity within the Context of Engineering Education Research Advisors: Sheri Sheppard, Syed Shariq, David Beach


Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 2011

Decision Analytic Approach to Customer Experience Design Advisors: Ronald Howard, Janine Giese-Davis, Larry Leifer


Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2011

Engineering Team Performance and Emotion: Affective Interaction Dynamics as Indicators of Design Team Performance Advisors: Larry Leifer, James Gross, Pamela Hinds, Ralf Steinhart

TEA LEMPIĂ„LĂ„, Mangement and International Business, Aalto University, 2011

Entering the Backstage of Innovation: Tensions between the Collaborative Praxis of Idea Development and its Formal Staging in Organizations Advisor: Raimo Lovio


Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, 2011

From Chaos to Harmony: Public Participation and Environmental Policy Advisor: David Eaton


Architecture and Design, Aalborg University, 2009

Personal and Shared Experiential Concepts Advisors: Nicola Morelli, Poul Kyvsgaard, Christian Tollestrup


Education, Stanford University, 2009

Teaching Taboo Topics without Talking about Them: An Epistemic Study of a New Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education in India Advisors: Shelly Goldman, Clifford Nass, Martic Carnoy, Cheryl Koopman


Industrial Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London, 2007

More than the Sum of the Parts: Shared Representation in Collaborative Design Interaction Advisors: Prue Bramwell-Davis, Helga Wild


FOUNDATIONAL research projects Iris Scholarship Ecology (ISE), 2007-2010

Scholars: Syed Shariq (Principal Investigator), V. Balaji; Students: Christopher Han, Bhavna Hariharan, Koh Ming Wei, Tea Lempiälä, Louise Nielsen, Colleen Saxen, Neeraj Sonalkar The ISE research project focused on creating a self-reflexive community of scholars who were cultivating a patient, multi-generational commitment to scholarship that embodied post-disciplinary and collaborative modes of inquiry. It served as a prototype for the current model at KGC, where researchers are encouraged to practice their scholarship collaboratively with those they hope to benefit in order to build local solutions. By working in groups or “ecologies” of three, researchers were able to develop and deepen their practices and scholarship with the support of like-minded and similarly committed individuals.

Community Digital Vision and Voice Narrative Enactment (Co-DiViNE),

2005-2009 Scholars: Syed Shariq (Principal Investigator), Janine Giese-Davis, Ade Mabogunje; Students: Bhavna Hariharan The Co-DiViNE project focused on developing collaborations with pre-literate communities in southern India. Researchers on the project used video and voice narratives created by those in the communities to study local knowledge, beliefs and institutions. The project was a collaboration between research scholars at Stanford, post-graduate interns from partner universities in India, and participants from pre-literate, impoverished communities in India. Through this collaboration, Co-DiViNE sought to help local communities evolve their institutions by creating, storing, organizing and sharing their knowledge, beliefs, and institutions through audio and video technology.

Real Time Venture Design Lab (ReVeL), 1999-2007

Scholars: Syed Shariq (Principal Investigator), Cheri Anderson, Per Aage Brandt, Merlin Donald, Janine Giese-Davis, Satinder Gill, George Kozmetsky, Ade Mabogunje, Clifford Nass, Mark Nicolson, Knut Oxnevad, Michael Sims, Mark Turner; Students: Resmi Arjunapillai, Marcel Dulay, Bhavna Hariharan, Jon Johansen, Malte Jung, Marie Kobler, Dylan Marks, Sheba Najmi, Akshay Rajwade, Sunder Ramkumar, Ben Shaw, Neeraj Sonalkar, Maya Yutsis ReVeL began as an interdisciplinary research program that sought to create and disseminate knowledge, tools, models and practices that would advance access to shareable global prosperity. ReVeL worked with early stage ventures that focused on developing countries. The project helped build working relationships between


venture-founding teams and experts from academia and industry in media-rich, interactive environments. Cohesive and compelling venture narratives in real-time were created, and the potential success of the ventures in the developing world was increased. ReVeL worked with 15 ventures: 8 in the U.S. and 7 in India. These engagements illustrated the differences in strategies between entrepreneurs living in Asia and Africa and those living in the U.S. and Western Europe. The ReVeL project has grown and is currently being instantiated in the Venture Design Engineering Laboratory, which is housed at the Center for Design Research at Stanford and has field sites in Abeokuta, Nigeria and Ahmedabad, India.

Knowledge Networks, Exchanges, and Uses (KNEXUS),

1997-2000 Steering Committee: Walter Powell (Co-Principal Investigator), Nathan Rosenberg (Co-Principal Investigator), James March, Syed Shariq, Gavin Wright; Scholars: Mie Augier, Barry Blumberg, Merlin Donald, George Kozmetsky, Ray Levitt, Chris Mantzavinos, Bertin Martens, Bill Miller, Douglass North, Michael Sims, Sri Sridharan, Mark Turner, Paul Unruh, Morten Vendelø, Michael Wakelin KNEXUS is a global transdisciplinary community that brings together scholars from the social and natural sciences and practitioners with real-world experience to work on research projects investigating the networks, exchanges and uses of knowledge. The KNEXUS model was developed to:

• • • •

Create a long-term program that would draw on knowledge across disciplines and generations Build a global research community that fosters interdisciplinary research focusing on problems related to the emerging knowledge economy Facilitate interaction between the public and private sectors to better develop a meaningful research agenda Transfer knowledge and findings to those who have an impact in policy and decision making to promote balanced global growth and prosperity

KNEXUS convened major international and interdisciplinary research symposia that brought together and integrated scholarship focusing on three research areas:

• • •

Developing a deeper theoretical and empirical understanding of knowledge networks and their role in economic growth and change Creating innovative research methods that draw from a range of social science disciplines to analyze, measure and map organizational learning, knowledge transfer and the role of institutions Discovering findings and insights for promoting the generation of knowledge, economic growth and institutions that enhance prosperity and democracy in emerging countries



Scholars: Syed Shariq (Principle Investigator), Chrysostomos Mantzavinos, Douglass North


Scholars: Clifford Nass (Co-Principle Investigator), V. Balaji (Co-Principle Investigator); Students: Piya Sorcar, Abhay Sukumaran


2008 Scholars: Merlin Donald (Co-Principle Investigator), Douglass North (Co-Principle Investigator)

ONTRUST, 2004-2007

Scholars: Sri Sridharan (Principle Investigator), Scott Brave


Scholars: George Kozmetsky (Co-Principle Investigator), Raymond Yeh (Co-Principle Investigator), Knut Oxnevad, Syed Shariq



“The KGC’s organization was reflecting what the American national, historical and cultural identity had at its very best: the exemplary teaming of very diverse giftedness into a structure from which leadership and ground-breaking novelty emerge without being directed from the beginning. [...] In the KGC I see a treasure for humanity.”

COLLEEN SAXEN, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“KGC is a space where each scholar collaborates within and with others ‘to become who you are,’ as Nietzsche says. In this sense, prosperity emerges within first and research is a joyful practice of everyday life. It became clear to me that I cannot create peace and prosperity in the world, without cultivating these experiences within. [...] The inner learing and transformation that took part in subsequent years is a gift that I truly cannot imagine my life without and a gift I am committed to passing on.”

NARASIMHA REDDY, Field Site Collaborator in India

“Upon reflection and research about KGC’s mission, it became clear to me their approach in addressing the current needs of the global society were exciting and sustainable. As we started collaborating, I could see the deeper philosophy, which is appropriate to bring the last person (as Mahatma Gandhi said) on par with the current realities of living. [...] I hope the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory will continue to grow, and I have hopes of it making a difference to the vulnerable and marginalized communities across the world.”

CHRISTOPHER HAN, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“KGC has become a gathering place for scholars who are able to exchange ideas, help each other to think critically and creatively, and imagine the future they wish to create. [...] I believe KGC is a concrete step towards the vision of global co-prosperity - one that all of its members share.”

BIANCA MORALES, Undergraduate Research Scholar at KGC “KGC provides an open space for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and its collaborative practice has brought many students across disciplines together to engage one another in a shared vision of a more equitable and prosperous future.”


RAJESWARI RAO PINGALI, Field Site Collaborator in India

“To be able to share with people, who understand that perspective is a gift and camaraderie results in peace for the person who is involved shows me how fortunate I am for this gift of KGC. [...] There is power of collective knowledge and wisdom, and that is what social development is all about.”

MALTE JUNG, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“It was at KGC where I met people who are committed to do what they are passionate about. [...] The support of the KGC community encouraged me to not only follow my research but expand it in unexpected, yet exciting ways. [...] They have pushed me to think about impacting the world at a scale I had not thought about before.”

LOUISE NIELSEN, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“During my stay as a ‘visiting researcher’ at Stanford Center for Design Research, I was lucky to be invited to participate in the activities in the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory. [...] It helped me to find my feet in the world of research as well as to incorporate my personal passion in the work I do. [...] I wish that all scholars could have that opportunity.”

JEAN-YVES HEURTEBISE, Affiliated Scholar with KGC

“The first encounter with this open, creative and challenging environment was one of the best, most stimulating experiences not only of my research career but also of my intellectual life. [...] KGC is for me an oasis in the desert.”

TEA LEMPIÄLÄ, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“KGC in an extraordinary community in many ways, but what has impressed me the most is its ability to create engagement, mindfulness and shared perspectives among people from very diverging perspectives. Also, the ability to create an environment where participants can discuss and improve the rigor of their scholarly efforts as well as develop themselves as human beings is truly exceptional.”

V. BALAJI, Collaborating Scholar at KGC

“The vision of shared prosperity that the KGC seeks to harness in support of human development is a source of inspiration for workers from all over the world. Its efforts to nurture talent and the spirit of enterprise in the service of human-centered and values-based development will create a lasting legacy.”


our VALUES KGC is an ongoing experiment and laboratory. Since its inception in 1997, KGC scholars have collectively uncovered a set of principles by which research into complex problems can progress with true freedom and result in sustainable solutions. 

Looking forward, KGC seeks to institutionalize these principles and investigate how to update and improve these principles, and what to envision for the future of KGC as an ongoing experiment.


“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theologian We have learned that organizational sustainability rests in a capacity to transfer the organization’s values to new generations. We wish to see KGC flourish and sustain itself as an innovative academic research center. We are investigating whether this can be achieved by inviting senior faculty members to share their wisdom as research mentors while simultaneously empowering our next-generation scholars to go beyond research to play a direct role in the organization and leadership of KGC.


“Who can say what sores might be healed, what hurts solved, were the doings of each half of the world’s inhabitants understood and appreciated by the other?” - M. K. Gandhi We have learned that research collaborations across cultures and other divides allow new knowledge to be developed, and increase the capacity for those on each side of the divide to absorb that knowledge. We are investigating how to conceive and implement research projects that bridge these divides by cultivating co-equal collaboration between scholars in academia and practitioners in field sites across the globe.


“[...] If we choose [...] to embark on an open-ended journey of creation and exploration whose every step is unsustainable until it is redeemed by the next [...] then the ascent of man, the beginning of infinity, will have become, if not secure, then at least sustainable.” - David Deutsch, Physicist Scholars at KGC recognize that we can leave behind a more sustainable world for the generations of people to come only by committing to living


our VALUES (CONTINUED) our own lives, and practicing our own research, in a way that is sustainable. We are investigating if, by building a research environment for our scholars to safely experience their vulnerabilities and build capacity to think the thought of the new, scholars can sustainably pursue their research passions with discipline.


“A woman once came...asking Gandhi to persuade her little boy to stop eating too much sugar. ‘Sister, come back after a week,’ Gandhi said. Puzzled, the woman left and returned a week later. ‘Please do not eat too much sugar, it is not good for you’, Gandhi told the little boy. The boy’s mother asked: ‘... why didn’t you say this to him last week? Why did you make us come back again?’ Gandhi responded: ‘Sister, last week, I too was eating sugar. First, I had to try to see if it was possible”. For Gandhi, there were no gaps in thought, creed, and action. Actions should match words. “Be the change you wish to see,’ he emphasized.” [Source: Singhal, A. (2010), The Mahatma’s Message: Gandhi’s Contributions to the Art and Science of Communication, China Media Research, Vol. 6, No. 3, p. 104-105] Gandhi’s advice to the little boy embodies and exemplifies the ethic of a scholar-practitioner, and it is this ethic that scholars at KGC follow when they conduct their research. We are investigating if, by becoming scholars who have experienced the implication of our research personally while pursuing theoretical rigor, we are able to embody and live our professional ethic sustainably and contribute what we have to offer to society through the practice of our scholarship.


“For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart, there is no separation.” - Simone Weil, Philosopher Scholars at KGC recognize that we are fortunate enough to be part of the continuity of humanity. The ability to pursue our passions for research is a privilege made possible by the generosity, compassion, and love we have received from previous generations of scholars as well as from our families, friends and supporters. We are investigating how to enable scholars to honor this inheritance from preceding generations and take responsibility for ensuring the continuity by sharing their scholarship and practices with current and future generations of scholars and practitioners.


ABOUT THE FOUNDERS “As attitudes, values, and laws change, leaders must be ahead of those changes [...] They will need the inner strength and flexibility to direct change for the benefit of a balanced, interdependent society. Leaders must be conscious role models for the society [...] They must be prepared to live according to the ethical and moral principles they profess.” Ronya and George Kozmetsky

By any measure, George Kozmetsky (1917-2003) was an accomplished entrepreneur and humanitarian. As co-founder of Teledyne, a founder of over 100 other high-tech companies, and former dean of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, he had a lifelong commitment to cultivating entrepreneurial invention and sharing his knowledge and wealth with others. Ronya Kozmetsky (1921-2011) was a distinguished community leader and philanthropist. A sociology graduate with a Master’s in Social Work, she founded Women in Management and was named one of the century’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She was always credited by her late husband as a full partner in every aspect of the family’s business dealings. Through their family foundation, the Kozmetsky family has awarded more than 2000 grants in the areas of education, community development, and healthcare. Toward the end of his life, George Kozmetsky focused his energy on the growing gap of misunderstanding between the world’s privileged and poor communities. Together, the Kozmetskys funded the KGC to encourage the innovative application of trans-disciplinary “think” and “do” research to accelerate the sharing of global prosperity.


SUPPORT US John Etchemendy, Provost of Stanford University, thanking Ronya Kozmetsky at the opening of KGC

KGC was established with the help of a generous and inspiring gift from George and Ronya Kozmetsky. They believed in the power of “think and do” research for conceiving imaginative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Thanks to their generosity, we have seen many of these innovative projects flourish, and our vision for shareable prosperity is beginning to grow. Now, a new generation of scholars is working on these problems, and we invite you to participate. Donors provide the foundation for our researchers to continue pushing the boundaries of their disciplines while working directly with underserved communities in the field. Our most immediate need is funding for our scholars and their emerging projects. Your help is vital for sustaining these projects and the impacts they have on marginalized communities worldwide. We welcome with gratitude any contribution you can provide. Please contact: Bhavna Hariharan, Syed Shariq, Research Program Manager, KGC Founding Co-Chair, KGC bhavnah@stanford.edu sshariq@stanford.edu




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