for the



    "At the turn of the century [George Kozmetsky] had this idea of creating shared global prosperity in zero time. How could it be done? What would it take to do it? [...] Through the challenge and generosity of George, and the Kozmetsky family, we have been able to develop some of these ideas, learn from others, share our knowledge more broadly, and train the next generation of scholars to understand and appreciate this idea and to always see the bigger picture."


    "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."


    "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."


    "It is not easy to undertake complex tasks such as the creation of shared global prosperity. It is even harder when the projects and inputs from the field challenge existing paradigms of research. Without the freedom afforded by [George Kozmetsky's] generosity, this journey may not have been possible."


    "The impact [of the scholars at KGC] is derived from leading by example, i.e. by the way in which they live, work, and convey a message of scholarship, collaboration and community, rather than by prescriptive pedagogies. [...] The world is sorely in need of the creative, kind and impactful work that the KGC is doing."


    "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."


    "KGC is 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."


    "The Kozmetsky family's gift offered me a rare opportunity for bringing together an exceptional group of scholars and students at Stanford to create a trans-disciplinary research community at KGC. It gave me complete intellectual freedom to carry forward fundamental research on the development of approaches for creating shared prosperity in our divided world."


    "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."


    "I experience KGC as a very special place in which I, as a person and a researcher, become whole and at the same time, part of the global community. I am very grateful for the space that KGC provides for open, non-judgmental, holistic research into humanity."


    "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."


    "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."


    "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."


    "To simply reflect on the great learning and growth that has touched everyone who has participated [in KGC] is awe-inspiring. My objective during my association with KGC was to learn how to share the business plan incubation process with entrepreneurs around the world thus strengthening the growth and change in global outreach. This can be best seen especially within the great emerging economy and culture of India. It is in India, where the use of digital technology in the hands of students to capture narratives and stories, and hence myths and meaning, provides guidance to the urban world. The sharing of narrative has a positive influence whose benefit will unfold for generations to come."


    "During the time I was involved with the [KGC], I saw the possibility of change at the grassroots level. [...] The perspective I gained during this time focused on the importance of building relationships and 'being the change I wish to see.'"


    "My participation in the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory Co-DiViNE project is like a tattoo mark in my heart. The magical phrase of 'visual literacy' opened a path for me. [...] This work lead me to question why a particular community has difficulties. What prevailed is all individuals have their own talents within them yet, with the unavailability of an external symbolic system, these talents are not seen."


    "I shall never forget the great honor and pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Kozmetsky in Santa Monica in 2002. [...] Dr. Kozmetsky challenged me (as he had done to each of us) to think about my project at once more deeply and more grandly than I had thought to do before. It was at that table, waiting for my turn to tell George about my work, that the notion of my mission as being one of helping groups of people 'become more than the sum of their parts' took shape."


    "I was privileged to be present at the founding of the KGC Family Center. [...] Representing Philips Electronics in 2002, I quoted H. de Bruin, VP Philips International, 'Philips is enthusiastic about the proposed KGC Family Center. We think it could provide a unique incubator, tapping into the full range of knowledge in Stanford University coupled with the development agencies and contacts in Silicon Valley. KGC promises an environment where the new venturing models we need can be brought rapidly to fruition.' [...] This expectation truly has been surpassed."


    "I was brought into the family of Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory through a project named Co-DiViNE (Community Digital Visual and Voice Narrative Enactment) which aimed at creation and acceleration of prosperity through introduction of visual narrative literacy by converging technologies for the perpetual self-sustainability of the chronically poor. Deliberations, interactions, and sharing of ideas during the course of the project not only immensely enriched my knowledge but also challenged me to look for alternative methodologies."


    "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."


    "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."


    "KGC offered an incredible opportunity to study sustainable ventures and actually chip away at a goal of creating shared global prosperity in a tangible and practical fashion."


    "The way people talk about things influences how they act. That was my main research topic when I came to KGC as a visiting research in 2005. People can learn to understand how they are influenced by even subtle changes in the way they perceive the world, and this can be used to create prosperity and quality of life. That was my main research topic when I left KGC in 2006."


    "By using both objective and subjective research methodologies, the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory has enabled its work to impact multiple disciplines in innovative and experimental ways that has certainly added to the body of knowledge of how the world can work in ways that benefit others."


    "I am deeply grateful for the Kozmetsky Research Fellowship I received at Stanford. The Fellowship enabled my research on Integrated Concurrent Engineering to produce significant research contributions and to jumpstart an influential trend in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry."


    "The mission of Friends of the Future is to create trust and harmony among the diverse cultures of Hawai'i through a process where all people can openly contribute their deepest values, create shared visions and continuously improve their communities. Spending time with [scholars at KGC] has forever altered my perspective, both of my life's purpose and of Friends of the Future's work."


    "As a scholar of media spaces and the architectural forms for collective experience and contemporary social life, I cannot thank KGC enough. I first began puzzling through the connections between spaces, processes, and that sense of being part of a shared experience in the context of the Real Time Venture Design Laboratory and this early work was formative in my scholarship and practice."


    "I had the opportunity to participate in in-depth qualitative research for the first time at KGC. I believe that the frameworks and principles that I learned significantly assisted my thinking today and have provided me a valuable holistic perspective to problem solving. [...] Being a part of the KGC community has been a very rewarding and nurturing experience for me."


    "The KGC's vision of social inclusion cutting across the Occident and the Orient cultures towards global prosperity is worthy of praise as it did not leave even the poorest of the poor from reaping the fruits of prosperity."


    "KGC has provided me with some amazing and life-changing experiences, including the opportunity of presenting my research on trust to delegates from Israel and Palestine at a conference devoted to water rights."


    "The interactions I have had with my colleagues in KGC enabled me to discover my own potential from the inner core of my personality and utilize the same in motivating and energizing the members of SMILE [Selfless Movement Improving Life Everywhere] in translating their intentions into concrete action plans for the beneficiaries."


    "The experience with KGC serves as a guiding spirit for my current and future research with pre-literate communities and to work for their transformation and empowerment."


    "The Real-Time Ventures Lab and the Center for Everything, two projects within KGC, emphasized alignment between the personal values of an entrepreneur or a scholar, and the venture that is undertaken in a community. KGC encouraged me to follow my passion in improvisation and design to create a unique doctoral program in engineering that combined performing arts, improvisation and engineering design research. KGC's objective to create shared global prosperity validated my desire to work towards the alleviation of poverty that I had seen around me in Mumbai. For the first time, doing my research was no longer dissociated from the broader vision of creating a tangibly prosperous world."


    "These interactions [between scholars at KGC] have led to greater rigor, as we have had to explain and prove the value of our work to those beyond our fields, methods, perspectives, and tools of inquiry from other disciplines, a profoundly fruitful multidisciplinary approach to inquiry and exploration, time and space for deep, collaborative reflection and a place and various ways to reunite our deepest personal motivations with our work. I have experienced all of this at levels that [...] none of us have ever encountered in any other working environment."


    "In the highest compliment I can give an academic (and George was an academic among his many other aspects of his life): he changed the way that I look at the world."


    "My association with KGC and the Co-DiViNE Project has given me an important insight, which is the realization of the undercurrent of narratives that is at play within human life."


    "The 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."


    "At KGC, I have learned how to connect my research work to my daily practices and ethics. This process has uplifted my spirit and given me a new passion for research. My interest in finding ways to achieve successful, multicultural collaboration emerged via the affordances provided by the KGC."


Academia is best equipped to address global problems by investing in building strong interdisciplinary efforts dedicated to pursuing such problems. At the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory we are cultivating a capacity for interdisciplinary research that is field-based and collaborative. Our approach is unique in that the research we conduct:

• Originates in scholars' personal aspirations to address the problems and challenges of our time globally

• Is crystallized during visits, informal gatherings and discussions on interdisciplinary ideas hosted by KGC

• Focuses these scholars' passions for addressing issues of our times within the context of research field-sites situated globally

• Identifies and defines the topics of their research projects (including undergraduate and masters' theses, doctoral dissertations, and post doctoral research rooted within the context of their inquiry) and leads to inviting faculty members from pertinent departments to serve on dissertation committees

• Advances theories and methods for conducting interdisciplinary research that involves collaborative research engagements with underserved communities

• Validates that a scholar can pursue their passion for addressing global challenges facing humanity with discipline and rigor, and enables scholars to learn how to sustain their scholarly inquiry throughout their life, as an expression of who they are

• Enriches the scholarship of the next generation of scholars as current and former scholars continue their affiliation with KGC to mentor, guide and collaborate with incoming rising young scholars

• Creates and fosters KGC's culture for continuing the nurturing and supporting of inquiries of scholars engaged in contributing to the KGC mission to "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."


KGC currently supports a global community of researchers, who range from young scholars 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 address the challenge of creating shareable prosperity in different ways.




  • The Professional School for Shareable Prosperity (PSSP) is a project that prototypes the education and training of scholars and practitioners who seek to create shareable prosperity. It draws inspiration from Flexner’s 1910 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. PSSP aims to make KGC a sustainable home for scholars and create an academic environment that can support the creation of shareable prosperity as a professional pursuit.

Scholars: Bhavna Hariharan, Jennifer Keller, Tea Lempiälä, Ram Nidumolu, Colleen Saxen, Syed Shariq, Neeraj Sonalkar



  • 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 extremely impoverished conditions. REALM builds design teams with engineering students and local universities, non-governmental organizations, and partners in impoverished communities in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan that focus on a lack of hygiene and sanitation.

Scholars: Bhavna Hariharan (Co-Lead), Syed Shariq (Co-Lead), Susan Nourse




  • GEE is a curriculum that builds capacity in 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 and have a lasting impact on the community by building capacity in the community to engineer change in their lives. Her research investigates how to train students to work with their partners as equal participants, and whether the regular and reliable presence of students as partners in a village can help a community envision a different future for itself.

Scholars: Bhavna Hariharan (Lead), Tea Lempiälä, Syed Shariq

Ending Violence against Women


  • The project uniquely contributes to the vision of creating a world where women are not victims of interpersonal violence and men and women thrive by creating and maintaining an environment of shareable prosperity. It creates a therapeutic class that incorporates psychological skill development and physical empowerment training for women who have experienced trauma. A second class focuses on the empowerment of adolescent girls. It looks at change in levels of self-efficacy, esteem and assertiveness in women and girls.

Scholars: Jennifer Keller (Lead)



  • The BINPRO project aims to find ways in which back stage interaction, so called because it is typically shared only with trusted individuals in private, can be shared in professional contexts with relatively distant colleagues, enabling more authentic interaction to emerge. The project works with organizations in northern Europe and America, as well as organizations in developing world countries like India, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Scholars: Tea Lempiälä (Lead)



  • The Millennial Entrepreneurship, Wellbeing, and Ecosystem (Me-We) project creates new models of business leadership that combine ancient wisdom on the connections that bind human beings with recent research from psychology, economics and management theory. The project is developing practices that will encourage individual leaders and allow business leadership teams to recognize the hidden connections between their organization and a wide array of stakeholders, evaluate their current ability to address the well-being of these stakeholders, find small ways to act upon this understanding, and finally internalize this perspective and lead by example.

Scholars: Ram Nidumolu (Lead)

Garden Clinics


  • The Garden Clinics project investigates how community gardens - called “garden clinics” because of their wide-ranging effects on different aspects of health and well-being - can serve as an environment for listening to and learning with currently marginalized populations . Two directions are being pursued: garden clinics as sites for community inclusion of people arriving to the US as refugees , and as sites for diabetic patients to grow and share healthy food and a supportive community.

Scholars: Colleen Saxen (Lead), Rick Saxen, MD, Sarah Fackler, MD



  • The Sustainability of Future Self project 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. The SFS project aims at creating a sustainable society founded on each person becoming who they are in collaboration with others.

Scholars: Syed Shariq (Lead), Bhavna Hariharan, Jennifer Keller, Koh Ming Wei, Susan Nourse, Michael Sims

Realizing Possibilities


  • The project is creating programs in Ahmedabad, India that offer the capacity to imagine and realize personal and community change. One program partners with a local university to help aspiring entrepreneurs build the ventures they envision, and a second program works with a local NGO to create opportunities for teams of disadvantaged children to imagine and implement ways to improve the situation around them.

Scholars: Neeraj Sonalkar (Lead)


The following are nine doctoral dissertations that have been incubated at KGC.


A Visual Representation for Characterizing Moment-to-Moment Concept Generation through Interpersonal Interactions in Engineering Design Teams

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2012
Advisors: Larry Leifer, Sheri Sheppard, Ade Mabogunje


Innovating Capability for Continuity of Inquiry in the face of Discontinuity within the Context of Engineering Education Research

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2011
Advisors: Sheri Sheppard, Syed Shariq, David Beach


Decision Analytic Approach to Customer Experience Design

Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, 2011
Advisors: Ronald Howard, Janine Giese-Davis, Larry Leifer


Engineering Team Performance and Emotion: Affective Interaction Dynamics as Indicators of Design Team Performance

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2011
Advisors: Larry Leifer, James Gross, Pamela Hinds, Ralf Steinhart


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

Department of Mangement and International Business, Aalto University, 2011
Advisor: Raimo Lovio


From Chaos to Harmony : Public Participation and Environmental Policy

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, 2011
Advisor: David Eaton


Personal and Shared Experiential Concepts

Department of Architecture and Design, Aalborg University, 2009
Advisors: Nicola Morelli, Poul Kyvsgaard, Christian Tollestrup


Teaching Taboo Topics without Talking about Them : an Epistemic Study of a New Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education in India

School of Education, Stanford University, 2009
Advisors: Shelly Goldman, Clifford Nass, Martic Carnoy, Cheryl Koopman


More than the Sum of the Parts: Shared Representation in Collaborative Design Interaction

Department of Industrial Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London, 2007
Advisors: Prue Bramwell-Davis, Helga Wild


The KGC has built collaborative relationships with research field sites around the globe, ranging from Hawai'i and Ohio to Finland, Taiwan, and India. Our partners at these field sites are full collaborators and participate equally in each project.

Friends of the Future, Big Island, Hawaii

Collaborators: Susan Maddox, John De Fries, Daniel Akaka, Jr.

Handloom Weavers Community, Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh, India

Collaborator: Dr. Narasimha Reddy Donthi

African Refugee Community, Dayton, Ohio

Collaborator: Colleen Saxen

Manav Sadhna, Ahmedabad, India

Collaborators: Madhusudan Agarwal, Jyotsana Parmar, Nilam Thakkar

Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Collaborator: Dr. Tea Lempiälä

National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan

Collaborator: Dr. Jean-Yves Heurtebise

India Institute of Technology, Jodhpur

Collaborators: Dr. Prem Kalra, Dr. Rajiv Shekhar


All of our current work builds upon the foundational research that has been pursued as a part of the KGC since 1997. Many of the following projects have been instantiated at field sites and departments elsewhere.


  • The project focuses on advancing the understanding of knowledge, beliefs and institutions in social change, and in the creation of sustainable prosperity. The research inquiry is inspired by the questions that are essential to understanding the issues facing the creation of shareable global prosperity: What can be understood from the evolution of institutional changes in developed countries that would better support the prospects for prosperity in the developing countries? Can indigenous beliefs and tradition in pre-literate communities and culture take advantage of digital visual technology to advance their institutions? If the creation of prosperity in indigenous communities were to succeed, what would be the implications for the evolution of institutions in developed countries? How do emerging technologies make the creation and transfer of knowledge more productive?

    Research seeks to understand the interplay among cognition, belief systems, and institutions, and how they affect economic performance. Initial research argues that a deeper understanding of institutions' emergence, their working properties, and their effect on economic and political outcomes should begin from an analysis of cognitive processes. Research explores the nature of individual and collective learning, stressing that the issue is not whether agents are perfectly or boundedly rational, but rather how human beings actually reason and choose, individually and in collective settings. Research links processes of learning to institutional analysis, providing arguments in favor of what can be characterized as "cognitive institutionalism", and show that a full treatment of the phenomenon of path dependence should start at the cognitive level, proceed at the institutional level, and culminate at the economic level.
    Mantzavinos, C., D. North, and S. Shariq. "Learning, Institutions, and Economic Performance." Perspectives on Politics. March 2004: 74-84.

Active from 2005-present

Scholars: Chrysostomos Mantzavinos, Douglass North, and Syed Shariq


  • The Communication with Integrity project seeks to ensure the sustainability of innovative initiatives that require resources from those who want to provide support, financial and otherwise, over the long term. It seeks to understand the specialized language that emerges in young organizations and to rearticulate the messages of these initiatives into compelling narratives.

Active from 2011-2013

Scholars: Susan Nourse


  • The Iris Scholarship Ecology (ISE) research project is a self-reflexive community of scholars engaged in explorations that could offer insights and practices for evolving a sustainable and verdant society. It seeks to nurture research for cultivating a patient multi-generational commitment to scholarship that embodies a post-disciplinary and collaborative mode of inquiry for understanding and characterizing the verdant society.

    ISE is inspired by the strong interest of students at Stanford who are seeking to contribute solutions to the most urgent problems of the world. The responsibility felt by the students is equaled by their need and ability to contribute sustainable solutions. There is a strong need among students to act on the responsibility they feel towards the present and the future. Even though Stanford offers a range of learning opportunities to students through course work and research engagements, students still feel that there is an educational gap that needs to be filled. Students are also seeking to carry forward their project all the way to the implementation so that they can receive validation and satisfaction that comes from making a tangible impact in the world, and to have the opportunity to advance their projects to a sustainable venture, one that they can they develop and grow and continue to be part of after they have completed their education and training.

    Realizing the practices that exist in academia and the field we need to engage with, each other’s practices enables collaboration to solve problems that we all face. This co-practicing is the way to a sustainable future for all. There is a loss of opportunity when we view the community in the field only as users of a solution and hence design and build solutions without their input. What is really needed is for communities to be more than just users. There is a need to recognize and acknowledge that they have the capacity to contribute and collaborate with students here as co-equals, in co-creating a shared context for advancing the inquiry. If the solution is built in collaboration with practitioners from the communities, then it can be indigenized and developed and implemented by them in the field without going through the challenges we face in the traditional approach of abstracting the knowledge first and then struggling to apply it to the specific local context of the field. This creates a more inclusive and sustainable world where students and scholars can engage in co-practicing with practitioners in the field to create timely and efficacious solutions.

Active from 2007-2010

Scholars: Syed Shariq, V. Balaji;
Students: Christopher Han, Bhavna Hariharan, Koh Ming Wei, Tea Lempiälä, Louise Nielsen, Colleen Saxen, Neeraj Sonalkar


  • Community Digital Vision and Voice Narrative Enactment (Co-DiViNE) project is inspired by Karl Llewellyn's research on the narratives of Cheyenne legal institutions, Laura Nader’s work with judicial and cultural norms of the Zapotec Mountain Village, and the pioneering work of visual anthropologists (Sol Worth, Eric Michaels, among others) on the use of indigenous visual narratives creation by the pre-literate communities themselves, and on more recent uses of DiViNE technology by Ramesh Srinivasan with the Kumeyaay tribal community in San Diego.

    The goal of the Co-DiViNE project is to develop collaboration with pre-literate communities in south India. The study of the visual and voice narratives of the villages will help create a baseline for their current knowledge, beliefs and institutions. As pre-literate communities work to prosper through the cultural and institutional innovations over time, the study can also analyze the visual and voice narratives on an ongoing basis to help understand the evolution of the indigenous knowledge, beliefs and institutions in these villages.

    Co-DiViNE project is aimed at creating sustainable prosperity in chronically poor, oral communities. It is conceived as a collaborative mutual learning engagement between research scholars, post graduate interns and the pre-literate communities and cultures for helping the latter evolve their institutions by introducing to them the ability to create, store, organize and share their mimetic and mythic knowledge, beliefs and institutions in the oral and visual form. As such it is aimed at creating and sustaining affordances for collaborative co-presences using audio and video technology to manifest co-practices among and between students and scholars from the literate world and the rural practitioners from pre-literate Indian villages situated in the midst of poverty.
    Hariharan, B., S. Shariq, S. Sheppard. "When Understanding Follows 'Experiencing': A Report from Research in the Field" International Journal of Engineering Education. March 2008: 434-442.

Active from 2005-2009

Scholars: Janine Giese-Davis, Ade Mabogunje, Syed Shariq;
Students: Bhavna Hariharan


  • The inspiration for the TEACH Lab comes from three basic principles:

    1. Research should emerge from the needs, values, and desires of each community, and should respect the dignity of all people.
    2. Research should adhere to the highest standard, regardless of geography, economy, and culture.
    3. Research should improve the quality of life in the communities being studied.

    Though these principles have been fundamental in guiding social science in developed countries, relatively little research has been held to the same standards in the developing world. Much of this research is based on treating the needs and values of people in developed countries as standard and globally meaningful, and merely seeks to characterize developing countries in terms of differences from these norms. In contrast to best practices, methods of research and assessment in developing countries are not grounded in comparison, quantifiable measures, and scientific rigor. Because of these deficiencies, psychological and sociological research on technology in the developing world has not resulted in actionable design that improves the lives of communities.

    TEACH Lab. Information and communication technologies hold much promise as empowering tools for populations that are critically dependent on timely and easy access to information about healthcare, agriculture and employment. The design and deployment of such technologies is clearly a complex problem, influenced by many social, cultural and psychological factors. The TEACH methodology of social science research, rooted in theoretically informed, rigorously controlled experimental research, and tested in over 100 published research studies and product design improvements, is one that we believe allows a fresh approach to this problem.

    The TEACH Lab addresses locally relevant yet fundamental research questions that emerge from within communities in developing countries. Rather than asking whether groups are similar or different to developed countries, the questions are motivated by the unique needs and desires of local populations. For example, the lab explores: 1) learning about culturally taboo subjects; 2) shared use and ownership of technology; 3) interaction with technology through human intermediaries; and 4) psychological measurement in non-literate communities

Active from 2005-2008

Scholars: Clifford Nass, V. Balaji;
Students: Piya Sorcar, Abhay Sukumaran


  • The research inquiry is inspired by the questions that are essential to understanding the issues facing the creation of shared global prosperity: How would the theory of cognitive evolution modify the understanding of the process of economic change? Because communities, regions, and nations today are hybrids of several historic stages in cognitive and cultural evolution, how do these elements factor in the explanation of the beliefs underlying the institutions? How does cognitive evolution modify the definition of the natural state and open access societies? How does the synthesis of theories of cognitive and institutional evolution help describe the way traditional and modern societies would transform and evolve over time?

    The project focuses on new methods for merging theory and practice in international development. Societies at different stages in their internal social, cognitive, economic, and cultural evolution will be examined by an interdisciplinary group of experts. Researchers will examine a series of multidisciplinary topics to synthesize theories relevant to the creation of shared prosperity.

Active from 2005-2008

Scholars: Merlin Donald, Douglass North


Active from 2004-2007

Scholars: Scott Brave, Sri Sridharan


  • ReVeL began as an interdisciplinary research program that sought to create and disseminate knowledge, tools, models, and practices that advance access to shared global prosperity. ReVeL worked with early-stage ventures that had a focus on developing countries. The project facilitated trusted exploration between venture founding teams and experts from academia and industry in media-rich, interactive environments for the purpose of creating a cohesive, compelling venture narrative in real-time and thereby helped to significantly increase the success potential of the ventures in the developing world. ReVeL worked with 15 ventures, 8 in the US and 7 in India. This engagement brought to light the discovery on the differences in strategies between entrepreneurs living in cultures such as Asia and Africa and entrepreneurs living in cultures such as US and Western Europe.
    See the evolution of the ReVeL methodology
    See a poster explaining the ReVeL methodology

    As with all good research, the ReVeL project has evolved, and one instantiation of it is the Venture Design Engineering Laboratory, which has field sites in Abeokuta, Nigeria and Ahmedabad, India.
    Visit the Venture Design Engineering Laboratory

Active from 1999-2007

Scholars: Cheri Anderson, Per Aage Brandt, Merlin Donald, Janine Giese-Davis, Satinder Gill, George Kozmetsky, Ade Mabogunje, Clifford Nass, Mark Nicolson, Knut Oxnevad, Syed Shariq, 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


Active from 2001-2002

Scholars: George Kozmetsky, Knut Oxnevad, Syed Shariq, Raymond Yeh


  • Knexus is a global transdisciplinary community of scholars from social and natural sciences, and practitioners with real world experience from the field working together on the research projects on the networks, exchanges and uses of knowledge. The KNEXUS model has been developed with the following principles in mind to:

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

    The Knexus community brings together and integrates scholarship in the following three areas:

    1. Develop a deeper theoretical and empirical understanding of knowledge networks and their role in economic growth and change;
    2. Develop 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;
    3. Develop findings and insights for promoting the generation of knowledge, economic growth, and institutions that enhance prosperity and democracy in emerging economies

    The following three Knexus Research Symposia were organized and convened:

    1. First Knexus Research Symposium focused on, Evolution of Institutions, Organizations, and Knowledge Networks in Economic Growth, Bechtel Conference Center, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, August 2, 1999.
    The Stanford Report's article on KNEXUS, August 11, 1999
    2. Second Knexus Research Symposium focused on, The Institutionalization of Knowledge: How Institutions Develop and Spread Knowledge, Bechtel Conference Center, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, July 31 - August 2, 2000.
    Agenda and Participants of the Second KNEXUS Symposium
    3. Third Knexus Research Symposium focused on, Ideas about Social, Political and Economic Change: Theory and Empirical Evidence, Bechtel Conference Center, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, August 8-10, 2001.
    Agenda and Participants of the Third KNEXUS Symposium

Active from 1997-2000

Steering Committee: James March, Walter Powell (Co-Principal Investigator), Nathan Rosenberg (Co-Principal Investigator), 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