Challenges associated with extreme poverty have proven to be among the most intractable in the world, and, while engineers are critically important to the process of its alleviation, meaningful progress requires international, interdisciplinary teams that not only represent cultural and socioeconomic diversity, but work as one toward a commonly understood goal. When assembling such a diverse team, it is necessary to establish a fundamental and easily communicable strategy that highlights the importance of team members' roles as well as their challenges and constraints. This strategy is at the intersection of the diverse bodies of knowledge that each member brings and defines the “common knowledge” required to function as a unified and focused team. Using this strategy, a systematic methodology was developed at Arizona State University through an evolution and maturation of the GlobalResolve initiative, a program established to enhance students' educational experience and based on the nexus between engineering for the developing world and social entrepreneurship. The development of the methodology was approached by considering enterprise development at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) as a complex systems engineering problem. In this context, the word “system” means an integrated set of interacting people, policies, procedures, and components that react to an input and produce a predictable output. The inputs to this system are the skills and talents of people living at the BoP, and the output is a successful enterprise that generates economic activity, provides employment, and improves people's lives. An important outcome of this effort has been to parlay this intellectual and experiential process in the development of curricula and academic programs in social entrepreneurship both directly within engineering programs and within the wider academic infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jun 22 2013
Event2013 ASEE International Forum - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2013 → …


Conference2013 ASEE International Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Period6/22/13 → …

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Education


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