Work with us to equip a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders with the tools to brave ethical dilemmas.
The Principled Entrepreneurial Action and Knowledge (PEAK) project prioritizes applied ethics in entrepreneurship education. PEAK is a project by Stanford University in collaboration with Duke University, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).
It’s time to start teaching applied ethics.
The PEAK project works to position ethics at the core of teaching and research on entrepreneurship and innovation.
The PEAK approach:
Entrepreneurs and innovators influence every aspect of our lives. The effects of breakthrough technologies and disruptive enterprises cut across industries, institutions and academic disciplines.
Traditionally, entrepreneurship education and research has made ethics an afterthought, at best.
The next generation requires a robust toolkit for creating ethical solutions at scale.
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4 Videos on Applied Ethics
Join us in propelling a new era of entrepreneurship education and research!
We aim to:
Change is possible. We’ve seen it happen. STVP has advanced entrepreneurship education through collaborations with educators around the globe for more than 20 years.
Learn more about this pivotal moment in entrepreneurship education.
PEAK Fellows is an opportunity for Stanford undergraduate and co-term students to explore what it means to develop guiding values and principles in the context of entrepreneurial businesses. It will place students who are working in technology ventures into cohorts of eight fellow students. Through readings and bi-weekly meetings, each student will define a set of principles that resonates with them. These principles will be designed to guide fellows in the future as they shape teams and seek to align their career decisions with their values. PEAK Fellows will come away with a heightened understanding of their own values, a close-knit community of peers, and the tools necessary to brave ethical dilemmas in the future.
Technical developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurship, as well as raised profound longer term questions about how human societal and economic systems may be reorganized to accommodate the rise of intelligent machines. In this course, closely co-taught by a Stanford professor and a leading Silicon Valley venture capitalist, we will examine the current state of the art capabilities of existing artificial intelligence systems, as well as economic challenges and opportunities in early stage startups and large companies that could leverage AI. We will focus on gaps between business needs and current technical capabilities to identify high impact directions for the development of future AI technology. Simultaneously, we will explore the longer term societal impact of AI driven by inexorable trends in technology and entrepreneurship. The course includes guest lectures from leading technologists and entrepreneurs who employ AI in a variety of fields, including healthcare, education, self-driving cars, computer security, natural language interfaces, computer vision systems, and hardware acceleration.
Quarter Offered: Spring
Bioengineering focuses on the development and application of new technologies in the biology and medicine. These technologies often have powerful effects on living systems at the microscopic and macroscopic level. They can provide great benefit to society, but they also can be used in dangerous or damaging ways. These effects may be positive or negative, and so it is critical that bioengineers understand the basic principles of ethics when thinking about how the technologies they develop can and should be applied. On a personal level, every bioengineer should understand the basic principles of ethical behavior in the professional setting. This course will involve substantial writing, and will use case-study methodology to introduce both societal and personal ethical principles, with a focus on practical applications.
Quarter Offered: Winter
Examines how leaders tackle significant events that occur in high-growth entrepreneurial companies. Students prepare their minds for the difficult entrepreneurial situations that they will encounter in their lives in whatever their chosen career. Cases and guest speakers discuss not only the business rationale for the decisions taken but also how their principles affected those decisions. The teaching team brings its wealth of experience in both entrepreneurship and VC investing to the class. Previous entrepreneurship coursework or experience preferred. Limited enrollment. Admission by application: http://web.stanford.edu/class/engr248/apply.
Quarter Offered: Winter
The famous computer scientist, Alan Kay, once said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." As such, we are all responsible for inventing the future we hope we and our descendants will experience. In this highly interactive course, we will be exploring how to predict and invent the future and why this is important by focusing on a wide range of frontier technologies, such as robotics, AI, genomics, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, 3D Printing, VR/AR, synthetic meat, etc. The class will feature debates in which students present utopian and dystopian scenarios, and determine what has to be done to inoculate ourselves against the negative consequences. Limited enrollment. Admission by application: dschool.stanford.edu/classes.
Quarter Offered: Spring
Ethical and social issues related to the development and use of computer technology. Ethical theory, and social, political, and legal considerations. Scenarios in problem areas: privacy, reliability and risks of complex systems, and responsibility of professionals for applications and consequences of their work. Prerequisite: 106A.
Quarter Offered: Winter
Grand challenges of our time will demand entirely new ways of thinking about when, how, and under what conditions organizations are "doing good" and what effects that has. Focus is on the role of organizations in society, the ways that organizations can "do good," the challenges organizations face in attempting to "do good", limitations to current ways of organizing, alternative ways to organize and lead organizations that are "good," and the role and responsibilities of individuals in organizations. Students will reflect on and refine their own values and purpose to identify ways in which they can "do good." This course has been designated as a Cardinal Course by the Haas Center for Public Service.
Quarter Offered: Spring
The objective of this large seminar-syle course is to explore the increasing ethical challenges in a world in which technology, global risks, and societal developments are accelerating faster than our understanding and the law can keep pace. We will unravel the factors contributing to the seemingly pervasive failure of ethics today among organizations and leaders across all sectors: business, government, non-profit, and academia. A framework for ethical decision-making underpins the course. There is significant space for personal reflection and forming your own views on a wide range of issues. Prominent guest speakers will attend certain sessions interactively. The relationships among ethics and technology, culture, leadership, law, and global risks (inequality, privacy, financial system meltdown, cyber-terrorism, climate change, etc.) will inform discussion. A broad range of international topics might include: designer genetics; civilian space travel (Elon Musk's Mars plans); social media (e.g. Facebook Cambridge Analytica, on-line sex trafficking, monopolies); new devices (e.g. Amazon Alexa in hotel rooms); free speech on University campuses; opioid addiction; AI (from racism to the work challenge and beyond); corporate and financial sector scandals (Theranos, Wells Fargo fraudulent account creation, Volkswagen emissions testing manipulation); new corporate challenges (e.g. Google selling drones to the military and Facebook¿s new Libra crypto currency); and non-profit sector ethics challenges (e.g. NGOs engagement with ISIS and sexual misconduct in humanitarian aid (Oxfam case)). Final project in lieu of exam on a topic of student's choice. Attendance required. Class participation important (with multiple opportunities to earn participation credit beyond speaking in class). Strong emphasis on rigorous analysis, critical thinking and testing ideas in real-world contexts. Please note that this course will require one make-up evening session on a Wednesday or Thursday in lieu of the final class session the first week of June, and two one-hour extensions to Monday class sessions as a make-up for May 11, so the course will end before Memorial Day. Students wishing to take the course who are unable to sign up within the enrollment limit should contact Dr. Susan Liautaud at firstname.lastname@example.org. The course offers credit toward Public Policy core requirements (if taken in combination with PUBLPOL 103E or PUBLPOL 103F), and Science, Technology and Society majors and satisfies the undergraduate Ways of Thinking Ethical Reasoning requirement. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates will not be at a disadvantage. Everyone will be challenged. Distinguished Career Institute Fellows are welcome and should contact Dr. Susan Liautaud directly at email@example.com. *Students taking the course for Ways credit and Public Policy majors taking the course to complete the core requirements must obtain a letter grade. Other students may take the course for a letter grade or C/NC. Students seeking credit for other majors should consult their departments.
Quarter Offered: Winter
This course engages with ethical challenges in the modern practice of data science. The three main focuses are data privacy, personalization and targeting algorithms, and online experimentation. The focus on privacy raises both practical and theoretical considerations. As part of the module on experimentation, students are required to complete the Stanford IRB training for social and behavioral research. The course assumes a strong technical familiarity with the practice of machine learning and and data science. Recommended: 221, 226, CS 161, or equivalents.
Quarter Offered: Winter
Examines how leaders tackle significant events that occur in high-growth entrepreneurial companies. Students prepare their minds for the difficult entrepreneurial situations that they will encounter in their lives in whatever their chosen career. Cases and guest speakers discuss not only the business rationale for the decisions taken but also how their principles affected those decisions. The teaching team brings its wealth of experience in both entrepreneurship and VC investing to the class. Previous entrepreneurship coursework or experience preferred. Limited enrollment. Admission by application: http://web.stanford.edu/class/engr248/apply
Quarter Offered: Spring
The ethical responsibility for consequences of professional analysts who use technical knowledge in support of any individual, organization, or government. The means to form ethical judgments; questioning the desirability of physical coercion and deception as a means to reach any end. Human action and relations in society in the light of previous thought, and research on the desired form of social interactions. Attitudes toward ethical dilemmas through an explicit personal code.
Quarter Offered: Autumn
What does it mean to be a principled leader? What role do values play in an organization, and how do successful leaders apply their values in their daily business lives? This course examines the concept of principled leadership and the various ways that leaders try to institutionalize particular values within the organizations they lead. Equally important, it explores the difficult challenges that leaders sometimes face when trying to apply their principles in a tough, fast-paced business environment, where others may not share the same expectations. Through assigned readings, interactive lectures with visiting executives, and weekly small group discussions, students will learn how practicing leaders implement their principles, while reflecting the realities of different cultural expectations and meeting business demands. The course will provide a forum for students to learn directly from practicing leaders and to think introspectively about their own personal values, leadership styles, and long-term aspirations.
Quarter Offered: Spring, Autumn, Winter
Learn about entrepreneurship, innovation, culture, startups and strategy from a diverse lineup of accomplished leaders and entrepreneurs in venture capital, technology, education, philanthropy and more. Open to all Stanford students. Required weekly assignment. May be repeated for credit.
Quarter Offered: Autumn
GSBGEN 566 is an elective course offered to 2nd-year MBA and MSx students. The goal of this course is to improve students' judgment in confronting challenging, real business situations encountered in the normal progression of corporate activities. The course aims to sharpen moral reasoning and build judgment without favoring a particular position. The course will be taught by Mark Leslie and Peter Levine, Lecturers.This course is taught using ¿vignettes¿. At the beginning of each class students will be given a one-page reading that describes a business situation which requires a decision to be made. After in-depth discussion, a second page will be handed out, describing how the situation actually unfolded and challenges the class with new information. This new information typically changes the dynamics of the case and requires a new decision to be made. Often there is a third and fourth page that continues the dialogue. Frequent student-to-student and student-to-instructor role-playing will be employed in the development of the session. Note that for most classes there is little or no advanced preparation required, which is often the case when making real-world business decisions.Cases are drawn from a wide selection of actual business challenges with protagonists joining the class as guests whenever available. Vignettes are based on topics such as raising venture capital, managing major industrial customers, product distribution agreements, board of director and fiduciary conflicts, developing financial instruments, senior management issues, work/life balance, etc.The class is extremely engaging - it is quite usual to find continuing discussion of the day's case outside the classroom among small groups of students.This class is for two GSB credits and will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Sixty percent of the final grade will be derived from classroom performance; the remainder will be based on a final written assignment describing a personal ethical situation that the student has faced in their careers.
Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting in the world that creates positive impact through the development of new and better solutions to customer and societal problems. Entrepreneurs see the world differently, noticing problems that others have overlooked and using passion, creativity and business skills to craft new and better solutions that address those problems effectively and sustainably. In doing so, entrepreneurs create value for others and advance the common good, whether in a startup enterprise, or an established company, or in a social-impact enterprise. In this course, business students of all disciplines will get an introduction to the entrepreneurial process, gaining knowledge and experience in core practices of entrepreneurial discovery and creation. The course is experiential – students will learn by doing, whether through in-class exercises, an exploratory field study, or case study analysis and discussion. Students will learn how this process advances the common good and will identify how it can be deployed within multiple fields of study.
This course opens a welcoming door to students who want to know more about business and the opportunities and career paths it offers. The course builds awareness of the need for preparation and for building essential skills in order to be an effective contributor, and to be resilient in the face of ongoing change in any organization and in dynamic markets. Finally, it invites students to begin planning a business or organizational career that will allow them to use their gifts, to contribute, and to lead a good and satisfying life.
New Ventures 1 guides students through the earliest, foundational stage of venture formation. Students enter with an interest in starting a venture, and, possibly—though not required—a vague idea for a project, and we’ll spend the semester identifying and clearly defining a specific opportunity for launching a potential product, company, service, organization, and/or nonprofit.
Most people spend their lives afraid of failing. Yet, many of the world’s most successful people failed numerous times on their paths toward success. The underlying question of this class is if failing is as antithetical to learning as we’re taught to believe. To explore this question, we will test ways of using failure as a strategy for learning. We will experiment with failure to learn how it can make us better as we develop our skills as innovators, specifically focusing on the earliest stage of creativity: ideation. We will use failure through experimentation as a technique for problem definition and needs discovery which, in turn, will help us validate the quality of our ideas.
|Reading for Entrepreneurship Educators on Applied-Ethics|
|Stanford eCorner||Teaching Principled Entrepreneurship|
|Stanford eCorner||The Student Role in Shaping Entrepreneurial Ethics|
|National Academy of Engineering||Empowering Future Engineers with Ethical Thinking (featured in The Bridge: 50th Anniversary Edition)|
|HBR||Developing Principled Decision Makers|
|VentureWell||4 Strategies to Integrate Ethics into Entrepreneurship Education|
|NYU Entrepreneurial Institute||Ethical Entrepreneurship in Education|
|PacificStandard||Are Elite Institutions Teaching Students the Wrong Values?|
|Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative||Entrepreneurship Education 2.0: Redefining Value Creation – Putting Purpose Before Profit|
|BizEd||Teaching Entrepreneurship, Cultivating Antifragility|
|HBR||The Era of “Move Fast and Break Things” Is Over|
|Materials That We Use in Our Courses|
|Stanford eCorner||Stanford Innovation Lab: The Entrepreneurship & Ethics Podcast|
|Stanford eCorner||Article: Entrepreneurship & Ethics|
|Stanford eCorner||Podcast: Infusing Decisions with Principles|
|Stanford Engineering||The Future of Everything Podcast: Riitta Katila: How diversity drives innovation|
|Stanford eCorner||Video: Tristan Harris on Making Technology Less Manipulative|
|AOM Insights||Facing an Ethical Dilemma? Try This Approach|
|Stanford Insights||Are You an Ethical Leader?|
|Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship||Making the Ethical Decision|
|Applied Ethics Projects|
|Stanford Ethics, Society and Technology Hub, a presidential initiative at Stanford University|
|Center for Engineering Ethics and Society, a project of the National Academy of Engineering|
|Ethics Unwrapped, a project from McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin|
|Ethics in Entrepreneurship, non-profit founded by the Theranos whistleblowers|
|National Ethics Project, a project from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University|
|Technology Ethics, a key focus area at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University|
|Applied Ethics Research|
|Technology and Innovation Management||Panel Discussion: Responsible and Ethical Innovation|
|Applied Ethics Convenings|
|Duke University, Stanford University and the University of St. Thomas||Conversations on Entrepreneurship and Ethics|
|GCEC||Panel Discussion: Ethics in Entrepreneurship Education (June 26, 2020)|
|GCEC||Panel Discussion: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; How can University E-ship Centers best Impact Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (July 31, 2020)|
Listen to The Podcast Stanford Innovation Lab: Entrepreneurship & Ethics
Watch the Playlist 8 Videos for Educators To Use In Courses
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We are grateful for the robust collaboration from colleagues at Stanford and around the world. A very special thank you to the students who’ve worked on the PEAK project. We could not be more fired up about ushering in a new decade of entrepreneurship education that integrates applied ethics.