Stanford Rebuild, a Global Innovation Sprint to Accelerate COVID-19 Recovery

Participants receive free access to Stanford’s online entrepreneurial toolkit to guide them through the process of creating and evaluating projects designed to drive recovery.

June 09, 2020


A scenic picture of Hoover Tower. Credit: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

Hoover Tower at Stanford University. | Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

Driven by its commitment to helping leaders become agents of change, Stanford Graduate School of Business today announced Stanford Rebuild, a global innovation sprint focused on ideating and accelerating solutions for the wide range of challenges and opportunities society will face as it emerges from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stanford Rebuild is open to students, innovators, and business leaders around the globe, who are invited to participate in an eight-week focused investigation of ideas and solutions to pave the way toward a better and more equitable post-COVID-19 future. The program is part of Stanford University’s recent expansion of the virtual learning experience as it explores new ways to pursue knowledge through openness, sharing, collaboration, and communication. It was organized by Stanford Executive Education and the school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, in collaboration with schools and groups across Stanford University. Stanford Rebuild is based on the Stanford Embark curriculum, an entrepreneurial toolkit designed to help people explore how to turn an idea into a viable business. Stanford GSB is providing access to the Embark toolkit to Stanford Rebuild participants at no cost as part of the innovation sprint.

Periods of disruption bring to light new problems, and we’ve seen important innovations and significant new businesses created during challenging times.
Stefanos Zenios

COVID-19 has had a deep impact on many sectors and individuals, some more than others, and many experts anticipate that the road to economic recovery will take 12 to 24 months. Rapid innovation can make a crucial difference in driving faster recovery and better outcomes for individuals and organizations. Recognizing that uncertain times can spur innovation and spawn great companies, Stanford Rebuild was structured to help individuals and teams evaluate opportunities to create the next generation of businesses that rebuild the economy, as well as develop solutions to create a better “new normal” for individuals, small businesses, large organizations, and governments.

“Stanford Rebuild is designed to encourage and support rapid innovation and creativity at this uniquely challenging time,” said Stefanos Zenios, the faculty director of Stanford GSB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and the Investment Group of Santa Barbara Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Operations, Information & Technology. “Periods of disruption bring to light new problems, and we’ve seen important innovations and significant new businesses created during challenging times.”

“Our objective is to have many people from around the world step up to look at the barriers global communities will face in recovering from the pandemic. By offering content, tools, and expertise at no cost to aspiring innovators, we hope to inspire the next generation of services and organizations that help improve lives in this new reality,” said Zenios.

Stanford Rebuild highlights challenges and opportunities related to COVID-19 recovery in four key categories: reimagine organizations, reinforce healthcare systems, revitalize the workplace, and redesign human well-being. Stanford Rebuild highlights these categories as a way to encourage teams to consider a wide range of issues across many populations, such as implementing scalable and socially responsible testing and contact tracing; identifying new business opportunities to meet company and consumer needs that have been shifted by the pandemic; providing equal access to health care to underserved communities; bridging the digital divide; addressing the mental health impact of social distancing; and supporting small businesses as they recover and reinvent themselves. Participants are also welcome to bring forward projects related to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that may fall beyond the four highlighted sectors.

Stanford Rebuild kicks off June 22 with a series of online events designed to inspire creative problem-solving and spur excitement to drive innovation. The kickoff will be followed by an eight-week period in which individuals and teams will develop, test, and refine their solutions using the Embark entrepreneurial toolkit. The sprint will conclude with a global online event to highlight a range of projects that show promise to meaningfully accelerate economic, societal, and individual recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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