Professors start Kickstarter campaign to study effective leadership

Adithi Iyengar, Staff Reporter

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Professor Richard Boyatzis and associate professor Anthony Jack recently began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their research on effective leadership.

Boyatzis and Jack’s research focuses on the neural correlates of effective leadership. They look at two opposing neural networks, the Task Positive Network (TPN) and the Default Mode Network (DMN). The TPN is more analytical and focused, while the DMN is creative and focuses more on morality.

Both networks are critical for effective leadership, but, because they oppose each other, it is hard for many leaders to find the right balance between the two. Boyatzis and Jack hope to show that effective leaders utilize both networks, and are able to cycle through them quickly and efficiently to adapt to different situations.

After some difficulty accumulating funding through traditional methods, such as grants from the National Institute of Health, they decided to turn to Kickstarter, a more unconventional method.

The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to find new ways of getting donors. Boyatzis and Jack want to find a large number of people who can donate small amounts to the research, which they hope will be easier than finding large donors.

Boyatzis, who teaches a Massive Open Online Course called Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, promoted the campaign to members of his course. The purpose was to get the 10,000 people who took the course to donate at least $10 each, for a total of $100,000.

The total goal of the campaign is to raise $112,500, and so far, they have raised $13,245.

“The thousands of people we had hoped would materialize with a small donation each has not occurred,” Boyatzis said. “If we hadn’t set the bar so high and made the goal to be about $60,000, it probably would have been more successful.”

“It is still a viable option to raise money with a few changes to it,” he added.

The deadline for the campaign is Sept. 23. If they don’t reach the goal, they will have to consider other options for funding their research.

“We will continue to go out to foundations who announce topics that are close to this,” said Boyatzis. “Tony will take a lead to develop a National Science Foundation application. I am trying to work with the development people from Weatherhead. For people in leadership, it is a topic that they would like to support.”