Innovation: The Future of Business and Philanthrophy


Bringing the Execution Excellence of Business and the Compassion of Philanthropy together to maximize impact.

Businesses live in a free market economy where the customers have a choice. As a result the process is very Darwinian. To survive Businesses have to excel in execution. But at times, they lose their way and get totally disconnected from the community and the world they live in. On the other hand, non-profits have plenty of compassion, but their beneficiaries usually do not have a choice. Because of lack of the driving force from their customers, there is no pressure on them to execute. For survival they only have to please their donors. Therefore if we find ways to combine the two, we get businesses and non-profits that are not only functional but truly make it a better world. The speaker will talk about examples of organizations that have combined the compassion and execution.

Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is the President of Sparta Group LLC, a family investment office. Dr. Deshpande holds a B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, and M.E. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and Ph.D from Queens University in Canada. Dr. Deshpande has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He is involved in several companies either as the founder, a founding investor and chairman of several companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems and Curata.

Dr. Deshpande lives in Boston and serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation, and his generous donations have made possible MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Center, Deshpande Foundation has set up three other centers; Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.
Deshpande co-chairs a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship