Dariush Rafinejad - Provost at Presidio Graduate School

Presidio Graduate School - Dariush

Dr. Rafinejad has had over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in high-tech industries in Silicon Valley. He was a Corporate Vice President at both Applied Materials and Lam Research, both multi-billion dollar semiconductor equipment companies. Prior to PGS, he was Associate Professor, Consulting at Stanford University. He has also served as adjunct faculty at Haas Business School at Berkeley and Dean of Management at Menlo College in Atherton, California.

Dr. Rafinejad is the founding CEO of Blue Dome Consulting serving high tech companies in the U.S. and China to develop product innovation and organizational leadership capability. He has authored several publications including two books on product innovation. His recent book was published in 2017 and is titled: Sustainable Product Innovation – Entrepreneurship for Human Well-Being.

Dariush Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Graduate programs that prepare students to become successful sustainability leaders

  • Sustainable product innovation

  • Leading sustainability change from positions not labeled "sustainability"

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Final Five Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

It is important that sustainability professionals extend their reach beyond corporate sustainability programs which aim to measure and report. Sustainability professionals should build coalitions with the operating units of the company, starting with the enthusiasts and early adopters in each of these units. Sustainability professionals should become entrepreneurs within the corporations. They should seek opportunities for innovation in every building block of the company to affect triple bottom line change. They should remember, however, the big changes start with the small wins and small steps, and through prototyping solutions to demonstrate viability and to create enthusiasm for the potential outcome.

What are you, what are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

I'm excited by the rise in the awareness of acute need for sustainable development, for social justice and for stewardship of the environment and natural resources. I'm also encouraged by the rise in the recognition that sustainable development is the next innovation wave that will fuel future prosperity and wellbeing.

What is one book you'd recommend sustainability professionals read?

I'm sorry. I have to shamelessly recommend my own book, Sustainable Product Innovation: Entrepreneurship for human wellbeing. That was published in 2017. So sorry about that.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

I use many resources in the sustainability space. Some examples, for instance, I look at websites of activists and other NGOs. Governmental resources are plentiful and they're invaluable. US Department of Energy and the state of California sustainability sites. Leading corporations and industry alliances have many good resources. I also consult trade journals in addition to scientific journals. Trade journals like Solar Magazine, Green Chemistry and others are also very valuable. United Nations organizations such as United Nation Environmental Program as well as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals websites are great resources. They provide and pull data, provide advice and recommendations. One of the PGS faculty professors has published in GreenBiz as well. So, there are many, many resources and of course the listeners who are interested in the scientific area, there is much research done in the sustainability area in regards to climate change, both in prevention as well as adaptation technologies that are being developed. So there's plenty of those areas of opportunity as well.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and what's going on at Presidio Graduate School?

The best resource is the Presidio Graduate School website at presidio.edu. They can email admissions@presidio.edu also and ask to join an upcoming monthly virtual open house that we have. PGS also has a Twitter handle and LinkedIn resources they can connect to.