Mark focuses on designing, catalyzing, incentivizing, and generating resources to scale up collective positive human behavior change. He has described a functional, quantitative definition of peace, in terms of technology-mediated engagement episode quantity and quality across social difference lines; he has identified innovative, automated ways to measure peace, both at the neighborhood and global level; and he has developed a formal structural description for peace data. He leads the Global Open Social Sensor Array Project, and designs technology interventions to measurably increase positive, mutually beneficial engagement across conflict boundaries. Mark’s mission is to create an entire new, profitable industry, where positive peace is delivered as a service. other projects include epic global challenge and peace markets. mark is also a researcher and practitioner at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and a member of Stanford’s Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory.

Conferences and Presentations


  • Peace Innovation Framework, Hack for Peace In the Middle East, PITME, San Francisco 2014


  • Impact of Social Technologies on Governance, Legitimacy and Rule of Law Civil Military Operations and the Rule of Law Course, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 2013
  • Can We Design Peace? Future Talk, Mountain View, CA 2013
  • USAID Resilient Africa Network, Kampala, Uganda, 2013
  • Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments, Rule of Law Course, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 2013
  • Peace Innovation – An Overview, Bar Ilan University Delegation, Stanford, CA 2013
  • Peace Innovation – An Overview, COWI, Aalborg, Denmark 2013
  • Turban Myths: An Analysis of Anti-Sikh American Bias and Hate Crimes Peace Innovation Workshop, SALDEF, Stanford, CA 2013


  • Paris TelecomTech Peace Innovation Workshop, Stanford University 2012
  • Peace Innovation Workshops, Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley April, May 2012
  • Positive Effects Technologies, TEDxHult, Hult University, 2012
  • Peace Innovation Workshop, Hult University 2012
  • The Business of Peace podcast, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2012
  • Behavior Design Interventions and Frameworks, Security and Development Course, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 2012
  • Impact of Social Technologies on Governance, Legitimacy and Rule of Law Civil Military Operations and the Rule of Law Course, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 2012


  • USIP Blogs and Bullets Conference, United States Institute for Peace, Stanford University 2011Gaming for the Greater Good, Stanford Business School, 2011
  • Hack4Egypt, Stanford University 2011
  • Hack4Egypt2, Stanford University, 2011
  • Blogs & Bullets2, United States Institute for Peace, Washington DC 2011
  • Briefing on Collective Intelligence and Agile Ad-hoc Emergent Organizations, NATO PSYOP Conference, Orlando, FL 2011


  • Social M, Stanford University, 2010
  • Relief 2.0 in Haiti, Stanford University, 2010
  • Relief 2.0 Chile, Stanford University 2010


  • EPIC Global Challenge Weekly Seminar Series, Stanford University, 2009-2011


Mark Nelson is a researcher and entrepreneur at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and co-founder of the Peace Innovation Lab, both within HSTAR, the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute. He is also a member of the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory.

Mark’s research is at the intersection of mass collaboration and mass interpersonal persuasion, and is focused on designing, catalyzing, incentivizing, and generating resources for collective human behavior change, at scale. 

Mark is a thought-leader on these topics, and advises businesses, universities, governments and NGOs in these areas, particularly those interested in designing or implementing open innovation platforms, mass collaboration tools, augmented reality games and other applications to influence human behavior for good.

Special Skills

  • Persuasive technology, peace innovation, gaming for good, mass collaboration, crowdsourcing, crowd-funding, collective intelligence, open innovation
  • Business model development, business planning, marketing strategy development.
  • Field experience in South Pacific, Latin America, Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
  • Broad experience with private, government, international and non-profit organizations.
  • Has lectured at conferences and organized multi-stakeholder workshops
  • Fast ad-hoc multi-disciplinary team building
  • Speaks, reads and writes in Spanish, English, Neo-Melanesian

Areas of Expertise

Business & Investment Banking

Strategic consulting, including business model development, business planning, marketing strategy development.

Founder, Imperial Trust, international merchant bank in Ethiopia

Founder, North American division Imperial Trust, international investment bank

Virtual Currencies

Founder of PactFund a time bank platform for providing mobile payment capability for collaborative, P2P social micro-capital through social ventures and causes around the world.


Advisor Panango.  Panango strives to encourage positive and sustainable development in Papua New Guinea through English education and cultural exchange.

Instructor Center for a Rural Alternative in El Limón de Ocoa (CAREL), Dominican Republic.  Connected remote mountain village school to the Internet and to Cornell’s distance education program.  Co-organized the arte y desarollo project.

Behavior Design & Persuasive Technology

Researcher, Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab

Science Advisor, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Spring Symposium on Shikakeology: Designing Triggers for Behavior Change

Peace Innovation

Co-Founder, Stanford Peace Innovation Lab

Principal Architect, Global OPEN Social Sensor Network Project, a Stanford led, Open Source, Open Innovation project organized in collaboration with a global network of university and industry partners, to integrate social engagement meta-data in one place.

Co-Founder, Peace Innovation Field Lab Network, a growing network of partner innovation labs in cities throughout Latin America, Africa and Europe.

Mass Collaboration & Open Innovation

Founder Epic Global Challenge. EPIC creates frameworks, technology, tools and incentive prizes to empower individuals to create innovation networks to solve complex global problems.

Social Media & Social Technologies

Senior Fellow, SocialxDesign, strategy consulting firm dedicated to bridging the worlds of online engagement and offline experience for businesses, government agencies, and NGOs. Clients include the White House, Department of Labor, State Department, European Commission, BestBuy and Unilever.

Market Innovation

Founder, PeaceMarkets. Peace Markets is correcting distortions in the price signal (and therefore perceived value) of peace, defined as positive engagement across conflict boundaries. We accomplish this by identifying the industry sectors that suffer loss from conflict, and creating a commodity exchange for Minimum Acceptable Peaceful Interactions (MAPIs). This will allow industries in those sectors to hedge their conflict exposure risk, by purchasing measurable, proven peaceful interventions as investments.

Metrics and Analytics

Project Lead, where friend connections created each day between people of different regions, religions, and political affiliations are tracked on the Facebook platform.

Project Architect, Global OPEN Social Sensor Network Project. Identified innovative, automated ways to measure peace, both at the neighborhood and global level; and has developed a formal structural description for Peace Data.

Social Entrepreneurship

Advisor Vipani. Advised Vipani on the application of persuasive technology for the effective reduction of corruption and increase of trust in developing economies, by non-coercive, non-punitive, and highly cost effective means.

Advisor, Gumball Capital.  Gumball Capital engages students with entrepreneurship for social good through microfinance.

Advisor, Social-M. Social-M channels the creative, entrepreneurial energy of Stanford students into University-supported initiatives.  The objective is to more effectively motivate, unite, and leverage the Stanford community to make lasting social change.

Disaster Relief

Hurricane relief work, Dominican Republic & Haiti

Famine relief work, Ethiopia & Sudan (Fellowship for African Relief)

Founding Partner with Relief 2.0 (2010), disaster response with local stakeholders, social networks and technology.

Hosted Haiti 2.0 workshop at Stanford which gathered 80 stakeholders from the academic, NGO and volunteer communities where they shared their uses of social media for disaster response.

Hosted Chile 2.0 workshop at Stanford where Chilean professors worked with social media practitioners to apply crowdsourcing concepts to earthquake relief.

TEDx Conference

Guest speaker at TEDxHult.


  • “If you’re trying to solve a really complex, multi-faceted problem, ask Mark. If it’s something that’s stumped the best minds for years, ask Mark to help you lay out a plan of attack and define the ideal problem-solving team—whether that be a hand-picked group of experts or an everybody-welcome crowd. Mark is brilliant yet humble, passionate yet patient. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with him through the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab (Open Innovation brainstorming for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and on Innovation Management Institute program design. What a great pleasure and honor! My advice: If you ever have the opportunity to work with Mark, seize it!” ~ March 2, 2012  Julian Keith Loren, Co-Founder, Innovation Management Institute
  • “Mark is a master of balance. He has phenomenal bandwidth and a sweeping vision that is also grounded in reality and practicality. Similarly, he is a very pleasant person to work with and be around: sincere, generous, and gracious yet also a courageous and tough-minded leader.” January 1, 2010 ~Jessica Margolin, EPIC Global Challenge, Stanford University
  • “Mark has an amazing ability to sift through complex information and arrive at both tactical and strategic solutions.” ~ February 25, 2011 Joseph Gilby, Owner, TorchGlow Entertainment
worked directly with Mark at

Relevant Experience

  • Senior Fellow, SocialxDesign, 2012
  • Co-Founder. Peace Innovation Lab, Stanford University, 2010-present
  • Researcher. Persuasive Technology Lab, Stanford University, 2008-present
  • Project Lead EPIC Global Challenge, Stanford University, 2009-present
  • Collaboration Evangelist. Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute, Stanford University, 2008-present
  • Member. Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory, Stanford University
  • Advisor. Vipani, 2010-2011
  • Advisor. Gumball Capital, 2010-2011
  • Advisor. Panango, 2008-2010
  • Advisor.  Social-M, Stanford University, 2010
  • Co-Founder, PactFund, 2007-present
  • Founder. Imperial Trust


  • Ukarumpa International School, Papua New Guinea, 1969 – 1981
  • Ukarumpa High School, Papua New Guinea, 1968 – 1981


Organizer of over two dozen seminar series, conferences and workshops in peace innovation, persuasive technology, mass persuasion and disaster response and recovery.