The theme of the ASME 2014 Congress has been stated as “Engineering for Global Development”, and emphasizes the need for engineering collaboration for facing the complex challenges extant in the developing world for critical infrastructure, clean water, and so on. Yet there exists little awareness of how to structure design communities to create the knowledge, and the design solutions, for developing countries or global problems. And there is not even a general theory on how to create such design communities that can effectively come to terms with the immense problems facing the globe, as population expands, CO2 in the atmosphere goes up, and the challenges presented by climate change come home to roost on basic human need.

In this paper, the author presents an attempt at the creation of a neurogenic, empathy-based emergent model for creating such communities linking Clare Graves’ and Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics, empathy development, and Conway’s Law. Coupled with work done previously by Andrew Kahneman, this paper will explain how to create larger design community structures based on empathetic development of design engineers, that will yield both the individuals, as well as the communities based on self-similar principles, that have the temporal and spatial awarenesses necessary to deal with these problems. Additionally, the author will discuss how such relational development will affect the physical structure of design solutions (such as concentrated, hierarchical, or distributed) by integrating this theory with Conway’s Law, which states that the structure of a given product will be a reflection of the organizational structure that created it.

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