#Hunnovators – Coming in March, 2015! Neumann Society Presents

John Von Neumann

“Of all of Von Neumann’s postwar work, his development of the
digital computer looms the largest today.”

Neumann Society is holding its first large-scale international conference on March 14th, 2015 in San Francisco. For the Society’s first event, we are proud to announce our partnership with Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s Heroic Imagination Project which will serve as our mental framework for our productive discussions and workshops at the conference.

Founded by a community of Hungarian-born innovators in Silicon Valley, Neumann Society is a California 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Following the footsteps of their patron and role model John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, inventor and polymath, the Society is set out to:

  • Build a transatlantic community of mindful innovators and shape a better tomorrow.
  • Create and connect impactful communities to promote the advancement of socially responsible innovation.
  • Serve as the convener, promoter and opportunity creator for Hungarian and transatlantic talent and creativity in Silicon Valley and beyond.

We set out to gather an eminent group of Hungary-affiliated innovators from all walks of life: entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists, social innovators and many more. Our aim is to forge an innovation network and thriving meta-communities of Hungarian- American intelligentsia, based in Silicon Valley but encompassing the US and beyond as well as to foster related thought exchange on both sides of the Atlantic.

The aim of the #Hunnovators event is to launch this community movement, seeking solutions around the following questions and challenges:

  • How can we gain the understanding, awareness and prowess needed to create lasting positive change in our Bay Area and US Hungarian Community as well as Hungarian society?
  • How can we put Hungarian talent and brainpower, especially our well-known capacity to analyze and innovate to the best use for social good?
  • How can Hungarian society – especially new generations and young talent – benefit from the mindset and learnings of the US Hungarian community and the achievements of Bay Area Hungarians?
  • How can we all practice everyday heroism and help Hungarian society achieve the mental and attitude transformation needed to realize its full potential in the 21st century?

Dr. Zimbardo studied the psychological foundations of negative forms of social influence (such as conformity, obedience and the bystander effect and is now refocused on understanding the nature of everyday heroism, the psychology of personal and social growth and above all, the practical application of these principles.


Our mindset is the root of many of our problems AND the key to our success.


Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and legendary social psychologist created and launched several local projects worldwide, which are based on the outcome of this research. Heroic Imagination Project (HIP) fueled the launch of  the Hungarian “Hosok Tere” Initiative in June 2014. Based on its large-scale potential impact and compatibility with its principles,  Neumann Society  made a decision to name it as its chosen Project of Excellence for 2015 and rally the next generation of American-Hungarian leaders to the support of  HIP and its Hungarian incarnation.

The #Hunnovators event is about the above mindset in action and our mental framework for the first Neumann Society conference. We are convinced that – by mobilizing ourselves as the Bay Area and US Hungarian community – we can supercharge ourselves and also support the Hungarian movement  from this side of the Atlantic.

Societies, communities, individuals which prevail in the 21st century all share certain characteristics. Inclusiveness, empathy, trust, social solidarity, meritocracy, optimist-realism: these all sound like a no-brainer in theory, but you are probably one of the millions finding their practice sub-optimal in your environment. Science provides more and more data-based evidence of why certain individuals, communities and nations fail. Fortunately there are also winning strategies on how the inherent strengths may be used for optimal outcomes – and how can we learn new ones to succeed at all levels. At this age, imbued by the achievements of science and technology, we all can and should put in the effort to gain the skills and awareness needed to create lasting positive change in your own life and the lives of others.


We all have everyday hero potential.

Many of these traits we shared as critical, unquestionable values at a certain point in our history as a European Christian nation – but we may have lost or demoted many of them. Regaining and reinventing them to fit the needs of our present age need active learning, teaching and experimentation. Most of all, a breakthrough needs a minimal consensus and a critical acting mass of drivers at all levels of society.

When we as individuals, communities or a nation believe in our own ability to change, grow, and improve over time, learning becomes fun and challenges become rewarding. Psychological research has shown that these changes can be lasting and result in increased long-term success and individual well-being in all walks of life.

The path leading to this success is through an unbiased, thorough analysis of our strengths and weaknesses, through rational thinking to map the road to realize our true potential and a will to change according to that plan – shared by most stakeholders.

So understand yourself and your actions, understand others and the forces governing them and learn specific strategies how to cope with these forces – it is as simple as that.

Forget the larger-than-life heroes of history or the entertainment industry: when we say that everyone can and should be a hero, we mean it. Our heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary deeds of helping and caring for others in need, or defending a moral cause, by standing up, speaking out and taking wise and effective action– aware of personal risks and costs. Real change in society all starts at the individual level and no society can thrive without the heroism of individuals.

And this is how you can become that hero overnight.

Now this is the time for you to ask: what can I do? Regardless of who you are and where you live, there is a place for you in the movement as a volunteer, teacher, activist, testimonial-giver, event speaker, sponsor, donor etc.

You can do the equivalent of planting a tree and invest in the education of our children who will build a different world with the skills acquired. Or if you are more impatient, there is a role for you right now.

We invite you to a fun but deeply transformational adventure, where we need your extensive talents and active support. We invite you for one day where – with your contribution – we can create a success story and turn it into lasting change.

© Neumann Society 2014 - 2016.