Our Work

Our Vision

SPEC takes inspiration from the work of the renowned 20th century inventor and visionary Richard Buckminster Fuller. Fuller dedicated his life to creating systems that would enable people to live healthy and productive lives. He envisioned a "World Game", in which groups of experts collected and analyzed all the information and data available on the world's resources and industries. These teams would collaborate to develop sustainable solutions to global problems like poverty, homelessness, hunger, pandemics, and environmental destruction. Fuller's goal was, as he put it, to

"make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone."

Unfortunately, during his life time, Fuller didn't have the technology needed to make his World Game a reality. At SPEC, we believe that today humanity has the collective knowledge and technology to realize Fuller's vision. Modern computers enable distributed collaboration, information processing, and data analysis capabilities Bucky only could have dreamed of. We can use these technologies to build radically transparent, sustainable, and equal systems of living and working. If we can harness our collective intelligence and collaboratively innovate, we can make the world work for all people and the environment.

What we've accomplished so far

SPEC is a little more than a year old and has already done a lot! Here is a breakdown of our first year.

  • Paid out $27,964 to contributors
  • Helped over a dozen people find work
  • Provided credit bearing work experience to students
  • Incubated a handful of community initiatives
  • Facilitated many events and deliberative conversations
  • Launched the Journal of Engaged Research
  • Developed the SPEC Learning Platform
  • Piloted and delivered a free microcredential course
  • Sponsored an LGBTQI+ art gallery
  • Contributed to open source software and sustainability


I transitioned into tech in an effort to implement change for social good - I was ecstatic to stumble upon SPEC! The mentorship I received through SPEC was integral in developing the confidence and skills I needed to land my first coding role.
– Julia Catalano
When Dr. Rogers asked me to be a part of her new initiative called SPEC with Joe Torreggiani. I was honored and excited to be a part of their new adventure to help change the world we currently live in. Dr. Rogers couldn’t have asked me to join forces with her and Joe at a better time, given the current social injustices happening across the country and also right in our backyards in Buffalo NY. I have had the ability to be viewed as a research intern where I have expressed my interests in website design and furthering my passion to bring awareness to becoming anti-racist. This past June of 2020, I co-founded a grassroots activism group called, Citizens for Change-Lockport, where we have held race panels and started forming sub-committees to address the startling lack of diversity within the community. Being an intern for SPEC has given me the tools to allow my grassroots activism group to grow, but also I have been given the confidence to express my ideas pertaining to a micro-credential that gives college graduates help toward finding their first job after graduating. I am excited and hopeful for the future of SPEC.
– Bethany Patterson