Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Research By Topic

Search Resources:

Research Resources


[photo - New Technology]

For a d.School course called “Design for Extreme Affordability,” Jane Chen and three of her classmates developed a low-cost baby incubator tailored to the needs of the developing world. That incubator—a reusable heating pouch—became the Embrace Infant Warmer, and ultimately launched Embrace and Embrace Innovations, a joint social enterprise promoting child and maternal health across the globe. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Jake Harriman]

Jake Harriman,'08, explains how rejecting conventional wisdom about financing a nonprofit helped him turn his vision into a real intervention.

Resource: News Article
[photo - What Makes a Happy vs. Meaningful Life?]

Professor Frank Flynn looks at the difference between “happiness” and “meaning” in life –– and how these two concepts relate to being prosocial.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Businesses Impact Social Policy]

New research explores the impact of gay-owned businesses on anti-discrimination laws.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Joshua Rauh]

The symposium was the culmination of massive open online course about retirement and pensions.

Resource: News Article
[photo - New Technology]

For a d.School course called “Design for Extreme Affordability,” Jane Chen and three of her classmates developed a low-cost baby incubator tailored to the needs of the developing world. That incubator—a reusable heating pouch—became the Embrace Infant Warmer, and ultimately launched Embrace and Embrace Innovations, a joint social enterprise promoting child and maternal health across the globe. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Jake Harriman]

Jake Harriman,'08, explains how rejecting conventional wisdom about financing a nonprofit helped him turn his vision into a real intervention.

Resource: News Article
[photo - What Makes a Happy vs. Meaningful Life?]

Professor Frank Flynn looks at the difference between “happiness” and “meaning” in life –– and how these two concepts relate to being prosocial.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Joshua Rauh]

The symposium was the culmination of massive open online course about retirement and pensions.

Resource: News Article
[photo - AP photo by Bradley C Bower]

Game theory shows why "discretionary" spending programs lead to more self-interested behavior by politicians than "mandatory" spending programs.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

By mapping a company’s relationship to the economy in which it operates—and by leveraging the relationships it discovers in that process—businesses can do much to advance their strategic objectives and advance local economic growth.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

The CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation and the managing director of Versant Ventures provide an introduction to innovations for better health care at lower cost.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Lending circles, self-help groups, and study circles are all examples of one of the oldest and most effective tools for creating personal and social change. Leveraging the potential of Circles requires a clear understanding of what they are and how they work.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

POOR ECONOMICS: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Most health advocacy organizations do not report industry funding.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Many nonprofits may be reluctant to play an advocacy role because they believe they lack the resources or know-how, or because they fear they might put their foundation, corporate or public funding at risk.  But advocacy work can make a big difference in shaping the public policies that affect nonprofits and their clients.  Recent research shows investment in nonprofit advocacy and community organizing yields a big return in benefits for underrepresented constituencies.

Resource: Blog Post

Mario Morino, chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners, opines that nothing is more important for the long-term strength of our nation than driving greater levels of innovation across and between all sectors of our economy—for-profit, nonprofit, and public.  Expounding on an colleague's anecdote that innovation is like a coral reef, Morino connects the metaphor to the dot.com boom in Silicon Valley as an example of a healthy innovation ecosystem.  The solution for long-term social and economic success in America lies in a national strategy of combined efforts across all regions, disciplines and walks of life—similar to the combined efforts needed to create a coral reef.

Resource: Blog Post

Fundraising professionals play instrumental roles at nonprofit organizations but get less pay and support than they need and deserve.  The way a charity’s fundraising staff treats donors is more important than any other factor in determining whether givers give to a particular charity, according to Adrian Sargeant, Robert F. Hartsook Professor of Fundraising at the Center on Philanthropy.  So if they expect to be more successful in their fundraising, nonprofits will need to increase their investment in fundraising, particularly in paying and supporting the work of their fundraisers and closing the pay gap between men and women.

Resource: Blog Post

“For social benefit organizations to truly “work” we all need to be part of the design, the process, the success.” -Hildy Gottlieb

Resource: Blog Post

“Merge Minnesota: Nonprofit Merger as an Opportunity for Survival and Growth” published by MAP for Nonprofits proves a useful source of information about the merging process of nonprofits. 

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Kathleen Shaver]

In developing countries, factory workers and farmers don’t have a confidential way to communicate with companies that sell what they produce, and companies don’t have information about their working conditions. A mobile platform called Labor Link uses mobile phones to collect and disseminate information among all parties. In this university podcast, executives share lessons learned from piloting the platform at Cisco in order to capture real-time data from their supply chain in Asia.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Craig Moss]

Despite the growing importance of intellectual property (IP) to companies, IP is still commonly controlled by the legal department. In this university podcast, experts discuss the value of basing IP protection on a holistic approach that targets social, environmental, and ethical responsibility throughout the supply chain.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Yoruba Richen]

Award winning director and producer Yoruba Richen describes her use of social enterprise to examine LGBT issues in her documentary film, The New Black. In this audio interview, Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, talks with Richen about the convergence of the LGBT and Civil Rights movements, and the impact of her documentary. Breslin and Richen discuss how communities are coming to terms with the seeming conflict between equal rights, civil rights, and religion.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Liba Rubenstein]

As both an open publishing platform and a social media site, Tumblr allows content creators to not only host and share, but also have access to an engaged network of users. Liba Rubenstein, Tumblr’s director of social impact and policy, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how Tumblr’s versatile platform can help non-profits tell powerful stories, catalyze engagement and drive measurable impact.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Meg Garlinghouse]

As nonprofits look to grow their professional base and public community, LinkedIn provides a valuable platform for nonprofits to find and reach the right quality of board members and skilled volunteers. Meg Garlinghouse, head of LinkedIn for Good, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how nonprofits can best leverage LinkedIn’s features and platform to further their causes.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Does Impact Investing Really Have Impact?]

Impact investing: is it actually investing? Or is it venture philanthropy by another name?

Resource: Video
[Video-Leadership in the War Against Extreme Poverty]

Stanford GSB alum ('08) founded Nuru International to maximize local leadership to drive sustainable change.

Resource: Video
[Video-Unleashing Green Chemistry: A Societal Need and Business Opportunity]

A panel on the the importance of mainstreaming and investing in green chemistry for the future of energy and the environment.

Resource: Video
[Video-Jane Chen: Crazy Enough to Change the World?]

Jane Chen (MBA '08) shares her journey to success in tackling one of the world's pressing issues -- low birth rates of premature babies around the world.

Resource: Video
[Video-Robert Sutton: Scaling Up Excellence]

Professor Sutton discusses a challenge that determines every organization’s success: scaling up farther, faster, and more effectively as a program or an organization creates a larger footprint.

Resource: Video
[photo - Kathleen Shaver]

In developing countries, factory workers and farmers don’t have a confidential way to communicate with companies that sell what they produce, and companies don’t have information about their working conditions. A mobile platform called Labor Link uses mobile phones to collect and disseminate information among all parties. In this university podcast, executives share lessons learned from piloting the platform at Cisco in order to capture real-time data from their supply chain in Asia.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Craig Moss]

Despite the growing importance of intellectual property (IP) to companies, IP is still commonly controlled by the legal department. In this university podcast, experts discuss the value of basing IP protection on a holistic approach that targets social, environmental, and ethical responsibility throughout the supply chain.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Yoruba Richen]

Award winning director and producer Yoruba Richen describes her use of social enterprise to examine LGBT issues in her documentary film, The New Black. In this audio interview, Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, talks with Richen about the convergence of the LGBT and Civil Rights movements, and the impact of her documentary. Breslin and Richen discuss how communities are coming to terms with the seeming conflict between equal rights, civil rights, and religion.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Liba Rubenstein]

As both an open publishing platform and a social media site, Tumblr allows content creators to not only host and share, but also have access to an engaged network of users. Liba Rubenstein, Tumblr’s director of social impact and policy, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how Tumblr’s versatile platform can help non-profits tell powerful stories, catalyze engagement and drive measurable impact.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Meg Garlinghouse]

As nonprofits look to grow their professional base and public community, LinkedIn provides a valuable platform for nonprofits to find and reach the right quality of board members and skilled volunteers. Meg Garlinghouse, head of LinkedIn for Good, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how nonprofits can best leverage LinkedIn’s features and platform to further their causes.

Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases

Commissioned by KaBOOM! and authored by Katherine Fulton and alumna Heather McLeod Grant of the Monitor Institute, this case study looks at the challenges KaBOOM! faced and lessons the organization learned while pioneering an online strategy to scale its impact. This strategy involves giving away the nonprofit model online for free to empower others to act on KaBoom's behalf.

Resource: Practitioner Case

This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project—a five-year effort launched in late 2006 with $17 million in funding from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project—a five-year effort launched in late 2006 with $17 million in funding from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the team’s primary objectives was to investigate sales and distribution challenges in this space. By conducting a portfolio of field-based pilots, the team hoped to test different models for improving customer access to these safe water products in an effort to identify scalable, sustainable, and replicable solutions. Although specific results varied across the pilots, which spanned India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Kenya, they collectively gave rise to series of important sales and distribution insights.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project. One of the key objectives of this effort was to explore how the private sector could help make HWTS products more affordable. By conducting a portfolio of field-based pilots in collaboration with commercial partners, the PATH team sought to better understand the effect of different pricing, consumer financing, and subsidy models on demand within low-income population in developing countries. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project—a five-year effort launched in late 2006 with $17 million in funding from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to evaluate to what extent market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage products by low-income populations.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura Arrillaga]

Arrillaga created Silicon Valley Social Venture ("SV2") in partnership with Community Foundation Silicon Valley (“CFSV”), a nationally recognized public foundation that had experience working with individual donors and had established credibility within the philanthropic field. Arrillaga formed SV2 as a donor-advised fund to ensure that CFSV staff would help guide SV2 partners leverage their expertise and funding to select high-performing community organizations, thus generating the greatest social impact. 

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo - Ask for help]

How can a certain kind of behavior actually contributes to inequalities? Specifically, do children’s social-class backgrounds affect when and how they seek help in the classroom, thereby teasing out children’s own role in educational stratification? We consider how teachers may use such information to correct these dynamics, and thus contribute to more equal access for all children at school.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Flu Shot Reminder on Calendar]

Seasonal influenza leads to >200,000 hospitalizations and >8,000 deaths in the United States each year. The influenza vaccine is widely available at low cost and reduces mortality, morbidity, and healthcare costs. Nevertheless, many of those for whom vaccination is indicated fail to comply with CDC recommendations for vaccination. If low compliance is the result of careful calculations by individuals weighing the costs and benefits of vaccination, it may be difficult and expensive for policymakers and organizational leaders to increase vaccination rates. However, if low compliance is the result of forgetfulness or procrastination, low-cost interventions that use psychological tools may be effective at increasing vaccination rates and improving public health.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Collaborative Filtering of Medication Lists]

Evidence suggests that the medication lists of patients are often incomplete and could negatively affect patient outcomes. By predicting drugs the patient could be taking, collaborative filtering can be a valuable tool for reconciling medication lists.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Medical Expenses on tax form]

Workers who earn just below the Social Security tax threshold receive a larger tax preference for health insurance than workers who earn just above it.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - vertical integration & Medicare Reimbursement]

Health care providers may vertically integrate not only to facilitate coordination of care, but also for strategic reasons that may not be in patients’ best interests.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All

The two-quarter Elective Course series provides lectures from a diverse group of faculty that expose students to the practical aspects of technology invention and development. The class features a presentation or discussion from one of the guest speakers or faculty. Students work in small project teams in the Biodesign prototyping lab or bench space, collaborating with the fellows of the program.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jennifer Aaker]

The goal of this seminar is to investigate how social technology (e.g., blogs, websites, podcasts, widgets, community groups, social network feeds) can change attitudes and behaviors in ways that cultivate social change. We study the strategies and tactics used by companies and causes that have successfully catalyzed social persuasion.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Robert Burgelman]

This seminar helps participants develop strategically informed action plans that are imaginative, inspiring, and workable in highly dynamic environments. Through informed debate and the writing and presentation of position papers, participants evaluate and hone their views on the seminar's critical themes.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Rick Aubry]

This course focuses on the efforts of private citizens to create effective responses to social needs and innovative solutions to social problems. It equips students with frameworks and tools that will help them be more effective as a social entrepreneur.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - William Meehan]

This course surveys strategic, governance, and management issues facing a wide range of nonprofit organizations in an era of venture philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. It introduces students to core managerial issues in the nonprofit sector, such as development/fundraising, investment management, performance management and nonprofit finance.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Kate Surman]

Kate Surman, MBA '04, Administrative Director of Strategic Operations, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, discusses how she has leveraged the Public Management and Social Innovation certificate to take her career into a new direction.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Farm to Cup - Root Capital Lending]

A grassroots student effort led by Caroline Mullen, MBA ’12, Catha Mullen, MBA ’13, and Monica Lewis, MBA ’12, now has even more impact through a merger with Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Robyn Beavers]

Leading a Social Innovation Study Trip lands Robyn Beavers, MBA '10, in a new industry.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jeremy Sokulsky]

Jeremy Sokulsky, MBA '04, President, Environmental Incentives, discusses how he's drawing upon the tools and training he received from the GSB to help make a difference.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Ashanthi Mathai]

Vision care is something that is practically taken for granted in the United States, but that’s not the case throughout much of the world. Some 300 million around the globe suffer from correctable vision loss, leading, as Ashanthi Mathai, MBA '04, says, “to people accepting their vision impairment and adjusting their lives around it.” The result? A lower quality of life, restricted job options, and even further economic distress.


 

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Kathleen Shaver]

In developing countries, factory workers and farmers don’t have a confidential way to communicate with companies that sell what they produce, and companies don’t have information about their working conditions. A mobile platform called Labor Link uses mobile phones to collect and disseminate information among all parties. In this university podcast, executives share lessons learned from piloting the platform at Cisco in order to capture real-time data from their supply chain in Asia.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Craig Moss]

Despite the growing importance of intellectual property (IP) to companies, IP is still commonly controlled by the legal department. In this university podcast, experts discuss the value of basing IP protection on a holistic approach that targets social, environmental, and ethical responsibility throughout the supply chain.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Yoruba Richen]

Award winning director and producer Yoruba Richen describes her use of social enterprise to examine LGBT issues in her documentary film, The New Black. In this audio interview, Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, talks with Richen about the convergence of the LGBT and Civil Rights movements, and the impact of her documentary. Breslin and Richen discuss how communities are coming to terms with the seeming conflict between equal rights, civil rights, and religion.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Liba Rubenstein]

As both an open publishing platform and a social media site, Tumblr allows content creators to not only host and share, but also have access to an engaged network of users. Liba Rubenstein, Tumblr’s director of social impact and policy, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how Tumblr’s versatile platform can help non-profits tell powerful stories, catalyze engagement and drive measurable impact.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Meg Garlinghouse]

As nonprofits look to grow their professional base and public community, LinkedIn provides a valuable platform for nonprofits to find and reach the right quality of board members and skilled volunteers. Meg Garlinghouse, head of LinkedIn for Good, talks at Social Media on Purpose 2014 about how nonprofits can best leverage LinkedIn’s features and platform to further their causes.

Resource: Audio
Corner