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

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Research By Topic

An unexpected error occurred while connecting to the Alfresco repository. Please contact the server administrator for assistance.

Search Resources:

Research Resources


[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
[photo - group membership]

Professor Frank Flynn describes how perceptions of “group membership” can influence whether others decide to help in emergency situations.   


Resource: News Article
[photo - Anat R Admati]

A finance professor says big banks need tougher capital regulations — for our sake, and for theirs.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Katherine Casey]

Research in Sierra Leone offers insights into how to help voters elect better leaders, dampen ethnic rivalries, and strengthen democracy.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Solar Power]

Report from Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance outlines four scenarios for industry “glocalization."

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
[photo - group membership]

Professor Frank Flynn describes how perceptions of “group membership” can influence whether others decide to help in emergency situations.   


Resource: News Article
[photo - Anat R Admati]

A finance professor says big banks need tougher capital regulations — for our sake, and for theirs.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Katherine Casey]

Research in Sierra Leone offers insights into how to help voters elect better leaders, dampen ethnic rivalries, and strengthen democracy.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Solar Power]

Report from Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance outlines four scenarios for industry “glocalization."

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

The time is now for foundations, large and small, to engage in public policy.

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

Living Cities is working with five US municipalities to develop an ecosystem for solving urban problems.

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

Two venture capitalists and an entrepreneur discuss the challenges and opportunities that innovators confront as they seek to improve health care.

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

KaBOOM! How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play by Darell Hammond

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

Social investors are experimenting with a profusion of creative funding mechanisms to help innovators sustain health-improving approaches and to achieve greater impact.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

There are two kinds of philanthropy products: financial products and information products.  They used to be bundled together, in the form of foundation staff, personal advisors, or community foundation program officers.  In the early 1990s the advent of national donor advised funds showed that a huge market existed for unbundled products.  The market worked, but now we are seeing another change in philanthropic giving due to the rise of the internet.

Resource: Blog Post

The Global Impact Investment Initiative (GIIN) is an important, but still forming, coalition of investors who focus on both social and environmental impact as well as financial return.  GIIN wants to have a positive impact on poverty, economic justice and a sustainable environment. That means it needs to counter the exclusive nature of its innate and valuable club and be sure to include the voices and the perspectives of all; it has to be inclusive. 

Resource: Blog Post

Women and giving circles are playing an increasingly influential role in the charitable marketplace.  Women are shaping the future of charitable giving, while giving circles are making a bigger impact in giving.  Those are the conclusions of two new studies that suggest nonprofits should be investing more in getting to know and engaging women and givers who pool and give away charitable funds through donor circles.

Resource: Blog Post

In a recent Harvard Business School working paper titled Goals Gone Wild, the authors make the case that setting goals can be counterproductive.  The gist of the article is that when you set a goal, you tend to pursue it at the expense of everything else. This can be a good thing if the goal is very well defined and captures the core of what you are trying to achieve. But it can also literally blind you to other important things.

Resource: Blog Post

Nonprofits need to be careful not to betray what makes them essential to a healthy democracy and civic marketplace. The job of nonprofits is to take on social and global problems and make our communities better places to live and work. To do that, nonprofits need to deliver effective services, find innovative ways to address both the symptoms and causes of problems, and ride hard on government lawmakers and policymakers. But nonprofits should be careful that in chasing government money and access to power they do not devolve from entrepreneurial watchdogs into lazy and dependent lapdogs.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Benjamin Cohen]

Globally, 700 million people do not have access to a reliable water source. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CEO of TOHL, Benjamin Cohen, discusses how he and his team are improving the quantity and quality of water for people in need. TOHL designs, engineers, constructs, operates, and maintains both conventional and mobile water systems to reach its goal of bringing clean water to those who need it most, in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jorge Camil Starr]

Correcting education disparity is a prevalent global focus. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CDO of ENOVA, Jorge Camil Starr, discusses his entrepreneurial success in improving the educational sphere in Mexico. Jorge and the rest of the ENOVA team are working to bring education technology to low-income communities and equip them with the tools they need to thrive in the knowledge society.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Michelle Kreger]

A small stove is combating the big issues of gender inequality, physical and sexual violence, and the harmful effects toxic emissions. In this audio interview, the founder of Potential Energy, Michelle Kreger, discusses her social venture, which brings energy-efficient stoves to the people who need them most. In the interview, she explains the goal of the cook stove in minimizing the need for firewood and why this invention generates so much social benefit.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Lieselotte Heederik]

The Nazava Water Filters team sees clean water as a basic right, not a privilege. In this audio interview, the co-founder of Nazava Water Filters, Lieselotte Heederik, discusses her company’s impact on Indonesia by creating appliances to purify water at the household level. Nazava Water Filters provides the most affordable and safest household water filters in Indonesia, which enables families to access clean drinking water without the need to boil water or use electricity. This consequently improves health, increases disposable income and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Carl Bass]

Social enterprise is scaling up through digital design. In this audio lecture, Carl Bass, President and CEO of Autodesk, discusses at Social Innovation Summit 2013 the application of design to solve social problems. Bass describes how the availability of infinite computing capacity combined with people's willingness to share their knowledge of how to make things advances social entrepreneurship for everyone's betterment, and he shares examples of creative small businesses that advance social enterprise through innovation.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Hau Lee: Value Chain Innovation in Developing Economies]

Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.

Resource: Video
[Video-‪John Roberts: Does Working from Home Work?‬]

 

An interview with Professor John Roberts about his study results on the efficacy of working from home.

Resource: Video
[Video-Al Gore: Leaders Must Supply Vision, Values & Goals]

The Stanford Graduate School of Business View from the Top Series hosted former Vice President Al Gore where he spoke to over 600 students on leadership, solutions for the climate crisis, and sustainable capitalism.

Resource: Video
[Video-Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspectives from California]

California, the ninth largest economy in the world, recently launched a new carbon cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, leads this program that could provide a model to support other regional or national efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Video
[Video-US-wide Carbon Policy: Two MBAs' Perspectives]

As part of the annual Conradin Von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment, Mike Volpe, MBA '13, and Jake Saper, MBA '14, lay out an argument for a US-wide carbon policy.

Resource: Video
[photo - Robert Swan]

As he recounts his journey of walking from pole to pole, Robert Swan inspires listeners to push themselves past their limits. Robert Swan, founder of 2041 and the first man to walk to both the North Pole and the South Pole, discusses the importance of a positive outlook and of commitment in achieving a goal. He urges his audience to pursue what they are passionate about with boldness, and that this boldness, in turn, will inspire those around them.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Benjamin Cohen]

Globally, 700 million people do not have access to a reliable water source. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CEO of TOHL, Benjamin Cohen, discusses how he and his team are improving the quantity and quality of water for people in need. TOHL designs, engineers, constructs, operates, and maintains both conventional and mobile water systems to reach its goal of bringing clean water to those who need it most, in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jorge Camil Starr]

Correcting education disparity is a prevalent global focus. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CDO of ENOVA, Jorge Camil Starr, discusses his entrepreneurial success in improving the educational sphere in Mexico. Jorge and the rest of the ENOVA team are working to bring education technology to low-income communities and equip them with the tools they need to thrive in the knowledge society.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Lieselotte Heederik]

The Nazava Water Filters team sees clean water as a basic right, not a privilege. In this audio interview, the co-founder of Nazava Water Filters, Lieselotte Heederik, discusses her company’s impact on Indonesia by creating appliances to purify water at the household level. Nazava Water Filters provides the most affordable and safest household water filters in Indonesia, which enables families to access clean drinking water without the need to boil water or use electricity. This consequently improves health, increases disposable income and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Michelle Kreger]

A small stove is combating the big issues of gender inequality, physical and sexual violence, and the harmful effects toxic emissions. In this audio interview, the founder of Potential Energy, Michelle Kreger, discusses her social venture, which brings energy-efficient stoves to the people who need them most. In the interview, she explains the goal of the cook stove in minimizing the need for firewood and why this invention generates so much social benefit.

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
[photo - Phoenix]

Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India. When leaders from a multinational medical equipment company approached Phoenix about a licensing deal, its founder was enthusiastic about expanding the reach of the organization. Phoenix entered into a two-year contract that allowed the multinational to use its established distribution channels to sell all of the products in the Phoenix portfolio, under the Phoenix brand name, exclusively in the Indian market. Although the partnership showed great promise, unfortunately it did not turn out to be as fruitful as initially hoped. This mini-case study describes some of the challenges Phoenix faced with its new partner and how the company responded.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefan J. Reichelstein]

In 2010, REI considered adding photovaltaic solar panels to the roofs of some of its facilities for both financial and environmental considerations. This case discusses the company's experience with solar power generation as well as providing representative assumptions for parameters in the financial analysis.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Mulago Foundation]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. When it comes to making investments, one of the most important aspects of the Mulago approach is the ability of the organization to have a measurable impact. Mulago needed to develop an approach to the measurement of impact that was simple enough for an early-state, resource-constrained, organization to carry out. This mini-case study describes the five-step framework that the Foundation developed.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Mulago II]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. Concentrated in rural settings in developing countries, the foundation's work is in four areas that contribute to this overarching goal. The Foundation explicitly seeks to get involved with early-stage entities in these targeted areas so that it can grow with the organizations it supports. However, one challenge of getting involved with early-stage enterprises is that they sometimes focus too narrowly on the product rather than the capacity of management and development. This case study explores how Mulago Foundation evaluates prospective investments and the factors it considers before coming funds to projects and organizations.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Mulago Foundation]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. The Mulago team looks for investment opportunities in promising products and services that address these high-priority problems. In evaluating potential investments, the Mulago Foundation has observed how many global health innovators grapple with the choice between establishing their organizations as nonprofit or for-profit entities. This case studies Mulago Foundation's experience in the global health field and raises issues that innovators should consider as they evaluate their legal and capital structure. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PSI]

Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. Over the years, PSI broadened its mission to address family planning, child and maternal health, and HIV and AIDS prevention, screening, and treatment.  PSI opened an office in Lesotho and in 2010, a donor provided PSI/Lesotho with “a warehouse full” of female condoms (FCs) that the organization could use to help young women in the area protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The challenge for the team was to figure out how to effectively distribute and promote the FCs since early versions of the female condom were notoriously unpopular.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

 

In 2007 a group of eight friends wanted to give. With so many charities out there, the friends wanted dot know which ones were doing the most good. This case covered the history of GiveWEll—a nonprofit dedicated to bringing greater and transparency to the world of philanthropy—and the evolution of its research methodology and philosophy for identifying outstanding charities.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Inspire]

Globally, pneumonia kills more children than any other illness. In developed countries, pneumonia and other acute respiratory conditions are treated via mechanical ventilators. In resource-constrained settings, however, ventilators are often not available because of their high cost. An approach has been used successfully, although not considered standard of care, is bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAPs are low-cost and effective, but require oxygen tanks, which are expensive to transport to rural regions. in 2011, a team of Stanford students set out to design a  machine that would create the pressurized air of bubble CPAP without the cost, burden, and safety concerns with using oxygen tanks. This case explores the factors that the Inspire team members evaluated in deciding whether or not to take their prototype into development. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Respira]

To Help Address the burden of childhood asthma in developing countries, Respira Design created an asthma spacer that was produced from a single sheet of paper. The device could ship and store flat and then be transformed into a usable spacer through a series of cuts and folds. However, as a medical device, it was necessary to test the extent to which it impacted the delivery of medication and how many uses each spacer could sustain. The team also needed to study the circumstances in which the device would perform successfully. This case examines how Respira address these issues.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

This case described the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in Egypt during the tumultuous political environment following the Arab Spring and the country’s first democratic elections. The case focuses in particular on Citadel’s approach to investment exits and liquidation in order to realize value for investors.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Hau Lee]

Before opening its first store in India in 1996, McDonald’s spent six years building its supply chain. During that time, the company worked to successfully source as many ingredients as possible from India. However, French fries (“MacFries”) were a particularly tough product to source locally.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Glenn Carroll]

The case discusses Nike’s sustainability and labor practices from 1998 to 2013, focusing on the successful steps Nike took up and down the supply chain and in its headquarters to make its products and processes more environmentally friendly, and the challenges and complexities it was still facing in its efforts to improve labor conditions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PATH]

In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant form the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to evaluate how market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) products among the world's poor. One key factor to consider in constructing its pilot studies was the affordability of HWTS products. This case study describes PATH's efforts to use consumer financing as a mechanism for making HWTS produce and supplies more accessible to its target market. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - CycleBeads]

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researches at the University of Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for a intuitive, natural contraception method that could meet the needs of families that chose not to use medical or surgical alternatives. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM), a family planning system, and CycleBeads. Despite some reservations related to traditional values, IRH seized the opportunity to roll out sDM and CycleBeads in Mali, West Africa. Unfortunately, the initial launch did not go well and had trouble establishing effective delivery and support for the product. This case looks at how IRH adapted its approach to facilitate more effective implementation of CycleBeads across Mali. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - d.light]

d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy a brighter future. When members of d.light moved to India to set up distribution of their product, the team quickly discovered would not be as easy as they hoped. They discovered it would be difficult to convince consumers to invest in a d.light product as the market was saturated with low-quality, solar-based lighting products. Distribution posed another challenge. This mini-case study evaluates the strategy d.light adopted to differentiate the company and establish its products as credible and trustworthy to earn the acceptance of consumers and distributors. 

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo - U.S. Capitol building]

Does partisan conflict damage citizens’ perceptions of Congress? If so, why has polarization increased in Congress since the 1970s?

Resource: Research Paper

Elections sometimes give policy makers incentives to pander — to implement policies that voters think are in their best interest even though the policy maker knows they are not, says Professor Kenneth Shotts. In general, an effective media reduces this tendency to pander, "but there are some exceptions to this general rule."

Resource: Research Paper

When it comes to gift giving, most people are simply not paying enough attention to what others want says Professor Frank Flynn. They miss the boat by ignoring direct requests, wrongly assuming that going a different route will be seen as more thoughtful than something the recipient specifically requested.

Resource: Research Paper

Individuals in roles that possess power but lack status have a tendency to engage in activities that demean others, according to new research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, USC, and the Kellogg School.

Resource: Research Paper

Young companies trying to enter parts of the health care industry by focusing on helping patients stay healthy and allowing safety net providers to use their resources have a hard time attracting venture capital funds that focus more on traditional profit. A recent article by two Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers argues that it's time to change this pattern. 

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
[photo - Jane Wei]

This course explores the challenges and opportunities related to social entrepreneurship. Students study nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid organizational forms, and examine issues from a variety of perspectives, including that of entrepreneur, CEO, funder, and board member.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Scott McLennan]

This course uses novels and plays as a basis for examining the moral and spiritual aspects of business leadership and of the business environment. The literature covered illuminates the character of business people and the cultural contexts of values and beliefs in which commercial activities take place in a global economy.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Lawrence Wein]

This course covers a variety of topics in homeland security. Among them are bioterrorism, influenza pandemics, nuclear security at ports and around cities, the biometric aspects of the U.S. VISIT program, the intersection of homeland security and immigration, and suicide bombings.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Designed for students with strong modeling/optimization/simulation skills, this course allocates more time to environmental and energy science and its implications for management and policy, and less time to the basics of modeling/optimization/simulation. Students apply spreadsheet modeling, optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation to resource management and environmental policy.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

This course explores the fundamental science of ecosystems, climate, and energy. Students learn to apply spreadsheet modeling, optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation to resource management and environmental policy.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Katie Hill]

A Stanford GSB student looks at the value of renewable energy in the developing world. 

Resource: Student
[photo - BAPAR]

It was the suicide of a young man that turned Vivek Garg toward using business as a means of fostering peace and reconciliation.

Resource: Student
[photo - Jeff Skoll]

The March/April edition of Stanford magazine features a profile of alumnus Jeff Skoll, one of only 20 people who've ever given away $1 billion. He hopes to engage everyone in the planet's survival by leveraging the power of Hollywood.

 

Resource: Alumni

Ernie Ting helps voters find relevant information to become more engaged in our democracy with the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.

Resource: Alumni

The lessons and skills Steve Zuckerman acquired throughout his career were perfect preparation for his current work building Self-Help Federal Credit Union into a state-wide financial institution designed to responsibly serve low-income families and communities in California.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Robert Swan]

As he recounts his journey of walking from pole to pole, Robert Swan inspires listeners to push themselves past their limits. Robert Swan, founder of 2041 and the first man to walk to both the North Pole and the South Pole, discusses the importance of a positive outlook and of commitment in achieving a goal. He urges his audience to pursue what they are passionate about with boldness, and that this boldness, in turn, will inspire those around them.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Benjamin Cohen]

Globally, 700 million people do not have access to a reliable water source. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CEO of TOHL, Benjamin Cohen, discusses how he and his team are improving the quantity and quality of water for people in need. TOHL designs, engineers, constructs, operates, and maintains both conventional and mobile water systems to reach its goal of bringing clean water to those who need it most, in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jorge Camil Starr]

Correcting education disparity is a prevalent global focus. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CDO of ENOVA, Jorge Camil Starr, discusses his entrepreneurial success in improving the educational sphere in Mexico. Jorge and the rest of the ENOVA team are working to bring education technology to low-income communities and equip them with the tools they need to thrive in the knowledge society.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Lieselotte Heederik]

The Nazava Water Filters team sees clean water as a basic right, not a privilege. In this audio interview, the co-founder of Nazava Water Filters, Lieselotte Heederik, discusses her company’s impact on Indonesia by creating appliances to purify water at the household level. Nazava Water Filters provides the most affordable and safest household water filters in Indonesia, which enables families to access clean drinking water without the need to boil water or use electricity. This consequently improves health, increases disposable income and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Michelle Kreger]

A small stove is combating the big issues of gender inequality, physical and sexual violence, and the harmful effects toxic emissions. In this audio interview, the founder of Potential Energy, Michelle Kreger, discusses her social venture, which brings energy-efficient stoves to the people who need them most. In the interview, she explains the goal of the cook stove in minimizing the need for firewood and why this invention generates so much social benefit.

Resource: Audio
Corner