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Social Innovation

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[photo - Economic Impact]

A study by faculty members Charles Eesley and William Miller determined that companies founded by the university's alumni generate trillions in annual revenue and have created 5.4 million jobs.

Resource: News Article
[photo - working from home]

New research says working from home boosts employee happiness and productivity.

Resource: News Article
[photo - why peace can pay]

An economist shows how financial innovation can help reduce ethnic violence.

Resource: News Article

A startup helps school-based instructors of math and English team up with digital teachers.

Resource: News Article

Adapting a sophisticated climate model, researchers show that there is plenty of wind available to supply half to several times the world's total energy needs within the next two decades.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Economic Impact]

A study by faculty members Charles Eesley and William Miller determined that companies founded by the university's alumni generate trillions in annual revenue and have created 5.4 million jobs.

Resource: News Article
[photo - working from home]

New research says working from home boosts employee happiness and productivity.

Resource: News Article
[photo - why peace can pay]

An economist shows how financial innovation can help reduce ethnic violence.

Resource: News Article

A startup helps school-based instructors of math and English team up with digital teachers.

Resource: News Article

Adapting a sophisticated climate model, researchers show that there is plenty of wind available to supply half to several times the world's total energy needs within the next two decades.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

The political process is chaotic and often takes years to unfold, making it difficult to use traditional measures to evaluate the effectiveness of advocacy organizations. There are, however, unconventional methods one can use to evaluate advocacy organizations and make strategic investments in that arena.

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

Venture into a Panera Cares café and you’ll see the same menu and racks of freshly baked breads that are staples at the 1,400 Panera Bread restaurants across the United States. The only thing missing is the cash register. Instead, there’s a donation box where customers pay on the honor system.

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

Unless clean tech follows well-established rules of innovation and commercialization, the industry’s promise to provide sustainable sources of energy will fail.

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

A European perspective on American civil society. A quick glance at the latest thinking about not-for-profit management and philanthropy reveals some profound differences between the ways American and European practitioners look at today’s major societal challenges.

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

Foundations often undermine their own efforts by micromanaging how social problems are solved. Two insiders explore why foundations have developed this way and what grant makers can do to foster high impact strategies.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

The author poses the question whether or not there really is a difference between religious organizations taking x percent of a donation for their church and a nonprofit taking money out for operating costs. 

Resource: Blog Post

“We’ve got to stop using the word ‘minorities’ to describe the communities we serve. It doesn’t have any value. It never has."- the author

Resource: Blog Post

Heed President Obama’s call to service and take action. 

Resource: Blog Post

The author breaks down how public funding of the arts should be put towards performance, exhibition, and education leaving the artists and their creative process to private patronage. 

Resource: Blog Post

“To survive the deepening financial crisis, nonprofits must work harder than ever to earn and keep the trust of their givers."- the author

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Dean Jansen]

How can nonprofit and crowdsourcing experts collaborate to make media more accessible? In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman talks to Dean Jansen, co-Founder of Universal Subtitles, a volunteer platform for doing collaborative subtitling and translation of videos. As the winner of The Tech Awards 2011 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award, Jansen discussed Universal Subtitles' current challenges and future potential in leveraging internet volunteerism.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Melissa Bradley]

Melissa Bradley, CEO of Tides, explores how partnerships between for-profit and nonprofit organizations--and everything in between--can increase scale and impact. In this audio lecture, recorded at the Stanford Social Innovation Review's 2011 Nonprofit Management Institute, Bradley discusses the current landscape of the social sector, and what scale and impact really mean. She also shares case studies of successful partnerships and the "top ten" lessons we can draw from collaborations.

Resource: Audio

Entrepreneurs who have gone from concept to commercialization share their experiences with breakthroughs in medical science and technology that have transformed healthcare delivery across the care continuum -- providing patients with less invasive procedures, reduced recovery times, and lower costs. Paul Yock, Professor of Medicine and Founding Co-Chair of Stanford's Program in Biodesign, leads this interactive discussion on medical device innovation at the 2011 Stanford Graduate School of Business Healthcare Summit.

Resource: Audio
[photo - John Capek]
John Capek, Executive Vice President of Medical Devices at Abbott Labs, puts into context the impact of healthcare reform, on a global basis, on the delivery of technologies. His talk maintains a special focus on medical devices as he discusses the major trends that affect how Abbott considers technologies as they are brought into the market, and how companies in the healthcare sector are dealing with the current turbulent times.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Katherine Perkins]
Resource: Audio
[Video-Investing in Green Tech]

Kleiner Perkins is greening its portfolio with an alternative energy fund.

Resource: Video
[Video-What It Takes to Be a Remarkable Leader: John Doerr, Venture Capitalist]

What are the ingredients for great leadership and entrepreneurship today?

Resource: Video
[Video-New Biodesign Book Tackles Innovation: Prof. Stefanos Zenios]

Q&A with Stefano Zenios on his new book, Biodesign: The Process of Innovating Medical Technologies.

Resource: Video
[Video-Networking Is More Than Lots of Names, Says Heidi Roizen]

"Credibility and power don't necessarily translate into a different world," says Heidi Roizen. Sometimes entrepreneurs need to learn new skills to transfter success to another sector.

Resource: Video
[Video-Keeping Talent on Road to Success-Panel]

How can major companies keep senior women in the workforce?

Resource: Video

In just over 3 years RISE has become a leading provider of children's English language learning services in China, and has built a significant share of the children's English-language learning market. In this Stanford university podcast, Justin Cahill shares how his organization challenged conventions and disrupted the Chinese market to create this unique enterprise. He spoke at the Global Education Conference at Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Peje Emilsson]

How does a country best go about developing radical innovation in a public school system? In Sweden, they have done it through Kunskapsskolan, a creative alternative to standard public schools that charges no fees to its students. In this audio lecture, Peje Emilsson, current chair of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, discusses the reasons for Kunskapsskolan's success both inside and outside of Sweden.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Todd Rogers]

Applying psychology to the realm of politics shows that giving voters a few strategic nudges can push far more people in the direction of polls on election day. In this university podcast, Todd Rogers, Harvard professor and founder of the political research organization Analyst Institute, shares research that shows how "get out the vote" calls can be far more effective in changing behavior when just a few subtle techniques are used. Rogers spoke at the Stanford Prosocial Briefing.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Leslie John]

Can monetary incentives get people to lose weight? Yes, at least in the short term, says Harvard business professor Leslie John in this university podcast. John reports on studies using lotteries and the threat of financial loss in getting people to slim their waistlines, an important step in improving health. She spoke at the Stanford Prosocial Briefing.

Resource: Audio
[Video-James Sweeney: A Sustainable Energy System]

James Sweeney, director of Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, discusses green cities at a Stanford GSB conference.

Resource: Video
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 - David P. Baron]

With Google's rapid international growth, came a number of nonmarket challenges including privacy issues in both the United States and European Union, the spectrum auction, intellectual property, corporate social responsibility, and business practices in China.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - David F. Larcker]

This case explores the various corporate governance systems that have been adopted in the United States and abroad. It examines issues of control, director and auditor independence, board structure, and more.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Garth  Saloner]

Equity Bank, a microfinance services provider, experienced a remarkable turnaround in the early 1990s. What strategy did the CEO pursue to accomplish such a feat?

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - David P. Baron]

Gilead Sciences designs a strategy for delivering an AIDS drug to developing nations in Africa. This first part of the case describes the organization's initial considerations.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - David P. Baron]

Gilead Sciences designs a strategy for delivering an AIDS drug to developing nations in Africa. This second part of the case explores the company’s experience with a distribution program.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Rick Aubry]

Two social ventures collaborated with each other to help expand one’s solar energy services from southern Brazil into the Amazon region. The case highlights the core factors that led to the project’s ultimate outcome.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - R. Bruce McKern]

A shipment of industrial products gets waylaid by customs in Thailand, with a charge of smuggling. When the project manager refuses to pay an extortionary fee and is reported to officials, the company manager must figure out how to defuse the situation.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Erica L. Plambeck]

Where in the ethanol value chain should Khosla Ventures consider investing? How should it get involved in strategic innovations? How should it leverage the non-market environment surrounding the ethanol value chain?

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Hau L. Lee]

Riders for Health is a U.K.-based nonprofit dedicated to the improvement of transportation systems for health workers in Africa. In 2007, after 11 years in existence, the organization was at a critical point and had to decide what strategies were necessary to expand.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Hau L. Lee]

Starbucks created a new program to support coffee farmers through a partnership with Conservation International. If Starbucks could overcome issues it faced with implementation of the program, the initiative could go a long way toward improving the sustainability of its coffee supply chain.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Diagnostics for the Real World]

Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) focuses on manufacturing and commercializing technologies that addresses the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it possible to conduct field-based screenings in remote, low-resource settings. DRW believed the CRTs were commercially attractive; however market introduction was met with stakeholder resistance and funder/consumer misalignment. This case explores the potential gap between the solution and market demand, as well as DRW's response.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DRW]

Diagnostics of  the Real World (DRW), a for-profit spinout from the Diagnostics Development Unit at the University of Cambridge, is focused on manufacturing and commercializing technologies created at the university that can help address the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it feasible to conduct field- based chlamydia screenings. The team discovered that although chlamydia was a significant global health concern, its as not necessarily a top priority for nongovernmental organizations. There was also no ready-make market or large-scale demand for the CRT in developing countries. The case study describes the multi-source funding strategy DRW devised to support its operations without losing sight of its mission. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DoseRight]

Traditional Borders (BTB), Rice 360°’s undergraduate program, challenges students to solve global health problems through real-world engineering design.  By pairing students with faculty, clinicians, and mentors in developing world, BTB teams had designed an impressive portfolio for effective, low-cost medical technologies. However, the temporary nature of student teams and specialized focus of these inventions proved difficult to realize these projects in the market to create consistent solutions. This mini-case study tells the story of of BTB began working with 3rd Stone Design, a design, strategy, and development consultancy, to accelerate progress on their project DosRight Syringe Clip out of the lab and into the market. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DoseRight]

When 3rd Stone Design, a product design, strategy, and development consultancy, licensed the DoseRight Syringe Clip out of the Rice University Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) program, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) had placed a preliminary order for 200,000 units. The DoseRight product was a simple plastic clip, inserted into the top portion of a standard oral syringe to facilitate the accurate pediatric dosing of liquid ARV medications in countries with widespread HIV/AIDs. However, 3rd Stone Design encountered problems when their prototype could not be manufactured in high volumes at an affordable price. This case study explores how 3rd Stone Design modified its product design to fulfill the CHAI order. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - JaipurFoot]

When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the JaipurFoot Organization's clinics across India, the students were eager to dive into the technical aspects of developing a product. However, they learned the organization already used an inexpensive joint that through research, discovered that associated emotional and psychological issues needed to be addressed in creating a better design. 

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All

A car rental agency includes insurance as a default unless you specifically decline it. Facebook sets off a firestorm when it displayed customer purchases by default. Defaults have strategic importance, so don’t let programmers or form designers make decisions on these important components. Effective defaults can effect customer satisfaction and even profits. If you expect most of your customers would prefer a basic product or service configuration, use a mass default such as online retailers offering standard shipping on orders. If you think customers would value options tailored to their preferences, use a personalized default. For example, if a returning hotel customer requested a nonsmoking room for his last visit, make a nonsmoking room the default for future stays.

Resource: Research Paper

Money changes people's motivations — increasing their sense of self sufficiency and even making them keep a greater physical distance from others. After focusing on money, individuals work longer before asking for help, are less helpful to others, and prefer to play and work alone.

Resource: Research Paper

If organizations want to raise money for a charitable cause, it is far better to appeal to the heart than to the head. Put another way, feelings, not analytical thinking, drive donations. People are most generous when asked to make a donation to an identifiable individual victim. The more statistical information about the general plight of a group of people similar to the individual victim, the less generous potential donors became. Many charities make the mistake of trying to appeal both to emotion and to reason in their fundraising appeals.

Resource: Research Paper

Consumers frequently assign stereotypical views to nonprofits, categorizing them as warm, generous and caring organizations, but assuming their business abilities will be less competent than their for-profit peers'. In contrast, for-profit companies are seen as more competent from a balance sheet perspective, but are not necessarily socially aware.

Resource: Research Paper

"Why do people trust, why can trust get us into trouble, and what we can do to protect ourselves?" asks Professor Rod Kramer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. After looking at the financial industry he was surprised by "the level of abuse of trust throughout the financial industries: its magnitude, its pervasiveness, and its duration."

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 - Peter Hero]

Peter Hero has been helping philanthropists make a social impact for two decades. He's now inspiring students to get involved in social entrepreneurship.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Katherine Boas]

Katherine Boas created the Barefoot MBA curriculum with her classmate Scott Raymond while a student in the Stanford MBA program. Her ambition? To teach the world’s poorest entrepreneurs the basic business skills they need to make better decisions with their microloans.

Resource: Alumni

Jessica Flannery created Kiva to connect lenders to small entrepreneurs without access to financial resources. Her goal? To alleviate poverty.

Resource: Alumni

Jake Harriman starts seed projects in extremely stressed areas of the world. He works to help people lift themselves out of poverty in five years.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Eric Weaver]
Eric Weaver helps working people create assets. He wants to see everyone in the Bay Area achieve financial self-sufficiency.
Resource: Alumni
[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
[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

Environmental sustainability is essential to business today. In this audio lecture, Alex Cummings of Coca Cola relates how his company aims to double its business in a decade by improving packaging and supply chain logistics through social entrepreneurship. Cummings relates stories of using organic material in plastic bottles and empowering one-woman distribution companies in rural Africa. He describes strategic partnerships to strengthen corporate citizenship in local communities, using renewable resources and recycling projects to enhance international development.

Resource: Audio
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