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Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

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Should social media communities be focused on the means or the ends?

Resource: Blog Post

Pivotal pieces that have influenced the “base of the pyramid” theory as a way for business to alleviate global problems.

Resource: Blog Post

Time to turn to fundraising fundamentals.

Resource: Blog Post
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2008

In this interview with James A. Phills Jr., the Stanford Social Innovation Reviews academic editor, former presidential advisor David Gergen discusses his views on social innovation, why social entrepreneurs should be more engaged in politics, and how the federal government can work with and even fund social entrepreneurs.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

How nonprofits can recruit more minorities.

Resource: Blog Post
[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 - 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
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2004

NIAC is thriving, despite taking on clients that no one else would.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2004

How MacArthur’s no-strings-attached “genius” grants uncover exceptional people.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2004

Why nonprofits should raise the bar in corporate partnerships.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2004

Not all needy communities are treated equally under the U.S. welfare system, suggests a new study.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2004

How funders flout their own rules.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

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

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

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 - Doug Hattaway]

Aspirational communication requires an exciting goal, motivational language, and an urgent call to action. In this audio lecture, Doug Hattaway, president of Hattaway Communications, discusses strategies for shaping an organization’s message to maximize its impact, emphasizing simple, people-centered communication techniques.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Daniel Spitzer]

Operating a successful social enterprise requires providing meaningful economic value to people. In this audio lecture, Daniel Spitzer, founder of Mountain Hazelnuts, describes his experience creating supply chain value to develop a hazelnut farming social enterprise in Bhutan. Spitzer details how he enhances supply chains through corporate citizenship, and leverages data captured from Android phones. Spitzer describes why there is nothing is more important than people in operating a profitable business through corporate social responsibility.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Dara O'Rourke]

Social innovations in the supply chain have the potential for making an impact on a large scale. In this panel discussion, experts describe innovations that are benefiting society and delivering economic value, including responsible e-waste recycling efforts that generate revenue, innovative methods to end child labor in the carpet industry, and more.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Rodney Mullen]

Is innovation something new, or is it built from fragments of experience that grow to become something greater? Skateboard legend Rodney Mullen is an innovator of tricks. To this day, every new skateboard trick can be attributed to Rodney’s early creations. Like most social entrepreneurs, Rodney developed something that took on a life of its own, and he found himself struggling to reconnect with the joy he originally found. Ned Breslin and Rodney discuss the struggles of being an innovator and how creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it is a collection of experiences, teachings, and learning that come from the simple act of listening.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Ma Jun]

Environmental sustainability is advanced in China by publishing pollution violations in an online open source database. In this audio lecture, Ma Jun, Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, describes the positive results achieved through the China Water Pollution Map, which provides each supplier’s detailed pollution data. At the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum, Jun describes how a group of NGOs made tangible gains toward environmental sustainability by motivating corporate social responsibility.

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 - Doug Hattaway]

Aspirational communication requires an exciting goal, motivational language, and an urgent call to action. In this audio lecture, Doug Hattaway, president of Hattaway Communications, discusses strategies for shaping an organization’s message to maximize its impact, emphasizing simple, people-centered communication techniques.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Daniel Spitzer]

Operating a successful social enterprise requires providing meaningful economic value to people. In this audio lecture, Daniel Spitzer, founder of Mountain Hazelnuts, describes his experience creating supply chain value to develop a hazelnut farming social enterprise in Bhutan. Spitzer details how he enhances supply chains through corporate citizenship, and leverages data captured from Android phones. Spitzer describes why there is nothing is more important than people in operating a profitable business through corporate social responsibility.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Rodney Mullen]

Is innovation something new, or is it built from fragments of experience that grow to become something greater? Skateboard legend Rodney Mullen is an innovator of tricks. To this day, every new skateboard trick can be attributed to Rodney’s early creations. Like most social entrepreneurs, Rodney developed something that took on a life of its own, and he found himself struggling to reconnect with the joy he originally found. Ned Breslin and Rodney discuss the struggles of being an innovator and how creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it is a collection of experiences, teachings, and learning that come from the simple act of listening.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Dara O'Rourke]

Social innovations in the supply chain have the potential for making an impact on a large scale. In this panel discussion, experts describe innovations that are benefiting society and delivering economic value, including responsible e-waste recycling efforts that generate revenue, innovative methods to end child labor in the carpet industry, and more.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Ma Jun]

Environmental sustainability is advanced in China by publishing pollution violations in an online open source database. In this audio lecture, Ma Jun, Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, describes the positive results achieved through the China Water Pollution Map, which provides each supplier’s detailed pollution data. At the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum, Jun describes how a group of NGOs made tangible gains toward environmental sustainability by motivating corporate social responsibility.

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
[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—and importing fries was undesirable for both cost and availability reasons. This case describes McDonald’s India and McCain India’s efforts to optimize the MacFry supply chain by increasing local supply in a fast-growing emerging market using agronomy, farmer relationship development and value chain innovation.

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

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
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. But how do you control your message once it goes viral and is in the hands of the public? You don’t.  Give up control, and instead contribute to your message through online community interactions. This will build trust—which carries value for both you and your stakeholders.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

BUILDING SOCIAL BUSINESS: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs by Muhammad Yunus

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Good leadership at the local level matters. According to Harvard researchers, what makes a civic association effective is not so much the resources and opportunities available to it, but the leader’s ability to make the most of those resources and opportunities.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Consumer research has shown that people are more likely to use products that they pay for; such products carry more intrinsic value to the consumer. But when it comes to malaria-preventing bed nets in Africa, the opposite holds true.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

THE POWER OF POSITIVE DEVIANCE: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin, & Monique Sternin

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Corner