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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Technologies that reduce costs and improve care for the underserved are often the most difficult to scale up. But a handful of strategies could turn things around.
Chris West takes a businesslike approach to philanthropy, looking for ways to leverage the assets of the Shell Foundation and its corporate parent to improve the lives of low-income people in the developing world.
A new study finds that nonprofits are not becoming more commercialized.
The time is now for foundations, large and small, to engage in public policy.
Living Cities is working with five US municipalities to develop an ecosystem for solving urban problems.
"If you don't have a high school education in America, you are chained to limited options," Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., told the Goldman Sachs/Stanford University Global Education Conference.
In this Spring 2011 Prosocial Behavior Research Column, Frank Flynn explores research showing that the most generous, trusting, and helpful people are not those with more money, but, rather, those with less. Individuals in lower socio-economic classes tend to act in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and heightened feelings of compassion for others. Put simply, the life stressors and challenges faced by those who struggle economically often spur greater social cooperation. Might the "haves" take a lesson from the altruism of the "have nots?"
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have demonstrated that a single year of math lessons is associated with unexpectedly big changes in the brain's approach to problem solving and that these changes can be seen in the brain scans of second- and third-graders.
Costa Rica now exports 4,000 products and is working to attract more technology companies President Laura Chinchilla told a Stanford Graduate School of Business audience as the nation broadens its economic base from the focus on eco-tourism.
"Live by your own personal compass and speak honestly and openly. If you do that, you'll be fine." That was the simple advice offered by Herb Allison at this year's Graduate School of Business commencement ceremony on June 11.
LeapFrog Investments aims to insure the poor on a grand scale.
Philanthropedia cofounder Deyan Vitanov wants to make it easier for donors to see the impact of the organizations they fund. That’s why he has created a new tool that bases its recommendations on the opinions of over 1,000 experts.
With these seven levers, social entrepreneurs can foster change in everything from affordable housing to child welfare to poverty alleviation.
Throughout history, acts of hatred have plagued communities and dominated media attention. The website Not In Our Town is working to combat that by broadcasting anti-hate stories and campaigns.
London-based organization Social Finance believes that providing job training and other social services to short-term prisoners will make them less likely to commit crimes—and cost taxpayers—in the future.
Social media is helping people self-assemble for social action.
It’s important to treat volunteers as valuable assets.
Should social media communities be focused on the means or the ends?
Pivotal pieces that have influenced the “base of the pyramid” theory as a way for business to alleviate global problems.
An Inconvenient Truth sparked national attention to global warming, as did the film Food, Inc. to food issues. Now, three new films, including Academy Award winning director David Guggenheim's Waiting for "Superman", focus on education reform, bringing the United State's school system into the hearts and minds of the American public. Panelists involved in these films gather at the 2010 NewSchools Summit, and speak on how these powerful films can inspire action and advocacy from the broader audience.
What is the best way for entrepreneurs to approach water companies with environmental sustainability solutions that address water problems? In this panel discussion, sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, experts and academics share what the water industry is doing to save water and the energy used to produce it for public use. They offer suggestions about how business can best invest in this growing field.
How can a company put environmental sustainability into its DNA? In this university podcast, Joao Paulo Ferreira, VP of operations and logistics, talks about Natura Cosmetics Brasil's supply chain and its challenges to embed sustainability concepts into the way it is designed and operated. He discusses the company's culture of collaboration with indigenous communities, NGOs, and other organizations.
With corporate social responsibility as a business imperative, Levi Strauss has evaluated how well its suppliers are doing on making cotton production more sustainable. In this university podcast, executive Michael Kobori discusses the company's efforts to support organic cotton farming that reduces water use and relies less on child labor, particularly in Uzbekistan.
An interview with Professor John Roberts about his study results on the efficacy of working from home.
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.
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.
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.
Co-founder Andrew Ng, also the Director of the Artificial Intelligence Lab and an associate professor in computer science at Stanford, presented at the Leading Education By Advancing Digital (LEAD) Symposium held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in September 2012.
Les entrepreneurs sociaux semblent pouvoir jouer un rôle essentiel dans la transition vers une économie verte, même si à première vue elle serait plutôt le fait de grands acteurs institutionnels. A quoi ressemblent ces initiatives individuelles ? Quels sont les obstacles qui se posent à elles ? Deux experts-entrepreneurs, l'un en France et l'autre aux USA, montrent comment transformer la crise environnementale en opportunités. Ils détaillent les leviers possibles pour une efficacité sociale grâce à un changement réel des pratiques en entreprise.
Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies increasingly are embracing design thinking to solve social problems. The reason? Design thinking is inherently human centered. In this audio lecture, Jocelyn Wyatt, who directs social innovation projects at the design and consulting firm IDEO, describes how design thinking can be employed in the developing world to address the needs of people who consume a product or service and the infrastructure that enables it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Circus Oz, Australia’s premier, international circus, was exploring offering the new development officer position a higher-than-normal salary. The case and its companion videocase cover the organization’s dilemmas around this, and the situation’s resolution.
Two executives came under fire for selling a significant amount of Midway stock just weeks before a precipitous decline in the company’s share price. Regulators had to decide whether they had carried out a sophisticated form of illegal insider trading.
This case provides background on the technology, economic forces, and nonmarket issues that affect ethanol’s supply, distribution, and demand. It also discusses emerging innovations.
In 2006, all major U.S. dialysis providers faced ever-diminishing margins and struggled to understand what lay ahead. Change was imminent as Medicare and Medicaid altered the reimbursement landscape, and as private payers became more restrictive.
Esquel Group, one of the world’s leading producers of premium cotton shirts, offered innovative products and services and was devoted to protecting the environment in areas in which it operated. The case describes the company’s culture and strategy.
The authors examine the classic question of how religious diversity in a community affects church membership in a period of high growth and social change.
Students heading for the nation’s community colleges are less likely to be prepared for the demands of college than their classmates heading for schools with competitive admissions standards, says education professor Michael Kirst. Lack of preparation means a higher dropout rate and poses a real threat to the future qualifications of the U.S. labor force.
New teachers overwhelmingly want to teach in school districts near where they grew up, say researchers, thus creating a “cycle of poverty” for some urban schools where few graduates go on to earn teaching degrees. It’s not just that teachers prefer teaching higher-performing kids, it’s that they want a school like the one they attended, says Susanna Loeb, associate professor in the Stanford School of Education. (June 2005)
To make health care markets work, this paper recommends changes in five areas of public policy: tax reform, insurance reform, improved provision of information, enhanced competition, and malpractice reform. Such policy reforms will improve health care productivity, make insurance more affordable, reduce the numbers of uninsured, and increase tax fairness and progressivity.
The paper presents a theory of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and shows that CSR is costly when it is an imperfect substitute for personal giving. The paper demonstrates, however, that entrepreneurs, not shareholders, bear that cost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leading a Social Innovation Study Trip lands Robyn Beavers, MBA '10, in a new industry.
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.
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.
Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine and Engineering at Stanford University has developed 11 methods for integrating sex and gender analysis into research projects, and 14 case studies demonstrating the benefits of using them.
TeachAIDS, a nonprofit spun out of Stanford in 2009, targets its highly successful animated AIDS education software to specific cultures. Its most recent success: a national "TeachAIDS Day" in Botswana.
Family planning counseling could prove to be a cost-effective way to help minimize the number of children born HIV-positive in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests a new study by Medical School researchers, presented this week in Washington, D.C., at the International AIDS Conference.
Most methane comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Stanford and Penn State scientists are taking a greener approach using microbes that can convert renewable electricity into carbon-neutral methane.