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Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

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[photo - Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva]

Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva was in the Bay Area to meet with representatives of business, finance and education to encourage the establishment of closer connections with the institutions of his country. Not surprisingly, attention was focused on the European debt crisis and recent political events in Greece and Italy.

Resource: News Article

There's a silver lining to growing old, says Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Center on Longevity. The elderly tend to exhibit better mental health status than their younger and middle-aged counterparts.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Liberty & Justice sewing]

Building a fair-trade manufacturing business in Liberia is helping entrepreneur Chid Liberty realize a goal. "You can make money and do good at the same time," he told a Stanford University audience.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

In August 2010 the US government closed ShoreBank, one of the country’s leading social enterprises. Why did ShoreBank fail? And what lessons can be learned from its 37-year record of innovation?

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

The United States and other industrialized countries can learn from experiments in the developing world that use the humble cell phone as a platform for innovation.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
[photo - Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva]

Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva was in the Bay Area to meet with representatives of business, finance and education to encourage the establishment of closer connections with the institutions of his country. Not surprisingly, attention was focused on the European debt crisis and recent political events in Greece and Italy.

Resource: News Article

There's a silver lining to growing old, says Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Center on Longevity. The elderly tend to exhibit better mental health status than their younger and middle-aged counterparts.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Liberty & Justice sewing]

Building a fair-trade manufacturing business in Liberia is helping entrepreneur Chid Liberty realize a goal. "You can make money and do good at the same time," he told a Stanford University audience.

Resource: News Article

Support of proposals including healthcare reform and cap-and-trade environmental legislation in 2010 cost the Democrats 20 legislative seats and their majority control in the House of Representatives, says Professor David Brady. But he and his co-authors warn that the Republicans should not believe victory in the next election is assured.

Resource: News Article

As schools and colleges increase their investment in virtual classrooms, data analysis, and other cutting-edge tools to help students learn, educators are replacing "chalk talk" with technology and entering a new era agreed speakers at the Goldman Sachs/Stanford University Education Conference.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

LeapFrog Investments aims to insure the poor on a grand scale.

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

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.

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

With these seven levers, social entrepreneurs can foster change in everything from affordable housing to child welfare to poverty alleviation.

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

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.

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

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.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

The 2009 presidential election was a divisive affair.

Resource: Blog Post

Social media is helping people self-assemble for social action.

Resource: Blog Post

It’s important to treat volunteers as valuable assets.

Resource: Blog Post

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
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Picture: Shea]

Got a great business idea? Consider taking it to Chile, where the government is now offering $40,000 grants and one-year visas to help early-stage entrepreneurs develop their companies, through a program called Start-Up Chile. In this audio interview, Stanford Social Innovation correspondent Ashkon Jafari talks with Nicolas Shea, innovation advisor to the Chilean minister of economy, about the program's genesis, goals, and progress so far.

Resource: Audio

Market practices are changing. With a focus on sustainability, corporations are moving toward operations that reduce the environmental impact of their products and services and offer an integrated bottom line. In this audio interview, part of The Future of Green series, host Neal Gorenflo speaks with Maurice Bechard of Diversey and Michael Kobori of Levi Strauss & Co. about the motivations for change and how to approach this shift.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Noah Goldstein]
If you stayed in a hotel recently, you may have seen signs that encouraged you to reuse your towel in an effort to conserve resources. What drives you and others to participate in this environmentally and economically beneficial program? Professor Noah Goldstein studies the factors that motivate individuals to engage in prosocial actions using descriptive norms to design effective messages. He presents his research in this audio lecture presented by the Center for Social Innovation.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Adam Grant]

Call centers can be important in philanthropy and fundraising efforts, but they represent possibly the most challenging arena for raising money. In this university podcast, Wharton associate professor Adam Grant talks about new research on what works -- and what doesn't -- for keeping call center employees and volunteers motivated and effective.

Resource: Audio

A vicious cycle is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations -- let alone serve their beneficiaries. In this audio lecture, Ann Goggins Gregory and Don Howard of The Bridgespan Group, a leading nonprofit management consulting firm, unveil the forces that deprive organizations of much-needed overhead funding. They then reveal what grantees can do to break out of this nonprofit starvation cycle, so that they can focus on the work ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resource: Video
[Video-The Global Tobacco Epidemic: Robert Proctor]

How did the global tobacco epidemic start? And what can we learn from it?

Resource: Video
[Video-Pharmaceutical Innovation ]

What can pharmaceutical companies do to contribute to global health?

Resource: Video
[photo - Amandine Barthelemy - Romain Slitine]

L'économie sociale en France est un secteur à part entière qui regroupe les initiatives économiques d'utilité sociale et d'intérêt collectif. Mais peut-on tous devenir des entrepreneurs sociaux? Une étude a donc été réalisée sur les facteurs de réussite et les obstacles. Dans cet enregistrement audio, Amandine Barthelemy et Romain Slitine, experts associés de l'Institut de l'Innovation et de l'Entrepreneuriat Social, nous commentent les résultats de cette enquête et esquissent le profil type du bon entrepreneur social.

Resource: Audio

Connecting good, effective nonprofits and other organizations that get the job done is the mission of Craigconnects, the latest enterprise of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. In this audio interview with host Ashkon Jafari, Newmark discusses the organization's philosophy, primary activities, and future plans.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Changing Behaviors and Changing Policies: Sheena Iyengar]

At the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit, Sheena Iyengar, Professor of Business at Columbia University's Business School, shared her research on why people make the choices they do.

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

International Paper has engaged in a plan to lease hunting and camping opportunities on its lands. It now must provide support for environmental management programs in the face of declining demand for hunting areas and increased demand for environmentally friendly forest products.

Resource: Academic Case

The executive director of a teen arts and entrepreneurship training program in Boston, Artists for Humanity, weighs issues of expansion, staff turnover, and fundraising. The organization’s challenges reflect those facing many small nonprofits, particularly those with an entrepreneurial arm.

Resource: Academic Case

US Forest Capital has proposed the use of tax-exempt revenue bonds to help nonprofits manage forestland more sustainably. Now the organization must convince Congress to amend tax codes accordingly.

Resource: Academic Case

The chairman of Marine Stewardship Council is charged with implementing an eco-labeling program for seafood products harvested in a sustainable manner. He wonders how the council could get customers to start shopping for labeled products, and how the MSC should approach industry to get seafood producers and retailers on board.

Resource: Academic Case

In February 1999, the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust was preparing to expand its operations outside Cape Town, South Africa. However, a strike at one of their revenue-generating enterprises, and financial irregularities at one of their newest programs, threatened to thwart the Foundation's plans.

Resource: Academic Case

The new executive director of the Coalition of Essential Schools urgently needed to develop a new and sustainable fundraising strategy. He also faced other challenges around organizational structure, value proposition, marketing, and operations.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - David W. Brady]

In the late 1990s, Nike had to deal with allegations that its subcontractors were running sweatshops that were marked by poor working conditions, worker abuse, and below-subsistence wages. Nike responds to the public scrutiny, and takes actions that have an impact on the company and the brand.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William F. Meehan III]

Upon her death, Beryl Buck left $7.6 million for various charitable purposes in Marin County, Calif. The case discusses what happened to the Buck Trust money and the constituents involved.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Daniel P. Kessler]

The executive director of Asian Neighborhood Design, a housing and community development organization, attempts to quantify the potential financial and social return for investors in his nonprofit enterprise. The director applies innovative tools, including a true cost accounting framework and a social return on investment analysis.

Resource: Academic Case

The Career Action Center started as a nonprofit to help mid-life women reenter the workforce, but due to various demands found itself catering to men and individuals in a host of age ranges. The leadership realized it needed to address the contradiction in the organization’s mission as a center for women that was open to all.

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 - Robert A. Burgelman]

The Kinetics and Michael J. Fox Foundations both support research on Parkinson’s disease. This first case describes the creation, mission, and strategy of the two organizations.

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

Senior executives at Wal-Mart launched the company’s new sustainability strategy in 2005. The case describes their efforts to keep environmental improvement tightly coupled with business values and profitability.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

The X PRIZE Foundation originated as prize competitions for significant development in the exploration of outer space. Several problems faced the organization as it began to focus on fields outside of space, including whether prize competitions could work in areas such as poverty.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

In 2006, AARP was one of the largest, most well-known nonprofits in the United States. However, the organization faced numerous public relations and strategic challenges.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo - Glenn R. Carroll]

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.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Kirst Michael]

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.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Susanna Loeb]

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)

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Daniel Kessler]

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.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - David P. Baron]

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.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All

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

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jennifer Aaker]

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

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Robert Burgelman]

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

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Rick Aubry]

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

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - William Meehan]

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

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

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

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

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

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Robyn Beavers]

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

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jeremy Sokulsky]

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

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Ashanthi Mathai]

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


 

Resource: Alumni
[photo - 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. As part of ongoing efforts to provide critical health services in developing countries, PSI sought to address the high unmet demand for family planning in Pakistan. PSI learned that the financial incentives were low and that few providers actually had the training to counsel clients. The case study describes how PSI devised and implemented a social franchising model to rapidly address these needs and achieve scale in the target communities.

Resource: Academic Case

This case describes the formation and operation of Leopard Capital, a “Frontier Market Private Equity Fund” from its establishment in 2007 up through the end of 2012. The case focuses on the fund’s founder, Douglas Clayton, and his history doing business in Asia and what led him to the decision to start Leopard Capital as a Cambodia- focused private equity fund, and later to expand into other frontier markets such as Mynmar, Mongolia, and Haiti. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Healthcare Reform]

A group of scholars propose a plan that could put a brake on health care spending.

Resource: News Article
[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: Innovators
[photo - Solar Panels]

SunRun's Ed Fenster discusses his business and the economics of solar power.

Resource: News Article
Corner