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

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Research By Topic

Search Resources:

Research Resources


Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

GlobalGiving’s storytelling project turns anecdotes into useful data.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

In the United States today, two-thirds of African American college undergrads are women, and they are going on to excel in business, particularly in entrepreneurship, says visiting scholar Katherine Phillips.

Resource: News Article

Jane Chen, MBA '08, is co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a nonprofit company dedicated to creating low-cost portable incubators to save the lives of low birthweight babies in developing countries. The Embrace infant warmer was launched in India in the spring of 2011 she told the annual Women in Management banquet at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: News Article

As Japan shifts from disaster relief to rebuilding, GSB alumni see opportunities for change and renewal.

Resource: News Article

A new generation of medical "rock stars" are blending cutting-edge technology with reams of old-fashioned data to help drive innovation, said Todd Park, chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and one of the participants in the 2011 Healthcare Summit held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Photo: Dr. Paul Auerbach]

When Paul Auerbach arrived in Haiti, after the January 2010 earthquake, he faced a sea of death and misery the likes of which he'd never seen. A member of Stanford Emergency Medicine's rapid response team under the auspices of International Medical Corps, Auerbach, Sloan '89, eventually assumed the role of lead physician coordinating the medical and logistical efforts of teams from around the globe.

Resource: News Article

His career has taken Jonathan Reckford, MBA '89, from corporate leadership to his current post as chief executive officer with global nonprofit Habitat for Humanity. His success, he says, comes from following his faith and his heart.

Resource: News Article

Woodrow Myers, MBA '82, who has shaped attitudes toward some of the world's most perplexing health issues, urged MBA students to use their skills to meet today's hardest challenges. He was honored with the 2010 Black Business Students Association's outstanding alumni award.

Resource: News Article

Ted Turner, who 30 years ago heralded the Information Age by founding CNN, has turned his focus to developing ways to stop global warming, encourage energy conservation, and stem population growth. He challenged MBA students to find solutions because "We've got to take better care of the planet."

Resource: News Article

More than 30 years after the darkest chapter in its history, Cambodia remains a damaged and fragile society, Youk Chhang, an expert on the Cambodian genocide and the man leading the Documentation Center of Cambodia told an audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2010

THE SPIRIT LEVEL: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett

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

How funders can help grantees track their progress more effectively

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

The world’s first universal cash transfer program is in Namibia and provides cash with no strings attached

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

Improving the lives of disadvantaged populations—whether through better schools, after-school programs, or teen pregnancy prevention clinics—requires proven theories of change. The very development of a field depends on their diffusion, replication, critique, and modification. Yet some organizations refuse to articulate a theory of change and some funders think it would be intrusive to demand that they do so. The interests of all concerned are served by a developmental approach to creating and evaluating theories of change

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

The LEED system is the platinum standard for green building certification, and its parent organization, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is one of the fastest growing nonprofits in America. Here’s how the USGBC maintains its strict standards while responding to diverse members in an evolving field

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Computer access costing less than $70 a person.

Resource: Blog Post

Collaboration among nonprofits could save money.

Resource: Blog Post

The grassroots personality of new philanthropy.

Resource: Blog Post

Figuring out what data is most useful for effective philanthropy is a massive challenge.

Resource: Blog Post

Donor information is being shared too freely.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Garth Saloner]

The financial crisis has led to finger pointing at business schools, which have spawned MBAs who have become the leaders of various prominent financial and government institutions involved in the crisis. In this audio interview, Stanford MBA student Alex Maasry talks with Garth Saloner, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, about the impact of the crisis on the GSB's curriculum and on business education more broadly.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jeffrey D. Sachs]
The financial crisis started on Wall Street but continues to have a profound impact around the world. Among those affected are the poorest of the poor. In this audio interview, Stanford MBA student Joy Sun talks with Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and a professor at Columbia University, about how the financial crisis is shaping international relations and countries' paths toward economic development.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Michael Spence]
How have some developing countries managed to overcome poverty? What kinds of economic and political decisions have led to their success? In this audio lecture Michael Spence, Nobel Memorial Prize Winner in Economic Sciences, discusses what the Commission on Growth and Development has learned about the characteristics of nations that have been able to advance economically despite the recent global financial crisis.
Resource: Audio
[photo - John B. Taylor]

While Wall Street's role in the financial crisis is widely discussed, the government's role is often less well understood. In this audio interview, Stanford MBA student Joy Sun talks with John Taylor, a renowned macroeconomist and professor at Stanford University, about how government regulation and policy have shaped the recovery from the economic crisis and how they may prevent similar crises in the future.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Edward P. Lazear]

The future of financial regulation has been a topic of intense debate in the aftermath of the financial crisis. In this audio interview, Stanford MBA student Lisa Scheible talks with Edward Lazear, an expert on labor economics from Stanford, about how government regulation and policy have influenced the economic recovery and how they can prevent similar crises in the future.

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

When a company like Wal-Mart decides to work with suppliers to reduce their emissions, a positive ripple is created throughout the global economy. However, is there room for smaller innovators when it comes to greening the supply chain? In this audio interview, part of the Future of Green series from Stanford's Center for Social Innovation, Professor Gary Gereffi and EDF's Andrew Hutson talk about opportunities for sustainable supply chains in the age of globalization.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Stamberger]
Incident responders can use social media as they rush to put aid in place after disasters. Jeannie Stamberger, of the Disaster Management Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, shares her studies of crowd-sourcing. When disasters impact populated areas, social media helps agencies quickly identify the extent of the damage. This audio interview covers utilization of social media for disaster response, planning and risk analysis.
Resource: Audio

Bringing along the consumer, Method and Zipcar have provided greener alternatives to our everyday lifestyles. By creating this catalyst for change, they moved their products and services ahead of industry leaders and scaled this impact with market success. In this Future of Green open call series from Stanford's Center for Social Innovation, founders Robin Chase of Zipcar and Adam Lowry of Method speak on building a company around a radical and sustainable business model.

Resource: Audio
[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
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
[photo - Laura K. Arrillaga]

The Center for Blended Value is a think tank that promotes the concept of “blended value” investments. The founder wondered how to overcome the challenges associated with encouraging more foundations to adopt a value-mixing strategy of financial asset management.

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

Nongovernmental organizations have become an increasingly important intermediary for international development. This note explains how NGOs have evolved, and the role they played in the early 1990s in bringing development to poor nations.

Resource: Academic Case
Multimedia Case

Innermotion dance company presents performances based on themes related to incest and childhood sexual abuse. This video explores how the founder must reexamine her focus and priorities when faced with the loss of a major grant.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Margaret L. Eaton]

Genzyme Tissue Repair had just received favorable phase I clinical trial results. Should the company go ahead with studies that would involve subjects in the placebo group having to undergo surgery but not receive the experimental transplants?

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Margaret L. Eaton]

In 1999, Geron Corporation was at the center of the debate about human embryo research. The case details the controversy surrounding Geron’s stem cell research and the role the Ethics Advisory Board played in shaping the company's response.

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
[photo - AIDS Education]

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.

Resource: News Article

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.

Resource: News Article
[photo - design healthcare]

Stanford GSB students explore ways to reduce health care costs and improve outcomes.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Taiwan]

A key player in creating Taiwan's semiconductor industry explains the role of technology in improving energy efficiency.

Resource: News Article
[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
Corner