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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Too often American business and education remain "silos sitting outside of each other, unwilling to recognize, and often casting blame at each other," said James H. Shelton III, MBA/MA '93 and Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, at a recent Stanford event. Yet, a number of Stanford GSB alumni have taken on that challenge and are using their business acumen to help improve public education.
Under the EPA’s Audit Policy, violators who voluntarily report themselves can get certain penalties reduced or waived if they commit to ongoing self-regulation…. But is that promise any more than window dressing?
One Acre Fund feeds the world’s poor by helping them feed themselves.
Aid is increasingly focused on the “bottom billion” in extremely poor, mostly African, nations. But according to a new analysis, most of the world’s poor no longer live in these countries.
Engineers Without Borders’ new website, Admitting Failure, gives new life to “good failures.” It aims to help organizations learn from others’ mistakes.
The economic resilience of developing nations during the world economic crisis has been encouraging, Stanford Graduate School of Business economist Michael Spence told a student audience, but ongoing global growth needs an integrated financial strategy. Spence heads the Commission on Growth and Development.
Project Redwood, a new venture philanthropy fund of the Stanford GSB Class of 1980, has distributed $400,000 over the past 3 years to organizations that use entrepreneurial approaches to fight poverty.
Invited at Stanford by a group of pro-social scientists from top universities, some 60 U.S. business and nonprofit leaders examined simple, practical, and cost-effective solutions for encouraging donations, volunteerism, social activism, and other responsible, caring, and pro-social behaviors.
California is quickly reaching the point where each unit of water used to raise crops costs more in ecological damage than it provides benefits of crops, said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, during the Stanford Graduate School of Business' annual environmental lecture.
Researchers find a stronger tie between money and happiness for people paid by the hour than by salary, because hourly workers are more regularly reminded of the value of their time, according to work co-authored by business school Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer.
THE SPIRIT LEVEL: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett
How funders can help grantees track their progress more effectively
The world’s first universal cash transfer program is in Namibia and provides cash with no strings attached
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
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
Collaboration among nonprofits could save money.
The grassroots personality of new philanthropy.
Figuring out what data is most useful for effective philanthropy is a massive challenge.
Donor information is being shared too freely.
The area of education is ripe for social enterprise efforts, both within and outside U.S. borders. In this audio interview with Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman, Executive Director Tomas Recart talks about what Ensena Chile is doing to create educational change in Chile using the Teach For America model. He discusses recruitment, program evaluation, and the expansion of the effort to other Latin American countries.
Responsible investing begins in local, underserved communities. In this education podcast, CEO Martin Eakes talks about how his organization, Self-Help, has provided almost $6 billion in financing to more than 60,000 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits, and how it is serving thousands of low-income families through retail credit union branches. Eakes' presentation is an inspiring rallying cry for redirecting resources to those who can benefit the most. His talk is part of a discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.
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.
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.
For Nike, corporate social responsibility has become a business driver rather than an obligation. In this university podcast, Nike's director of global logistics, Dawn Vance, talks about how the company is integrating performance, innovation, and sustainability throughout the entire supply chain. She also shares new efforts to provide a "closed loop" business model in which products can be reclaimed and reused at the end of their functional life.
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.
In 2000, the Rainforest Action Network launched a campaign to get Citigroup to stop financing destructive activities in endangered ecosystems. This second case relates the opportunistic revival of the campaign two years after it started.
The director of a successful school in Botswana was planning her retirement. How could she institutionalize processes she had personally overseen that had led to the school's excellence?
PBS had asked for the strategy group Stone Yamashita Partners for help with branding. These cases detail PBS’s challenges and the organization’s need to transform its longstanding structure and change-averse culture.
In 2000, the Rainforest Action Network launched a campaign to get Citigroup to stop financing destructive activities in endangered ecosystems. Three cases trace the development of that campaign starting with the initial launch and tentative negotiations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recycling programs abound, but people are often lackadaisical about putting plastic, paper, glass, and metal into those bins. How can we get more people to recycle? An intervention recently conducted in Canada is pointing the way, and the message is all about ... well, the messaging.
Inequalities between socially marginalized and non-marginalized groups have led to poorer school and health outcomes for African Americans, Latino Americans, and other non-Asian ethnic minorities. Although many structural factors contribute to these inequalities, this study examines one psychological factor: concern about social belonging — a sense of having positive relationships with others.
Most observers agree that human consumption is on a crash course with the environment. Although recycling programs have been implemented in many cities around the world, people often do not participate as often as they could. This research examines the effectiveness of messages that highlight the negative consequences of not recycling (loss frames) versus those that emphasize the positive consequences of recycling (gain frames) in influencing people's behavior.
Identifying effective obesity treatment is both a clinical challenge and a public health priority. Can monetary incentives stimulate weight loss? Leslie John presents a study that examines different economic incentives for weight loss during a 16 week intervention.
The investigation into what messaging motivates people to vote and the effectiveness of facilitating a voting plan during a presidential election.