Research By Topic
THE FAIR SOCIETY: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice by Peter Corning
The political process is chaotic and often takes years to unfold, making it difficult to use traditional measures to evaluate the effectiveness of advocacy organizations. There are, however, unconventional methods one can use to evaluate advocacy organizations and make strategic investments in that arena.
The Stanford Graduate School of Business opens the Knight Management Center, a new facility of eight buildings around three quads designed to support an innovative MBA curriculum. The center is expected to achieve the highest LEED Platinum® rating for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Venture into a Panera Cares café and you’ll see the same menu and racks of freshly baked breads that are staples at the 1,400 Panera Bread restaurants across the United States. The only thing missing is the cash register. Instead, there’s a donation box where customers pay on the honor system.
"No single generation has ever witnessed so much change in a lifetime," SEIU President Andy Stern told a Business School audience, and unions must be part of that change.
Stanford MBA students on a service learning trip advise small businesses in New Orleans. They partner with nonprofit the Idea Village to create a model program for business students from all over the world to provide pro bono business consulting services and become part of the rebirth of the city.
"There is, perhaps for the first time in history, a reasonable chance of transforming the quality of life and the creative opportunities for the vast majority of humanity," says Dean Emeritus Michael Spence, describing the report of the Independent Commission on Growth in Developing Countries, which he chaired.
Business School Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer and doctoral student Sanford E. DeVoe found that people who are used to being paid by the hour start thinking of time as a commodity almost equal to cash. And given the choice as to whether they'll take time or greenbills, they'll usually take the latter—meaning they're nearly always willing to put in more hours to get the pay.
Sam Goldman, MBA '07, CEO of D.light Design, finds himself running an international company whose customers are some of the poorest people in China, India, or Tanzania. The firm grew out of the Business School course Design for Extreme Affordability. Goldman talked to the Stanford Reporter.
Corporate social responsibility and transparency encourage companies to do good.
How can we reduce carbon dioxide emissions?
Inspiring change through photography.
City Hall Fellows Program is designed to bring eager young faces into municipal government.
“Cause-related” video games don’t go far enough in helping to solve social problems.
It is more important for nonprofits to do their job than to focus on media coverage.
Nonprofits and the taxation debate.
Tips for how to introduce a wiki into your organization.
Better practices in disaster relief involve market-orientated nonprofit organizations, or social-mission-orientated, for-profit companies, playing a more prominent role.
Social entrepreneurship requires conscious leadership, says Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in this University podcast. Delivering a talk sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Mackey issues a clarion call for nothing less than "conscious capitalism," arguing that business can indeed serve more than the almighty dollar. He discusses his own company's challenges in the social enterprise arena.
Impact investing: is it actually investing? Or is it venture philanthropy by another name?
Stanford GSB alum ('08) founded Nuru International to maximize local leadership to drive sustainable change.
A panel on the the importance of mainstreaming and investing in green chemistry for the future of energy and the environment.
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.
Giving things away for the prize people are willing to pay sounds like corporate suicide. In this audio lecture sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford, Leif Nelson shows it's a pathway to corporate citizenship, increased revenue, and an enhanced company image. He walks us through field experiments he conducted at major theme parks manipulating various aspects of the purchasing experience for souvenir action photos.
How do you view a nonprofit? A for-profit? A dot-org? Or a dot-com? Judgments of warmth and competence drive consumer behaviors such as the likeliness to visit a website or willingness to buy a product from an organization. Understanding consumer stereotypes plays a significant role in how nonprofits and corporations do business. In this Stanford Center for Social Innovation sponsored audio lecture, marketing professor Jennifer Aaker examines the implications stereotypes have on firms.
Philanthropy can be good for you, according to Harvard Business School Professor Mike Norton. In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Norton discusses the impact of prosocial spending on donors, summarizing his research on how money can buy happiness for the individuals involved in donating it. Norton also talks about steps organizations can take to promote charitable giving by their employees, so they can reap the positive benefits of the associated increase in well-being.
McDonald's has migrated to India, and with it, a commitment to corporate social responsibility. In this university podcast, executive Abhijit Upadhye discusses how the introduction of the "golden arches" into the subcontinent over the past six years has resulted in the creation of local opportunities in the areas of agriculture and food production, storage, and transportation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Merck was grappling with how to distribute an HIV drug in limited supply. The decision team had chosen to manage distribution from one source, and was meeting to review the progress and success of its plan.
The Skoll Foundation funds individuals and organizations with good ideas that can quickly grow in scale and impact. In 2002, as the leaders looked to the future, they pondered how they could act as leading social entrepreneurs themselves in terms of how they structured the foundation’s work.
The Broad Education Foundation was established in 1999 to focus on K-12 public education reform. As the foundation sought to expand its reach, its ability to transition the management of its flagship investments would become increasingly important, and maintaining accountability to stakeholders would also be critical.
San Diego City Schools' leaders are faced with a choice: Should they continue reform efforts begun four years earlier, knowing that results so far have been mixed? Or should they modify their reform strategy?
With increasing pollution and congestion, European car manufacturers were concerned that governments might eventually ban cars from city centers. The producer of Swatch watches came up with the novel idea of an environmentally friendly, but stylish, super-compact car.
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.
Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India. Initially its founder, who also designed the device, tried selling his incubator through the few medical equipment, but found relative to the simple medical products, these companies found the incubator technically complex. Distributors' sales were willing to represent the product but did not understand how it worked. This case study looks at how Phoenix built its own direct sales force to address the problem.
In a country that lacks formal financial services but contains over half a billion cell phone users, two brothers saw a unique opportunity. In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman speaks with Abhishek Sinha, co-founder of Eko India Financial Services, about their efforts to lower the barriers for end-consumers in India. As The Tech Awards 2011 laureates of the Flextronics Economic Development Award, Sinha discusses Eko India's breakthrough developments in branchless banking.
Professor Kung Wang of China University of Technology discussed energy and cross-Strait relations at the "Innovations for Smart Green Cities: What's Working, What's Not, What's Next" conference.
Why mere potential can be more impressive than actual achievement.
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, EcoPost manufactures construction posts out of the thousands of tons of plastic waste produced daily by the city. The posts, which are manufactured using second-hand industrial equipment, are frequently used to build fences, park benches, and other objects. Because lumber is very scarce in Kenya, and subject to theft and termite damage, the posts sell very well, and the company has trouble keeping up with demand. The company’s directors are seeking financing to purchase new equipment and scale and diversify their production.