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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Foundations often undermine their own efforts by micromanaging how social problems are solved. Two insiders explore why foundations have developed this way and what grant makers can do to foster high impact strategies.
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program is helping women in 22 countries in the developing world start and grow businesses, Dina Habib Powell, who oversees the effort told a business school audience.
Calling education "the most important problem that we have to solve in this country," an official of the U.S. Department of Education warned that other nations are doing a better job than the United States of educating their young people.
One-stop centers offer a safer future for victims of domestic violence.
Banker and philanthropist Tom Steyer says the idea of business doing everything perfectly without government involvement is "ridiculous." That's why he's fighting to convince politicians and CEOs that going green isn't a sacrifice, it's an opportunity.
The wealth generated by the dot-com boom of the 1990s produced a new generation of philanthropists, determined to use their capital and their business savvy to solve social problems. A decade later, have they transformed the world of philanthropy?
Rising energy costs are forcing corporations to rethink their strategies. While companies reconfigure operations and products, investors and engineers find alternative energy opportunities.
Lorenzo Zambrano, MBA '68, took the family's cement business from regional player to the industry's third-largest supplier.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini has spent over 30 years shaping the chipmaker as well as his own career. What does the future hold? How about cell phones in Africa and the computer market in China?
Zero emission buildings and hybrid vehicles have broad appeal, but any climate change solution must first make economic sense in order to truly be effective, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, MBA ’80, told a business school audience during the 2008 von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture.
Corporate social responsibility and transparency encourage companies to do good.
As wealthier nations age, nonprofits are retooling their operations to accommodate an older volunteer workforce.
Economic gardening nurtures local business
Is it possible to make our parks a place of inspiration?
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.
How do we know that the nonprofit organizations we support are actually effective? In this audio interview, host Sheela Sethuraman converses with Jeff Mason about his efforts, along with key organizational leaders, to develop an assessment tool that evaluates nonprofit management performances. Their work could become a major contribution to the world of philanthropy.
Online giving marketplaces allow for the transfer of funds from interested donors and lenders to those who need them. In this new philanthropy space, it is as yet, unclear whether the donor is the "supply" or the "demand," and organizations are just beginning to experiment with the utility of such online functioning. In this panel discussion, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, philanthropy experts working at online marketplaces discuss how their organizations function and what differentiates them from others.
President Obama has sent a powerful message to the American public since taking office: Social innovation can play an important role in rebuilding a stronger country. With the passage of stimulus packages in areas such as clean energy, national service, and climate change, it's clear that the White House is approaching national challenges in new ways. In this panel discussion, hosted by Full Circle Fund and sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, key staff in the Obama administration provide the broad outlines for these exciting changes.
When it comes to online giving market places, the adage is: If you build it, few will come. So how do you drive enough people to such online spaces to make them work? In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, William Meehan, McKinsey senior director, talks about the opportunities and challenges in making online giving marketplaces successful, and what lies ahead in this new philanthropy field for organizations dedicated to making a genuine sustained impact in communities.
Kiva has created an online marketplace that allows ordinary citizens through responsible investing to help specific entrepreneurs around the world thrive with as little as $25. How did Kiva get the critical mass it needed to make its operations a go? How does it work with nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and lenders through the online format? In this talk, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Kiva President Premal Shah talks about how the organization got started, how it functions, and how it plans to grow.
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.
Hope Runs is a nonprofit social enterprise working in Kenya and Tanzania that uses athletics, education, and social entrepreneurship to empower AIDS orphans. In this audio interview, founders Claire Williams and Lara Vogel talk about how they have turned their idea of using marathon running to "outpace poverty" into a vital organization that partners with AIDS orphanages to have a real influence in children's lives. They discuss their model, how they use volunteers, and advice for social entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has approved a $110 million nursing initiative to improve patient care in hospitals. The case addresses how the Foundation can determine which grants to make under the initiative, and how it may most effectively allocate funds.
Grameen Bank lent hundreds of millions of dollars to millions of poor entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. Managing Director Muhammad Yunus faced tremendous challenges brought about by political upheavals and natural disasters in this country.
This case describes events with Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, his network, and his interventions in affairs of the Newmont Mining Corporation. It provides an inside view of how business gets done where the rule of law is subordinated to political influence.
These notes discuss the AIDS epidemic including history, treatment, drug pricing, and economics.
This paper discusses how socioeconomic results are quantified with traditional financial measures. It briefly outlines the methodology used by the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund.
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.
How can nonprofit and crowdsourcing experts collaborate to make media more accessible? In this audio interview, Sheela Sethuraman talks to Dean Jansen, co-Founder of Universal Subtitles, a volunteer platform for doing collaborative subtitling and translation of videos. As the winner of The Tech Awards 2011 Katherine M. Swanson Equality Award, Jansen discussed Universal Subtitles' current challenges and future potential in leveraging internet volunteerism.
Melissa Bradley, CEO of Tides, explores how partnerships between for-profit and nonprofit organizations--and everything in between--can increase scale and impact. In this audio lecture, recorded at the Stanford Social Innovation Review's 2011 Nonprofit Management Institute, Bradley discusses the current landscape of the social sector, and what scale and impact really mean. She also shares case studies of successful partnerships and the "top ten" lessons we can draw from collaborations.
Students who used the "Reading Like a Historian" curriculum outperformed their peers in traditional history classrooms, study finds.
Maternova was founded in 2009 as a mission-driven for-profit organization with two main objectives: (1) to provided online knowledge platform that would allow health workers, innovators, and individuals working in the field to track tools and with the potential to save lives in childbirth, and (2) to bundle and sell a select number of low-cost tools to equip frontline health workers to do their jobs more effectively.
Expressions of gratitude motivate others’ prosocial behavior. When people are thanked for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of social worth, which inspires them to engage in further helpful acts. In short, gratitude proves to be the gift that keeps on giving because it makes others feel valued.