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Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

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[photo - Peter Loscher]

Siemens AG needed a new set of corporate leaders and standards to recover from one of the worst scandals in corporate history, says Peter Löscher, the CEO brought in to reform the firm.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2011

Companies that invest in their lowest-level employees are more productive and more profitable.

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

Social network and professional network combined: a low-income neighborhood works together to meet the needs of the community in an environmentally responsible way.

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

The volatile combination of profit-seeking microfinance companies, minimal competition, and vulnerable borrowers has opened up dangerous potential for exploiting the poor. The microcredit industry needs to be regulated—through policies that address transparency, high interest rates, and abusive loan recovery practices.

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

How a private-public-academic partnership is helping people with serious mental illnesses find and keep jobs.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
[photo - Picture: Gary Hirshberg]

Two pioneers of the organic food industry say a growing awareness of global warming and other issues is making corporate America eager to get into markets once not taken seriously.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Romain Wacziarg]

Romain Wacziarg explores the causes of wealth and poverty in hopes of uncovering the mystery of haves and have-nots. He considers the effect politcal systems, human capital, and economic institutions have on a country's ability to improve its citizens' quality of life.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Kathleen McCarthy]

Many believe the foundation sector is on the cusp of a golden age. Baby boomers will soon inherit a tremendous amount of wealth and will be able to start to seriously give away their money. But even with this rosy picture, Kathleen McCarthy, director of the Center for the Study of Philanthropy at the City University of New York, says the future of foundations is less secure than most people think.

Resource: News Article

A discussion of the issues of race and class that emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina argued the disaster brought Americans out of a sense of complacency and forced them to address some long-simmering issues in society.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Luther Ragin]

Luther Ragin of the Heron Foundation argues that the prevailing model of philanthropic organizations giving away just 5 percent of their funds each year may be shortchanging charitable causes.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2009

Manchester Bidwell Corporation replicates by adapting general strategies to local cultures. —By Suzie Boss

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2009

RAMP nurtures local inventors in India, Peru, and Indonesia. —By Aaron Dalton

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2009

The B Corp seal of approval distinguishes truly responsible businesses from mere poseurs. —By Jenna Lawrence

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2009

Tweeters come together for spontaneous gatherings of like-minded philanthropists.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2009

Texting emerges as a source of confirmation for drug legitimacy.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

What is happening overall in philanthropic capital markets?

Resource: Blog Post

Telling their stories is a powerful way for nonprofits to fundraise.

Resource: Blog Post

We should be focused on cultivating and developing the leaders we already have in the nonprofit sector, instead of trying to attract 640,000 new ones.

Resource: Blog Post

An unresponsive political system has spurred the need for nonprofits.

Resource: Blog Post

Is “return on investment” the right measure for evaluating the work of nonprofits?

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Rob Reich]

Given current tax laws, $300 billion in charitable dollars can end up costing the U.S. Treasury $50 billion in lost income. Should taxable income exclude charitable contributions? In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Stanford political philosopher Rob Reich asks some tough questions, ultimately proposing a new way of looking at tax incentives to support the nonprofit sector.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Mark Kramer]

At its worst, program evaluation is a useless activity that generates lots of boring data and irrelevant conclusions. But at its best, argues Mark Kramer in a talk he gave at the 2008 Nonprofit Management Institute, it can be a strategic tool for the genuine improvement of a nonprofit. He offers exemplars of organizations that have used evaluation effectively to advance their missions.

Resource: Audio
[photo - John Podesta]

To support environmental sustainability and reduce the threat of global warming, the first line of defense is to avoid using fossil fuels. In this university podcast followed by questions from the audience, John Podesta suggests that this can be done by focusing on greater energy efficiency--both at personal and policy levels.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Laurie Marker]
The threat of animal habitat loss is one of the major issues in the environmental sustainability arena. In this audio interview by Sheela Sethuraman, Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund talks about a multi-pronged effort including habitat restoration, resource management education, and job creation to address that threat to cheetas, in particular. She describes the creative measures she has taken to save cheetahs and improve the lives of the people who live near them.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Neal Denton]
Nonprofit management faces one of its biggest challenges in the arena of disaster relief. In this audio interview, Neal Denton, senior VP of government relations and strategic partnerships at the American Red Cross discusses the value of his organization's relationship to the Partnership for Disaster Response. He discusses plans for strengthening this relationship and the role of the private sector in disaster response.
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
[photo - James D. Wolfensohn]
The recent financial crisis has highlighted the interconnectedness among economies in today's world. In this audio interview, Stanford MBA student Lisa Scheible talks with James Wolfensohn, former president of World Bank, about how the crisis has changed the way global institutions and firms that are engaged in emerging market economies must operate to promote long-term development and prosperity.
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
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

In December 2000, New Schools Venture Fund was debating the role it should play in helping a for-profit investee, LearnNow, attract new capital. Should New Schools, a public charity seeking to improve K-12 education, be investing in for-profit ventures?

Resource: Academic Case

In December 2000, New Schools Venture Fund was debating whether, as a public charity seeking to improve K-12 education, it should be investing in for-profit ventures. Part B of the case provides an update on how New Schools Venture Fund is approaching these questions.

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

By the end of 1993, the San Francisco Symphony faced a shift in its financial fortunes, with forecasts predicting annual budget shortfalls. The executive committee must develop a strategy for the symphony that balances its financial needs and its artistic commitments and aspirations.

Resource: Academic Case

Mark Alsentzer, an investor in Earth Care, took over leadership of the business when it got into trouble in 1996. He focused on a two-pronged strategy to invest in research to speed up the manufacturing process to turn plastic into lumber, and to increase product recognition.

Resource: Academic Case

How does one think systematically about innovations in philanthropy? Innovations explored include endeavors such as the professional foundation and federated community campaigns, as well as modern innovations such as charitable giving funds, e-philanthropy, and venture philanthropy.

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 - Jennifer Aaker]

GSB Marketing Professor Jennifer Aaker says social media can help for-profits, nonprofits, and government organizations address a deficit of trust in our current culture.

Resource: News Article
[Video-Bill Gates Says Foreign Aid is Threatened, but Big Ideas Can Turn the Tide]

Just off a plane from Africa, Bill Gates visits Stanford to talk about innovation, but not the software kind. Scientists and engineers, he said, need to focus on products that help improve the lives of the world's poor even though the market directs people to help the wealthiest.

Resource: Video
[photo - Design that Matters]

Incubators can prevent infant deaths from hypothermia, shorten hospital stays, and reduce the rate of neonatal complications that can lead to lifelong illness and disability. Unfortunately, they are far too expensive for many resource-constrained settings, particularly developing countries. Design that Matters (DtM) partnered with CIMIT to develop a concept incubator that was uniquely suited to the context of a developing country, made with parts already abundant in the environment. The results was NeoNurture. Although NeoNurture was never brought to the market, the process of developing this product introduced important insights about designing contextually appropriate projects. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. When the first MoneyMaker pumps were brought to market, they were accepted by rural African farmers as affordable, versatile, durable, easy to maintain, and culturally appropriate. However,  KickStart subsequently faced significant challenges manufacturing MoneyMaker pumps in sufficient volumes and at a reasonable cost. This mini-case study examines how KickStart addressed these challenges to established high quality, affordable manufacturing for the long term.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PlayPumps]

Trevor Field, a retired British businessman and outdoor advertising executive, was deeply moved when he observed women and and girls in rural villages of South Africa shouldering the daily burden of collecting water. When he became aware  of a technology that was meant to serve as both a children's merry-go-round and community water pump, he founded Roundabout Outdoor to manufacture, install, and maintain the product known as PlayPump. 

Resource: Academic Case
Corner