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


[photo - David Dodson]

Project Healthy Children works with governments and manufacturers to bring fortified foods to people at risk.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Developing Nigeria With Humility and Hard Work]

The cofounder of Pagatech learns to balance the cultures of two countries and expand access to financial services.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Debra Meyerson]

A study of oil rigs shows that a different approach to male-dominated environments can change corporate culture.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Medical technology needs to solve a need and be cost-effective.]

A physician-turned-administrator at Kaiser Permanente discusses cost-effective innovations that improve care. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Mandy O'Neill]

A researcher says at least part of the answer is that people are more than their potential.

Resource: News Article
[photo - David Dodson]

Project Healthy Children works with governments and manufacturers to bring fortified foods to people at risk.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Developing Nigeria With Humility and Hard Work]

The cofounder of Pagatech learns to balance the cultures of two countries and expand access to financial services.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Debra Meyerson]

A study of oil rigs shows that a different approach to male-dominated environments can change corporate culture.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Medical technology needs to solve a need and be cost-effective.]

A physician-turned-administrator at Kaiser Permanente discusses cost-effective innovations that improve care. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Mandy O'Neill]

A researcher says at least part of the answer is that people are more than their potential.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Lending circles, self-help groups, and study circles are all examples of one of the oldest and most effective tools for creating personal and social change. Leveraging the potential of Circles requires a clear understanding of what they are and how they work.

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

The CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation and the managing director of Versant Ventures provide an introduction to innovations for better health care at lower cost.

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

Many nonprofit leaders seek reliable funding but are not sure how best to pursue it. Four guidelines provide a road map for leaders to identify and develop the right funding model for their organization.

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

By mapping a company’s relationship to the economy in which it operates—and by leveraging the relationships it discovers in that process—businesses can do much to advance their strategic objectives and advance local economic growth.

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

GIVING WELL: The Ethics of Philanthropy by Patricia Illingworth, Thomas Pogge, & Leif Wenar

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

High school kids restore faith in the next generation of social change. 

Resource: Blog Post

Twitter and Search prove promising to the nonprofit world. 

Resource: Blog Post

The White House is about to announce the creation of the Office of Social Innovation. 

Resource: Blog Post

This blog is the last of Marcia Stepanek’s coverage of the Skoll World Forum 2009 at Oxford University.

Resource: Blog Post

Board experience proves invaluable to leadership development.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Al Gore]

Former Vice President Al Gore describes how Corporate Social Responsibility is essential to Environmental Sustainability, as he shares his insights in the View from the Top series at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In this audio lecture, Gore addresses leadership and climate crisis solutions, providing data on population fertility management and the effects of current technology. Gore details how hyper-inequality is threatening to both Capitalism and Democracy, before suggesting alternatives for Sustainable Capitalism.

Resource: Audio
[photo - C.B. Bhattacharya]

In this talk, visiting Stanford professor and author C.B. Bhattacharya shares his research into the importance of stakeholder-driven corporate social responsibility initiatives with members of the Stanford Center for Social Innovation community.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jake Harriman]

Nuru International is a social venture fighting to address extreme poverty, the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation. In this audio interview, Jonathan Chang speaks with Jake Harriman, Founder and CEO of Nuru International. Harriman tells the story of his personal path to working with the rural populations of Kenya and Ethiopia. He explains his focus on solutions to poverty that consider more than strictly financial definitions as part of our ongoing Impact Innovators series.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Sal Giambanco]

Attracting, engaging, and retaining the right talent is key to successful nonprofit management. In this audio lecture from the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Omidyar Network partner Sal Giambanco discusses how a nonprofit can build a strong team to reach its organization’s core objectives. He shares specific approaches to building a talent pipeline and maximizing productivity to enrich a nonprofit’s management strategy.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Akaya Windwood]

In an increasingly polarized and complex world, leaders can no longer afford to work in isolation. In this audio lecture from the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Rockwood Leadership Institute president Akaya Windwood discusses how we can get our movements and sectors to work together to advance the common good. Windwood discusses specific tools that we can utilize to build communities of interconnected leaders in order to make social movements more effective.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Pharmaceutical Innovation ]

What can pharmaceutical companies do to contribute to global health?

Resource: Video
[Video-How the Food Industry Is Impacting Global Health: David Kessler]

Why has American obesity increased so dramatically in the past four decades? How can this trend be reversed?

Resource: Video
[Video-Reengineering Aid: Sir Richard Feachem ]

What impact has aid had on health in developing countries? Has it had an impact?

Resource: Video
[Video-Using Technology to Redesign Delivery of Care: Andrew Thompson ]

Andrew Thompson, CEO of Proteus Biomedical, reveals how technology can be used to make healthcare accessible to everyone in the world at the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit.

Resource: Video
[Video-Changing Behaviors and Changing Policies: Sheena Iyengar]

At the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit, Sheena Iyengar, Professor of Business at Columbia University's Business School, shared her research on why people make the choices they do.

Resource: Video
[photo - Marcia Stepanek]

Social media strategy is essential for nonprofit management. In this audio lecture from the Social Media on Purpose conference, presented by Stanford Social Innovation Review and Tides, journalist and new media strategist Marcia Stepanek discusses a framework for developing social media strategies for nonprofits or social mission organizations. By sharing specific examples and presenting an outline, Stepanek demonstrates the value of social media for nonprofit management.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Katrina Benjamin]

Slave labor is an abject evil that many in developing nations are working to eliminate. At the same time, even if you live far from enslaved workers, slave labor creates everyday moral challenges. Today nearly all of us use items that are tainted by slave labor. In this short audio lecture, Katrina Benjamin describes the degrading conditions of enslaved people, and outlines four specific examples where slavery is a an integral part of the consumer supply chain. Benjamin describes the environmental problems associated with slavery, and suggests ways that commercial and non-profit organizations can work to eliminate slavery through cooperative social responsibility.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Dr. Kohl Gill]

Real time information drives improvement in workforce management from both a social responsibility and operational perspective. In this short audio lecture, Dr. Kohl Gill discusses LaborVoices, Inc., a mobile technology platform that brings transparency to supply chain management through the voices of workers. Dr. Gill believes that if supply chain executives ask the right questions and are patient with the answers, LaborVoices can help improve social-environmental performance and improve bottom lines.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Ned Breslin]

Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, tells us where he draws his inspiration from and where he gets his perspective on social change from – punk rock. In the first episode of his “Social Disruptors” series, Ned argues that the story arc of punk, its relentless push for change, offers important insights into how social entrepreneurs operate everywhere, whether they like punk rock or not.

Resource: Audio

Environmental sustainability is essential to business today. In this audio lecture, Alex Cummings of Coca Cola relates how his company aims to double its business in a decade by improving packaging and supply chain logistics through social entrepreneurship. Cummings relates stories of using organic material in plastic bottles and empowering one-woman distribution companies in rural Africa. He describes strategic partnerships to strengthen corporate citizenship in local communities, using renewable resources and recycling projects to enhance international development.

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
[photo - Diagnostics for the Real World]

Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) focuses on manufacturing and commercializing technologies that addresses the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it possible to conduct field-based screenings in remote, low-resource settings. DRW believed the CRTs were commercially attractive; however market introduction was met with stakeholder resistance and funder/consumer misalignment. This case explores the potential gap between the solution and market demand, as well as DRW's response.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DRW]

Diagnostics of  the Real World (DRW), a for-profit spinout from the Diagnostics Development Unit at the University of Cambridge, is focused on manufacturing and commercializing technologies created at the university that can help address the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it feasible to conduct field- based chlamydia screenings. The team discovered that although chlamydia was a significant global health concern, its as not necessarily a top priority for nongovernmental organizations. There was also no ready-make market or large-scale demand for the CRT in developing countries. The case study describes the multi-source funding strategy DRW devised to support its operations without losing sight of its mission. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DoseRight]

Traditional Borders (BTB), Rice 360°’s undergraduate program, challenges students to solve global health problems through real-world engineering design.  By pairing students with faculty, clinicians, and mentors in developing world, BTB teams had designed an impressive portfolio for effective, low-cost medical technologies. However, the temporary nature of student teams and specialized focus of these inventions proved difficult to realize these projects in the market to create consistent solutions. This mini-case study tells the story of of BTB began working with 3rd Stone Design, a design, strategy, and development consultancy, to accelerate progress on their project DosRight Syringe Clip out of the lab and into the market. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - DoseRight]

When 3rd Stone Design, a product design, strategy, and development consultancy, licensed the DoseRight Syringe Clip out of the Rice University Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) program, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) had placed a preliminary order for 200,000 units. The DoseRight product was a simple plastic clip, inserted into the top portion of a standard oral syringe to facilitate the accurate pediatric dosing of liquid ARV medications in countries with widespread HIV/AIDs. However, 3rd Stone Design encountered problems when their prototype could not be manufactured in high volumes at an affordable price. This case study explores how 3rd Stone Design modified its product design to fulfill the CHAI order. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - JaipurFoot]

When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the JaipurFoot Organization's clinics across India, the students were eager to dive into the technical aspects of developing a product. However, they learned the organization already used an inexpensive joint that through research, discovered that associated emotional and psychological issues needed to be addressed in creating a better design. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - JaipurKnee]

When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the JaipurFoot Organization’s clinics across India.  While Sadler and his teammates viewed their early experience with the JaipurFoot Organization as incredibly valuable, the team decided that it wanted to make its low-cost knee joint available to amputees beyond the Jaipur clinics in India. Unfortunately, they discovered significant market barriers as many amputees who would benefit from their product are treated by multiple scattered and remote clinics. This case describes how the JaipurKnee team developed a strategy to access its target market and scale up its business. 

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

Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois was one of the best attended and most influential churched in the United States. It was devoted to seekers and dedicated to helping the otherwise "unchurched" towards conversion and spiritual maturity. Executive pastor, Greg Hawkins, led the church in a strategic planning process to better understand "what was happening in the hearts and minds of their existing and potential customers." This case explores Willow's decision to bring this type of research to its church and apply analytical techniques to understand the needs of the congegration. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Life Force Kiosk]

Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In implementing this model, Life Force Kiosks would depend on a portion of the money collected from consumers to help underwrite the costs of the program and enable it to become sustainable on a long-term basis. Accordingly, it needed a system for tracking inventory, as well as the payments made, but corruption at the vendor Life Force Kiosks ultimately devised. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Life Force Kiosk]

Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In Kenya, slums are used to bringing their water containers to locla water taps and paying water vendors to fill them. Life Force Kiosks equips these water vendors with supplies and container cleaning serves to customers for a small incremental charge. When the founder of Life Force Kiosks was ready to launch this new service, he recognized the importance of hiring people from the community to help him establish and expand his operations. This case study explores his approach to identifying and collaborating with a local team. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefan J. Reichelstein]

Environmental stewardship was part of REI's culture and corporate purpose since the company was founded. The corporate social responsibility group, which oversaw the environmental sustainabilityprogram, took the approach that social and financial objectives should not be viewed as a tradeoff and instead would lead to creative and innovative solutions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Gradian]

After observing too many unnecessary injuries and deaths caused by surgeries that were interrupted or canceled due to the unavailability of anesthesia, Dr. Paul Fenton designed a device called the Universal Anaesthesia Machine (UAM) that could deliver safe, reliable anesthesia even in the midst of a power outage. Unfortunately, Fenton was unable to convince investors to provide funding so he could further develop his innovation. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Gradian]

After observing too many unnecessary injuries and deaths caused by surgeries that were interrupted or canceled due to the unavailability of anesthesia, Dr. Paul Fenton designed a devices called the Universal Anesthesia Machine (UAM) that could deliver safe, reliable anesthesia even in the midst of a power outage. On of Gradian Health System's early challenges was determining how to position and market the UAM to four distinct but interconnected stakeholder groups. They were able to  to get off the ground mostly through referrals, but Gradian did not consider this to be a sustainable approach. The cast study examines how Gradian developed a comprehensive marketing strategy for stimulating UAM adoption. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Impact Review]

 

While enrolled in a course focused on entrepreneurship, a team of Stanford students set out to create a platform for developing-world healthcare providers that would facilitate improved information sharing bout high-impact, affordable solutions in the material and infant health space. The result was Impact Review, an online knowledge-base. When the team members graduated from Stanford, they had to determine what was next for Impact Review. This mini-case study describes how the Impact Review team explored its options and the solution it developed to ensure the sustainability of the technology. 

 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Mobius Motors manufactures and sells low-cost cars in the Kenyan market. The company strives to make the cars such that they are affordable, yet still perform well on Africa’s generally poor road networks. The company has attracted a lot of attention from development and venture financiers, and has ambitious plans to expand throughout the African continent. However, Mobius’s fleet of vehicle is still currently very small, and the company faces many strategic challenges on both the demand and the supply side of the business. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Phoenix]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo - Geoffrey Cohen]

Graduate School of Business Professor Geoffrey Cohen and co-authors used the dispute over the HPV vaccine to test the cultural cognition thesis, which holds that people evaluate risk based on their contested beliefs about the good society. They found that disagreement about the risks of the vaccine was generated through two principal means, biased assimilation and the credibility heuristic.

Resource: Research Paper

Deborah Gruenfeld of the Stanford Graduate School of Business had some sobering news to share with a group of high-level women executives and entrepreneurs. "When it comes to leadership," Gruenfeld told the group, "there are very few differences in what men and women actually do and how they behave. But there are major differences in perception.

Resource: Research Paper

In summary, we find evidence that firms in developing countries are often badly managed, which substantially reduces their productivity.

Resource: Research Paper

Virtue seems to pay according to Professor Charles M.C. Lee whose research shows that publicly-held firms in countries perceived as less corrupt trade at bigger market premiums than those in places deemed more corrupt.

Resource: Research Paper

Self-regulation is the private provision of public goods and private redistribution. This paper examines the scope of self-regulation motivated by altruistic moral preferences that are reciprocal and stronger the closer are citizens in a socioeconomic distance.

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 - Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen]

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen explains how to make your giving matter more.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Yoriko Kishimoto]

As mayor of Palo Alto in 2007, Yoriko Kishimoto championed a call to action to build a green economy through innovation, including strategies for zero waste, walkable communities, renewable energy, green building, farmers markets, and open space.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Brian Cox]

The poorest regions of the world pose high risks for microfinance. Brian Cox, President of MFX Solutions, discusses how currency risk education can increase the flow of resources to Africa and other high-risk regions.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Cate Muther (MBA '78)]

Women and economic development have long been the focus for Cate Muther. Here she shares thoughts on tackling complex and entrenched problems, the effort and relentlessness it takes, and the sources of inspiration that sustain her.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jonathan Reckford (MBA '89)]

Jonathan reflects on the success that came from following his heart and his faith through a chain of experiences that led him to become CEO of Habitat for Humanity.

Resource: Alumni
[Video-Hau Lee: Value Chain Innovation in Developing Economies]

Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.

Resource: Video
[photo - John Kehoe]

TCHO, a chocolate factory in San Francisco, uses chocolate production to encourage social entrepreneurship in developing countries. In this short audio lecture, John Kehoe, VP of Sourcing and Development at TCHO, discusses the company’s complex supply chain from grower to store. Through the company’s partnership program TCHOSource, TCHO utilizes technology and innovation to work with its sourcing cooperatives around the world. The goal is to improving the growers’ livelihoods and craft while increasing quality, productivity, and sustainability.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Businesses Impact Social Policy]

New research explores the impact of gay-owned businesses on anti-discrimination laws.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Joshua Rauh]

The symposium was the culmination of massive open online course about retirement and pensions.

Resource: News Article
[photo - AP photo by Bradley C Bower]

Game theory shows why "discretionary" spending programs lead to more self-interested behavior by politicians than "mandatory" spending programs.

Resource: News Article
Corner