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


Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2010

How funders can help grantees track their progress more effectively

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2010

The world’s first universal cash transfer program is in Namibia and provides cash with no strings attached

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2010

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

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2010

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

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
[photo - Peter Gleick]

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.

Resource: News Article
[photo - New Technology]

For a d.School course called “Design for Extreme Affordability,” Jane Chen and three of her classmates developed a low-cost baby incubator tailored to the needs of the developing world. That incubator—a reusable heating pouch—became the Embrace Infant Warmer, and ultimately launched Embrace and Embrace Innovations, a joint social enterprise promoting child and maternal health across the globe. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Jake Harriman]

Jake Harriman,'08, explains how rejecting conventional wisdom about financing a nonprofit helped him turn his vision into a real intervention.

Resource: News Article
[photo - What Makes a Happy vs. Meaningful Life?]

Professor Frank Flynn looks at the difference between “happiness” and “meaning” in life –– and how these two concepts relate to being prosocial.

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
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2008

Public nursing homes outshine nonprofits and for-profits.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2008

Polak offers entrepreneurial solutions to poverty in Asia and Africa.  Review by Paul S. Hudnut

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2008

Would-be EDs cite inadequate mentoring, low pay, and poor lifestyle as career obstacles.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2008

In new democracies, right-leaning elections attract foreign investors.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2008

In most parts of the world, strangers helping strangers is strange.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Strained relations between Congress and foundations.

Resource: Blog Post

Questions about how the Moore Foundation operates.

Resource: Blog Post

What’s the role of foundations in public policy?

Resource: Blog Post
Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Nick Yeo]
TakingITGlobal is an online social network that enables socially conscious youth worldwide to learn about and take action on global issues. Kriss Deiglmeier, the Center for Social Innovation Center executive director, conducts an audio interview with Nick Yeo about how the endeavor leverages its online platform to partner with other organizations and inspire youth to make a difference.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Gary Smith]

Timberland, the footwear and apparel company headquartered in New Hampshire, is putting good old New England values to work to integrate socially responsible management practices throughout the value chain. Speaking at Stanford during the 2007 Responsible Supply Chains Conference, Gary Smith demonstrates in this audio lecture how in the more than 35 countries where his firm has a business presence, doing good does not have to be at odds with doing well.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Tony Prophet]

With energy costs on the rise and the U.S. government expected to push for reduced carbon emissions, environmental sustainability has become a market imperative for Hewlett-Packard. Speaking at Stanford for the 2007 Responsible Supply Chains Conference, HP's senior VP of personal systems, Tony Prophet, shares how his company is working to reduce its environmental footprint throughout the product life cycle.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Stuart Smolkin]

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Stuart Smolkin's conveyor belt manufacturing company, Intralox, had no disaster plan in place. The company had to deal with the disruption of electricity, phones, and computer systems in order to organize evacuated employees into recovery teams. How did Intralox get running again in a mere 30 days? In this Stanford podcast, Smolkin offers lessons on preparedness for businesses faced with disruption.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Maria Eitel]

Nike has taken pains to clean up its act since the media brought public attention to human rights violations in its supplier factories in the 1990s. Through the Nike Foundation, the sports and fitness giant is taking a proactive approach to some of the world's most challenging social problems. In this audio lecture, Nike Foundation president Maria Eitel talks to a Stanford MBA audience about how the organization is focusing on creating economic opportunities for adolescent girls around the world as a means of alleviating poverty.

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

How does an organization get through the evaluation process and live to tell about it? In this panel, part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, funders and fundees on both sides of the table from a variety of organizations in the areas of education and social services talk about what it was like to be in the trenches of successful evaluation processes. They tease out common success factors, including how to work collaboratively across sectors and with multiple constituents.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Darrell Steinberg and Van Jones]

Recent fires, floods, and foreclosures may be clear signs that we are caught in twin crises: economic downturn and environmental devastation. In this panel discussion from The Commonwealth Club of California, Van Jones and Darrell Steinberg offer a unique solution to this complex set of problems.

Resource: Audio
[photo - William Brindley]

Aid organizations around the world are learning that they can solve their technology and infrastructure problems faster and cheaper together than on their own. Enabling that collaboration is NetHope, a nonprofit information technology consortium helping NGOs establish the technology "ecosystems" they need to serve constituencies in more than 150 countries. Eric Nee interviews Bill Brindley, CEO of NetHope, on how the consortium got started, how it works, and how it is expanding its mission.

Resource: Audio

Nonprofits tend to collect a great deal of evaluative data but often have no idea how to use it to assess their performance--particularly because doing so properly is a complicated process requiring serious social sciences knowledge. In this panel discussion, part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, two experts talk about how an organization may better use such data--as well as "external" information in the form of theory and advice--to create a "culture of inquiry" focused on learning and improvement.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Carol Larson]

What does it take to keep a large foundation focused on evaluation for self-improvement? As part of the Stanford Social Innovation Review's conference on evaluation, Carol Larson, CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, shares tools, lessons, and strategies for assessing performance to create a "culture of inquiry." Organizational qualities such as innovation, collaboration among stakeholders, and freedom to make "mistakes" are critical elements to foster an effective learning enterprise.

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

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. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

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. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura Arrillaga]

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. 

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

How can the Unites States get its K-12 schools out of their current crisis? In this panel, experts from various fields who are passionate about improving our kids' lives and our nation's future discuss why things are failing, what's working to make them better, and what the best options are, from teacher education to integrating technology. They spoke at the Global Education Conference at Stanford.

Resource: Audio

Elections sometimes give policy makers incentives to pander — to implement policies that voters think are in their best interest even though the policy maker knows they are not, says Professor Kenneth Shotts. In general, an effective media reduces this tendency to pander, "but there are some exceptions to this general rule."

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Todd Park]

The Veteran's Administration, Medicare, and Medicaid make up the largest repository of public health data in the world, and now it's being made available in appropriate forms for the use of patients and innovators alike. Todd Parks, CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, wants to change the fee structure of healthcare from "Fee for Service" to something more efficient, and he's freeing up information on public health so everyone can see and help design better health systems.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Daniel Kreeger]

Could it be that Defense takes the lead on climate change initiatives? An important DoD report cited climate change as a top national security concern. On this Future of Green Call, Daniel Kreeger explains how Defense is planning ways to avoid conflict over essential supplies such as clean water, resource consumption and keeping bases safe from predicted coastal flooding. Discussion also includes lessons learned from climate catastrophes and how to respond more quickly and efficiently to crisis.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Liberty & Justice sewing]

Building a fair-trade manufacturing business in Liberia is helping entrepreneur Chid Liberty realize a goal. "You can make money and do good at the same time," he told a Stanford University audience.

Resource: News Article
Corner