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Social Innovation

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The for-profit sector steps up to play its role in Africa's economic development.

Resource: News Article

Combining high and low tech, IBM's famous R&D lab tackles the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing continent.

Resource: News Article

How a New York-based company is trying to make surgery in the developing world a lot easier.

Resource: News Article

Nigeria's reform-minded central banker discusses government waste, austerity, and growth.

Resource: News Article

A new study finds that a different approach to food-relief efforts in the developing world could save more lives.

Resource: News Article

The for-profit sector steps up to play its role in Africa's economic development.

Resource: News Article

Combining high and low tech, IBM's famous R&D lab tackles the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing continent.

Resource: News Article

How a New York-based company is trying to make surgery in the developing world a lot easier.

Resource: News Article

Nigeria's reform-minded central banker discusses government waste, austerity, and growth.

Resource: News Article

A new study finds that a different approach to food-relief efforts in the developing world could save more lives.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

GlobalGiving’s storytelling project turns anecdotes into useful data.

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

Under the EPA’s Audit Policy, violators who voluntarily report themselves can get certain penalties reduced or waived if they commit to ongoing self-regulation…. But is that promise any more than window dressing?

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

One Acre Fund feeds the world’s poor by helping them feed themselves.

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

Aid is increasingly focused on the “bottom billion” in extremely poor, mostly African, nations. But according to a new analysis, most of the world’s poor no longer live in these countries.

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

Engineers Without Borders’ new website, Admitting Failure, gives new life to “good failures.”  It aims to help organizations learn from others’ mistakes.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Scared foundations now regret hoarding their grants

Resource: Blog Post

Nonprofits need to think seriously about helping their employees’ with post-work survival. 

Resource: Blog Post

Nonprofit accounting rules should not be forced on anyone.

Resource: Blog Post

Interview with Abby Suckow and Connie Torrey, Collaboration Prize co-winners from the JCC and YMCA of the Greater Toledo area.

Resource: Blog Post

Tips for surviving as a Nonprofit during tough economic times. 

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Leslie John]

Can monetary incentives get people to lose weight? Yes, at least in the short term, says Harvard business professor Leslie John in this university podcast. John reports on studies using lotteries and the threat of financial loss in getting people to slim their waistlines, an important step in improving health. She spoke at the Stanford Prosocial Briefing.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Kate White]

Messaging that makes meanings easier to understand leads people to recycle more. That's the conclusion of a study reported on by Canadian Scholar Kate White in this University podcast. White says that negative messages about the dangers of not recycling work best when paired with concrete action steps, showing how to recycle. White spoke at the Stanford Prosocial Briefing.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Greg Walton]
When minority students are given subtle attitude-changing strategies to encourage a sense of belonging, their GPA goes up, the achievement gap goes down, and they report better health and well-being. That was the conclusion of a study co-led by Greg Walton and discussed in this university podcast. The results suggest that social belonging is a psychological lever where targeted intervention can have broad consequences that lessen inequalities in achievement and health. Walton spoke at the Stanford Prosocial Briefing.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Ann Bartuska]
Our planet will reach nine billion people by 2050. Are we anywhere near ready to feed that many people? In this audio lecture, Dr. Ann Bartuska of the U.S. Department of Agriculture discussed the need to connect food, water, and energy technologies to address our need for sustainable agriculture. Dr. Bartuska spoke as part of the panel "Framing the Challenges: How Can Connection Technologies Support Sustainable Development?" at the USRio+2.0 Conference at Stanford University.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Abhishek Sinha]

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.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Changing Behavior and Changing Policies: BJ Fogg]

At the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit, Director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab BJ Fogg spoke about changing behavior to build new habits.

Resource: Video
[Video-Changing Behavior and Changing Policies: Todd Park]

At the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit, Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, argued that now is the best time in history to be in the healthcare entrepreneur business.

Resource: Video
[Video-Innovative Design Saves Tiny Lives]

Jane Chen, MBA '08, has a vision of a place “babies no longer die from being cold, where people no longer die from preventable causes. And where every person has the ability to choose [his or her] own fate.”

Resource: Video
[Video-New York Excellence in Leadership Award Dinner Honoring Jacqueline Novogratz]

Jacqueline Novogratz, MBA '91, wins the 2011 Excellence in Leadership Award from the Stanford GSB.

Resource: Video
[Video-Gaming for the Greater Good]

What if games were used to solve real-world problems?

Resource: Video
[photo - Tim O'Reilly]

Collective intelligence, man-machine symbiosis, real time feedback loops from sensors… Such concepts are harbingers of a new cooperation between humans and machines. In this university podcast, media expert Tim O'Reilly discusses how lessons from technology can apply to sustainable global development. He spoke at the USRio+2.0 Conference hosted at Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Maura O'Neill]

How important are science, technology, and innovation to international development? They're nothing less than critical for lifting people out of poverty, says Maura O'Neill, chief innovation officer at USAID, in this university podcast. Speaking at the USRio+2.0 Conference hosted at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, O'Neill discusses how connection technologies, in particular, can support sustainable development around the world.

Resource: Audio

Colleges and universities need an alternative to traditional data systems so that they may better manage their student prospects and information. In this Stanford university podcast, Matthew Schnittman, president of TopSchool, talks about the organization's new online software that features the latest innovations in student management software. He spoke at the Global Education Conference at Stanford.

Resource: Audio

In just over 3 years RISE has become a leading provider of children's English language learning services in China, and has built a significant share of the children's English-language learning market. In this Stanford university podcast, Justin Cahill shares how his organization challenged conventions and disrupted the Chinese market to create this unique enterprise. He spoke at the Global Education Conference at Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Peje Emilsson]

How does a country best go about developing radical innovation in a public school system? In Sweden, they have done it through Kunskapsskolan, a creative alternative to standard public schools that charges no fees to its students. In this audio lecture, Peje Emilsson, current chair of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, discusses the reasons for Kunskapsskolan's success both inside and outside of Sweden.

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 - Erica Plambeck]

Zeta Communities is a housing company that aims to address the housing crisis by innovating old manufactured housing technology to create prerefabricated homes and simultaneously create a viable organization. Part A of the ZETA Communities case provides the background and history of the company. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Zeta Communities is a housing company that aims to address the housing crisis by innovating old manufactured housing technology to create prerefabricated homes and simultaneously create a viable organization. Part B of this case addresses the co-founder's vision for the company.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - David Larcker]

This case study examines prominent features of the governance system of Tesla Motors, as it has evolved from inception to IPO. Now that Tesla is public, how is its governance likely to change in the future?

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

Embrace was seeking an infusion of funds to support its product - a low cost infant warmer for mothers and babies in developing countries. In parallel, Acumen Fund was continuing to look for organizations with game-changing products and services in need of patient capital on their way to becoming a self-sustaining business. The potential of a financial partnership arose as did other business considerations. This case explores the persepctive of both organizations in their potential collaboration and negotiations.

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

In Januay 2009 QuestBridge, a national leader in making college a reality for bright and motivated low-income students, was able to place 1,500 high school seniors at 30 top colleges. While Quest had been successful, the organization's future growth loomed large and remained in question. The case explores the two paths Quest implemented for finaical and operational growth, but which trajectory offered the most promising strategy has yet to be determined.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Nature plays an important role in maintaining the flow and purity of water. Human activities often degrade the quality and/or quantity of water flowing to downstream users, but maintaining natural ecosystems, and sound conservation management by those living upstream in watersheds can help provide a clean, reliable supply of water for downstream water users. This case introduces the concept of ecosystem services and “payment for ecosystem services,” in which stakeholders pay in order to preserve or restore the ability of nature to provide these services.

Resource: Academic Case

In 2009, software giant SAP funded an initiative that aims to reinforce the shea nut and butter value chain in Ghana. The program, which also involves microfinance organizations PlaNet Finance, Grameen Ghana and Maata-N-Tudu, uses microfinance, education, and information technology to improve the conditions of shea women. Since enrolling in the program, women have seen significant improvements in income. This case study examines program progress to date and makes recommendations for program improvements using a value chain development framework.

Resource: Academic Case

For millions of people across Africa, motorcycles can be a key to effective health care. A well-maintained fleet of vehicles and motorcycles to connect patients, medical expertise, and medicine is sometimes the most vital link in the health delivery supply chain. A new case written for the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum describes one successful program.

Resource: Academic Case

This case details the founding story of Kiva, with particular focus on the way that Jessica Jackley and Matt Flannery have stayed true to the original mission by telling authentic stories about entrepreneurs in East Africa, and how those stories have influenced lenders and fellows. 

Resource: Academic Case

Green Dot is charter management organization that is bringing high-performance to Los Angeles, an area traditionally plagued by dismal graduating case. This case explores Green Dots the advantages and disadvantages of transformative strategy to reach a 'tipping point' in Los Angeles' educational community. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Russell Lewis Siegelman]

This case series outlines the business formation of Votizen. Founder and CEO David Binetti’s original vision was to facilitate political action and organization. His efforts to start up led him through several manifestations of the original vision, each with its own challenges and quirks. Binetti used the dual lenses of Dave McClure’s so-called “Pirate Model” and Steve Blank’s “Customer Development Model” with which to navigate the waters. The case contains an unusual amount of detail as to the trials of starting up, as well as the usage and interpretation of the metrics prescribed by McClure and Blank.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Russell Lewis Siegelman]

This case series outlines the business formation of Votizen. Founder and CEO David Binetti’s original vision was to facilitate political action and organization. His efforts to start up led him through several manifestations of the original vision, each with its own challenges and quirks. Binetti used the dual lenses of Dave McClure’s so-called “Pirate Model” and Steve Blank’s “Customer Development Model” with which to navigate the waters. The case contains an unusual amount of detail as to the trials of starting up, as well as the usage and interpretation of the metrics prescribed by McClure and Blank.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Russell Lewis Siegelman]

This case series outlines the business formation of Votizen. Founder and CEO David Binetti’s original vision was to facilitate political action and organization. His efforts to start up led him through several manifestations of the original vision, each with its own challenges and quirks. Binetti used the dual lenses of Dave McClure’s so-called “Pirate Model” and Steve Blank’s “Customer Development Model” with which to navigate the waters. The case contains an unusual amount of detail as to the trials of starting up, as well as the usage and interpretation of the metrics prescribed by McClure and Blank.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Russell Lewis Siegelman]

This case series outlines the business formation of Votizen. Founder and CEO David Binetti’s original vision was to facilitate political action and organization. His efforts to start up led him through several manifestations of the original vision, each with its own challenges and quirks. Binetti used the dual lenses of Dave McClure’s so-called “Pirate Model” and Steve Blank’s “Customer Development Model” with which to navigate the waters. The case contains an unusual amount of detail as to the trials of starting up, as well as the usage and interpretation of the metrics prescribed by McClure and Blank.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Embrace]

While at Stanford, the Embrace team developed an idea for an infant warmer to help low-birth-weight-infants. As designed, the warmer was small and light, transportable, and easy to use, and had the potential to be produced at a fraction of the cost of available incubators. The team decided to pursue their idea by creating a nonprofit called Embrace Global to further develop and commercialize the technology. Through discussion with its board of directors and other advisors, the team thought transitioning from a prototype to a market-ready product would require funding and considered equity investments. However, the team realized in using private investors, it could be more difficult to justify targeting market segments who are considered small commercially. This mini-case study explores how Embrace decided to pursue a hybrid structure and steps to balance competing priorities in a new model.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All

Differences among people in the actions they take or the opinions they express do not always reflect differences in underlying attitudes, preferences, or motivations.

Resource: Research Paper

To determine whether profit status is associated with differences in hospital days per patient, an outcome that may also be influenced by provider financial goals.

Resource: Research Paper

Medical Technologies with high "social value" can play an important role in helping safety-net providers use their resources more efficiently. However, traditional investors often see the total market potential for such technologies small relative to other, more immediate opportunities, leaving many companies struggling to secure capital, say researchers Stefanos Zenios and Lyn Denend.

Resource: Research Paper

Since the 2008 market crash, banking interests and economists have clashed over how much of their operations banks should fund with equity as opposed to debt. Bankers and others often say that, "equity is expensive." A recent paper, coauthored by three faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, argues: "Quite simply, bank equity is not expensive from a social perspective, and high leverage is not required in order for banks to perform all their socially valuable functions."

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - Photo: M. Kate Bundorf]

Employers may offer workers a choice of health plans either to promote competition among plans or cater to their preferences for different types of products. Associate Professor Kate Bundorf finds that employers who offer choice have lower average premiums, primarily because workers are enrolled in less generous plans, and cover a greater proportion of employees than those who do not.

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 - Giving 2.0 cover]

Don't just feel good about philanthropic gifts, advises Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen in her book Giving 2.0. Put your mind to work as well as your heart.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - photo - Hope Flammer]

Hope Flammer (MBA '91) and VoiceQuilt help families celebrate loved ones with voice-based toasts, tributes and favorite memories.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Leena Ved]

Leena Ved provides high quality educational opportunities for under-served children, and addresses the financing gap in impact investing by supporting early stage companies.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - photo - Peter Ohtaki]

As Executive Director of the California Resiliency Alliance (CRA), Peter Ohtaki has helped bring businesses and government together to improve disaster response and recovery.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Dana Hendrickson]

Through Rebuild Hope, Dana Hendrickson and others help wounded veterans and their families overcome short-term financial obstacles.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Glenn Carroll]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PATH]

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. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - CycleBeads]

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. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - d.light]

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. 

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. 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.

Resource: Academic Case
Corner