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Social Innovation

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A class brings together students from across Stanford to create and build products for some of the world's poorest people.

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 class brings together students from across Stanford to create and build products for some of the world's poorest people.

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
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 - Ridwan Djamaluddin]

In Indonesia, warning technology exists to alert people to coming weather catastrophes like tsunamis, but too few people have access to the information. So says Ridwan Djamaluddin, Indonesia's deputy chairman for Natural Resources Development, in this university podcast. He discusses the important role of connection technology in increasing the efficiency of tools and enhancing partnerships between governments and their people. Djamaluddin spoke at the USRio+2.0 Conference, hosted by Stanford.

Resource: Audio

When a group of friends went to work using social media to help pair their colleague diagnosed with leukemia with a bone marrow donor, a project they named the Dragonfly Effect was born. In this university podcast, Stanford business professor Jennifer Aaker talks about how the lessons emerging from this simple and heartfelt enterprise can apply to any group that wants to use the Internet to promote a good cause. She spoke at the USRio+2.0 Conference, hosted by Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Paul Kedrosky]

Sustainable economic growth -- be it in the United States or beyond -- doesn't come through status quo thinking, it comes through connectivity, flux, and a "collision" of people and ideas. So says Paul Kedrosky of the Kauffman Foundation in this university podcast. Addressing an audience of international ministers from developing countries, and technology and NGO professionals at the USRio+2.0 Conference at Stanford, he argues for entrepreneurism as the path to innovation and growth.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Eric Dishman]

In a world in which there may not be enough capacity to take care of an increasingly older and sicker population, how may mobile and home-based technologies will be used to facilitate healthcare? That's the question explored by Eric Dishman, director of health innovation at Intel, in this university podcast. He looks at how technologies such as broadband can inexpensively support non-acute healthcare services. Dishman spoke at the USRio+2.0 Conference, hosted by Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Michael Jones]

Technology is increasingly being used to support sustainable development, and Google is on the leading edge of that trend. In this university podcast, Google's chief technology advocate, Michael Jones, addresses an audience of international government ministers from developing countries as well as technology and NGO professionals convened by the US State Department and the Stanford Graduate School of Business on the topic. He spoke at the USRio+2.0 Conference, hosted by Stanford.

Resource: Audio
[Video-The Future of the Healthcare Sector: John Capek]

At the 2011 GSB Healthcare Summit, John Capek, Executive Vice President of Abbott's Medical Devices business, shares his thoughts on the future of the healthcare sector.

Resource: Video
[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
[photo - Nathalie Kylander]

Branding plays a unique and powerful role in the nonprofit sector. In this audio lecture from Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Harvard researcher Nathalie Kylander discusses how a strategic brand can enable an organization to build capacity and impact. Based on research conducted at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofits, Kylander shares the framework that she and her colleagues developed to help nonprofit leaders develop a more strategic approach to managing their nonprofit brand—one that creates greater social impact and tighter organizational cohesion.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspectives from California]

California, the ninth largest economy in the world, recently launched a new carbon cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, leads this program that could provide a model to support other regional or national efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Video
[Video-US-wide Carbon Policy: Two MBAs' Perspectives]

As part of the annual Conradin Von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment, Mike Volpe, MBA '13, and Jake Saper, MBA '14, lay out an argument for a US-wide carbon policy.

Resource: Video
[photo - Lucy Bernholz]

What is a “social economy” and how is it affecting leaders in nonprofit management? In this audio lecture from Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Lucy Bernholz and Rob Reich, thought leaders in philanthropy and technology, describe what the social economy is and how it came about, the changes it has sparked, and the implications for how nonprofits are run.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Heather McLeod Grant]

Can smaller and local nonprofit organizations still have major impact? In this audio lecture from Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Heather McLeod Grant, senior consultant at the Monitor Institute and co-author of Forces for Good, shares successful strategies of high-impact nonprofits and how small and local nonprofits can apply them.

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 - Katherine Casey]

Research in Sierra Leone offers insights into how to help voters elect better leaders, dampen ethnic rivalries, and strengthen democracy.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Solar Power]

Report from Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance outlines four scenarios for industry “glocalization."

Resource: News Article
[photo - Sarah Soule]

A Stanford scholar discusses a collaborative, human-centered approach to solving some of the world's most pressing problems.

Resource: News Article
[photo - crowdfunding]

A group of economists turns to an unusual source for funding: strangers.

Resource: News Article
[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
Corner