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Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Social Entrepreneurship

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[photo - Palace of Congress in Buenos Aires]

How Fundación RAP builds bridges across party lines.

Resource: News Article

Being an innovator is never easy. But tackling the needs of underserved patients and healthcare providers in developing countries can be especially difficult. The idiosyncrasies of the healthcare sector, the contextual barriers found in resource-constrained environments, and the already-difficult-to-implement innovation process, make entrepreneurship in global health time consuming, expensive, and risky. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Pooja Sankar]

An entrepreneur launches the Piazza social learning website to reduce students’ isolation.

Resource: News Article
[photo - CODE2040]

Just one in 14 tech employees in Silicon Valley is black or Latino. Code2040 is working to change that.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Beth Gerstein]

The cofounder of online jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth explains how she built her business. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Palace of Congress in Buenos Aires]

How Fundación RAP builds bridges across party lines.

Resource: News Article

Being an innovator is never easy. But tackling the needs of underserved patients and healthcare providers in developing countries can be especially difficult. The idiosyncrasies of the healthcare sector, the contextual barriers found in resource-constrained environments, and the already-difficult-to-implement innovation process, make entrepreneurship in global health time consuming, expensive, and risky. 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Pooja Sankar]

An entrepreneur launches the Piazza social learning website to reduce students’ isolation.

Resource: News Article
[photo - CODE2040]

Just one in 14 tech employees in Silicon Valley is black or Latino. Code2040 is working to change that.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Beth Gerstein]

The cofounder of online jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth explains how she built her business. 

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

The owner of the only certified B Corporation in Kentucky assesses the pros and cons of the certification.

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

The founder of the Kashf Foundation argues that microfinance can improve the lives of Pakistan’s next generation.

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

Unless clean tech follows well-established rules of innovation and commercialization, the industry’s promise to provide sustainable sources of energy will fail.

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

Venture into a Panera Cares café and you’ll see the same menu and racks of freshly baked breads that are staples at the 1,400 Panera Bread restaurants across the United States. The only thing missing is the cash register. Instead, there’s a donation box where customers pay on the honor system.

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

A veteran social entrepreneur provides a guide to those who are thinking through the thorny question of whether to create a nonprofit, a for-profit, or something in between.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

The author reviews Jacqueline Novogratz’s book “The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World” and draws insight from the book’s in depth presentation of social enterprise. 

Resource: Blog Post

The movement to provide capital to social enterprises is gaining momentum.

Resource: Blog Post

Social entrepreneurism should focus less on charismatic personalities, and more on ideas that work.

Resource: Blog Post

Nonprofits need to be less risk averse.

Resource: Blog Post

Kiva, the world’s first person-to-person microlending Web site, has facilitated nearly $40 million in loans to entrepreneurs worldwide.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Kathy Brennan]

A critical approach to measurement, evaluation, and data collection is needed for nonprofits to expand impact in an increasingly interconnected social world. In this panel discussion at Next Generation Evaluation conference, Kathy Brennan, Patricia Bowie, and Lucy Bernholz give provocative overviews of developmental evaluation research design, shared measurement for collective impact, and the social responsibility of nonprofits employing big data for good.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Hallie Preskill]

Three evolving approaches to evaluation could change how it is used in social enterprise. In this audio lecture, Hallie Preskill, FSG managing director, opens the 2013 Next Generation Evaluation conference with examples of how leading social sector organizations are thinking about and applying evaluation. Preskill discusses in detail three new approaches to evaluation: developmental evaluation, shared measurement, and big data. She explains the trends and identifies how evaluation must evolve to optimize social enterprise efforts.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Lisbeth Schorr]

Effective evaluation is about more than measuring impact—it’s about figuring out what works and why. In this panel discussion at the Next Generation Evaluation conference, Lisbeth Schorr, Fay Twersky, and Alicia Grunow discuss the implications of evaluative techniques such as shared measurement, big data, and improvement science for philanthropy and nonprofit management.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Brenda Zimmerman]

Embracing complexity is essential in social enterprise evaluation. In this audio lecture, Brenda Zimmerman, Associate Professor of Policy at York University’s Schulich School of Business, suggests approaches for addressing complexity in evaluation systems. In the closing keynote at the 2013 Next Generation Evaluation Conference, Zimmerman explores ways to embrace complexity in social sector evaluation practice. She describes how social innovation can be fostered by applying cognitive diversity to solve structural and causative complexity problems.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jacob Lief]

By a simple twist of fate, Jacob Leif found himself in post-apartheid South Africa, staring at a big paradoxical break in philanthropy - success was measured in numbers instead of long-term impact. While working at a local school, he found that supplies of books, computers, and daily lunches for the school children were plentiful. However, once the supporting nonprofit left after the funding cycle finished, the school returned right back to where it started. Lief decided to found Ubuntu Education Fund, an organization that works to support children living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In this episode of The Social Disruptors, Ned Breslin and Jacob Lief discuss the struggles of funding for long-term sustainable impact within the current philanthropic system of 12-month grant cycles.

Resource: Audio
[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-Gaming for the Greater Good]

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

Resource: Video
[Video-Design for the Ripple Effect: How a Small Act Leads to Big Change]

How can we design for the ripple effect so that small acts of goodness trigger big ones? 

Resource: Video
[Video-Social Entrepreneurship]

Missions of social impact and profit do not need to be opposed, say social entrepreneurs. In fact, bringing the two together in a double bottom line can create dynamic new opportunities.

Resource: Video
[Video-New Biodesign Book Tackles Innovation: Prof. Stefanos Zenios]

Q&A with Stefano Zenios on his new book, Biodesign: The Process of Innovating Medical Technologies.

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
[photo - Kathy Brennan]

A critical approach to measurement, evaluation, and data collection is needed for nonprofits to expand impact in an increasingly interconnected social world. In this panel discussion at Next Generation Evaluation conference, Kathy Brennan, Patricia Bowie, and Lucy Bernholz give provocative overviews of developmental evaluation research design, shared measurement for collective impact, and the social responsibility of nonprofits employing big data for good.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Hallie Preskill]

Three evolving approaches to evaluation could change how it is used in social enterprise. In this audio lecture, Hallie Preskill, FSG managing director, opens the 2013 Next Generation Evaluation conference with examples of how leading social sector organizations are thinking about and applying evaluation. Preskill discusses in detail three new approaches to evaluation: developmental evaluation, shared measurement, and big data. She explains the trends and identifies how evaluation must evolve to optimize social enterprise efforts.

Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found
[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
[photo - Mulago Foundation]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. When it comes to making investments, one of the most important aspects of the Mulago approach is the ability of the organization to have a measurable impact. Mulago needed to develop an approach to the measurement of impact that was simple enough for an early-state, resource-constrained, organization to carry out. This mini-case study describes the five-step framework that the Foundation developed.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo -  J. Gregory Dees]

This seminal paper defines the term social entrepreneurship and helps shape, what was in 1998, the nascent field of social entrepreneurship.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
[photo - Stefanos Zenios]

This course examines health care businesses and how they use technology (primarily biotechnology, medical technology, and information technology) to improve patient outcomes and manage costs. Through case studies, students gain an in-depth understanding of how new technologies get developed and commercialized in health care, and of how the whole health care value chain adapts to new technologies.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Jacqueline Novogratz]

In turbulent times like ours, we need “hard-edged hope,” says Jacqueline Novogratz, the much-celebrated founder of the Acumen Fund. Affirming that the world is indeed a better place now than it was 40 years ago, she traces her own journey from a childhood witnessing racial inequities all around her in Detroit to a career leading the field of social impact investing.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Lee Zimmerman]

As co-owners of Evergreen Lodge in Yosemite, a social enterprise that combines environmental stewardship and socially-minded employment strategies, Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh discuss keys and barriers to success, potential for scale, and opportunities for the future.

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 - Dana Hendrickson]

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

Resource: Alumni
[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
[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
[photo - Kathy Brennan]

A critical approach to measurement, evaluation, and data collection is needed for nonprofits to expand impact in an increasingly interconnected social world. In this panel discussion at Next Generation Evaluation conference, Kathy Brennan, Patricia Bowie, and Lucy Bernholz give provocative overviews of developmental evaluation research design, shared measurement for collective impact, and the social responsibility of nonprofits employing big data for good.

Resource: Audio
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