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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
By tailoring its methods to local values and needs, Rare has slowly seeded conservation programs in 40 countries. Yet as more and more species teeter on the brink of extinction, the organization must expand quickly. Here’s how the boutique nonprofit is delivering customized Rare Pride social marketing campaigns to millions of people in the planet’s most fragile ecosystems. —By Suzie Boss
First Social Enterprise World forum talks about how to use business to accomplish social outcomes.
Strategies for following one’s social enterprise bliss.
MBA students turn their attention to social enterprise.
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.
Jake Harriman,'08, explains how rejecting conventional wisdom about financing a nonprofit helped him turn his vision into a real intervention.
A Stanford scholar discusses a collaborative, human-centered approach to solving some of the world's most pressing problems.
A group of economists turns to an unusual source for funding: strangers.
Socially responsible brands that merge with multinationals may be abandoning their principles. —By Dara O'Rourke
Larger social service organizations may result in less innovation.
How the Union Bank of California attracts lower-income people to traditional banking. —By Laura Beaudin
Social entrepreneurship has come to be synonymous with the individual visionary – the risk taker who goes against the tide to start a new organization to create dramatic social change. The problem with focusing so much attention on the individual entrepreneur is that it neglects to recognize and support thousands of other individuals, groups, and organizations that are crafting solutions to troubles around the globe. —By Paul C. Light
Jim Collins outlines how lessons for becoming the best can translate from companies to social organizations. Review by Robert Gertner
The long-term strength of our nation relies on the level of commitment we have toward innovation. Influx of talent, new mindset and new network technologies are the new convergence of innovation. President Obama must broaden the focus across and among the private, public, and nonprofit sectors—to seek and spark the most promising innovations whether they come from commercial or social entrepreneurs, executives or line workers, community leaders, public servants, researchers, or citizens who don’t fit into any of these categories.
The White House is about to announce the creation of the Office of Social Innovation.
This blog is the last of Marcia Stepanek’s coverage of the Skoll World Forum 2009 at Oxford University.
Reporting from the 6th annual Skoll World Forum for social innovation
“There’s no question: with public trust in CEOs and corporations at rock-bottom and the change mantra out of Washington [and Davos] and this week’s TED2009 still freshly potent, cause-wired social entrepreneurs have never had a better opportunity to boost traction globally for their Web-powered ideas.” - the author
Social entrepreneurship is now a path for many in the second half of life, proving that retirement can be a time of creativity, invention, and contribution, not decline. In this audio lecture, social innovator Marc Freedman discusses the huge untapped resource in potential retirees who are finding new ways to use their experience to tackle important social problems. Freedman shares the story of the creation of The Purpose Prize, a three-year initiative to invest in these new pioneers.
Can businesses deliver strong returns to shareholders while also promoting the health of people and the planet? In this audio lecture recorded at Bridging the Gap, the 2005 Stanford Net Impact conference, Gary Hirshberg, the phenomenally successful pioneer of the organic foods industry, utters a resounding yes.
When it comes to environmental sustainability, William McDonough is nothing less than a hero for the planet. In this audio lecture, he discusses how he has designed eco-friendly buildings with unique properties, such as the ability to produce oxygen. He urges his audience of Stanford Graduate School of Business students to set goals not toward an efficient bottom line of doing the wrong thing less badly, but rather toward the effective top line of doing the right thing.
Have you ever thought about launching your own social venture? Are you curious if you have what it takes to become a social entrepreneur? What funding sources are available to you? What are the challenges of running a social venture? This panel discussion brings together people from both sides of the "start-up" fence--those who started with large financial backing and those who had none.
Three social-venture experts share the process and tools they use to evaluate the impact and viability of aspiring change-makers' ideas in this panel discussion from Bridging the Gap, the Stanford 2005 Net Impact Conference organized by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. A must-hear for anyone planning on starting a social or environmental enterprise.
Stanford GSB alum ('08) founded Nuru International to maximize local leadership to drive sustainable change.
A panel on the the importance of mainstreaming and investing in green chemistry for the future of energy and the environment.
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.
Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.
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. Novogratz rallies the community of Stanford business graduates to be part of the new generation of innovative problem solvers.
There Must Be a Better Way: "We saw their coffee operation. ... Individuals picked through their coffee beans to get the high premium quality beans. ... It made you think: There MUST be a better way," says Tom Mercer, Class of '09, of his experience in Guatemala.
Social enterprise and innovation are about more than just invention. In this panel discussion, experts argue that diffusion or scaling up ideas is an integral part of making truly effective social change. Educators, nonprofit executives, and philanthropists share their perspectives about how to take innovative ideas for social change to that tipping point where they can create large-scale, lasting positive effects.
In Britain, something is happening that hasn't for 100 years. More people are becoming incredibly wealthy, not only through inheritance, but also because of their own hard work. A phenomenon on this scale has not happened since the Victorian industrialists. In this audio lecture, Philosopher Charles Handy tells his 2007 Skoll World Forum audience about entrepreneurs who put their energies into meeting some perceived social need--something that government never gets around to and that private enterprise typically doesn't see a market for.
As the boundary between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds continues to blur, how may philanthropy evolve to assist social change? In this panel discussion, academics and practitioners consider how public -- and private -- sector support may be combined in new ways in the future to fund progressive domestic and global social enterprises.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mark Alsentzer, an investor in Earth Care, took over leadership of the business when it got into trouble in 1996. He focused on a two-pronged strategy to invest in research to speed up the manufacturing process to turn plastic into lumber, and to increase product recognition.
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.
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.
This course explores the challenges and opportunities related to social entrepreneurship. Students study nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid organizational forms, and examine issues from a variety of perspectives, including that of entrepreneur, CEO, funder, and board member.
Students apply engineering and business skills to design product prototypes, distribution systems, and business plans for entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. The aim is to address challenges faced by the world's poor.
This course is designed to help students understand and manage human systems, exercise leadership, and work effectively with other people, specifically within the context of culturally diverse groups and organizations. The underlying premise is that diversity can present unique challenges and opportunities.
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.
It was the suicide of a young man that turned Vivek Garg toward using business as a means of fostering peace and reconciliation.
The March/April edition of Stanford magazine features a profile of alumnus Jeff Skoll, one of only 20 people who've ever given away $1 billion. He hopes to engage everyone in the planet's survival by leveraging the power of Hollywood.
Yohei Iwasaki and mOasis are enabling farmers to grow more crops from less water and to cultivate previously underutilized land, producing a sustainable environment that significantly reduces food and water shortages.
Most brands of organic breakfast cereals were founded by hippies who wanted to make a difference in the world in the 70s and 80s. Since then, many have been taken over by large 'traditional' food companies with the likes of Kellogg and General Mills; Attune Foods is an exception. The case describes Attune's company strategy and the challenges it faces in competition against the food giants.
In August 2010 the US government closed ShoreBank, one of the country’s leading social enterprises. Why did ShoreBank fail? And what lessons can be learned from its 37-year record of innovation?
A new study finds that nonprofits are not becoming more commercialized.
The moral legitimacy of a new market can come as much from how you sell something as from exactly what you’re selling.