Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Social Entrepreneurship

Search Resources:

Research Resources


Let’s keep holding the government accountable.

Resource: Blog Post

Using existing microfinance institutions and recent developments in the carbon credit markets on the supply side to facilitate the adoption of clean energy for the very poor.

Resource: Blog Post

A panel discusses the need to use innovative and collaborative thinking processes when modifying supply chains to address prominent social and environmental problems. In addition to encouraging collaboration with members of one's network, they also recommend seeking feedback from unlikely stakeholders to include new perspectives.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2008

Dancing Deer Bakery helps most when it keeps its eye on the bottom line. —By Abby Fung


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

TerraCycle turns what others leave behind into fertilizers and fashion. By Leslie Berger

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review 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 - 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 - Vivek Garg]

An Indian army vet builds business relationships across battle lines in conflict-torn Kashmir and Northeast Indian villages.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2004

Jeffrey Hollender and Stephen Fenichell offer an inside view of corporate social responsibility at work.  Review by Sheila Kaplan

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2004

Teaching inner-city kids business skills to build their confidence and aspirations. 

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2004

How savvy social entrepreneurs seized on a tax loophole to raise billions of corporate dollars for affordable housing.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2004

Key social innovators have succeeded against all odds – and with little financial muscle, David Bornstein shows.  Review by Mark R. Kramer

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2004

For Ready, Willing & Able, finding a home
starts with cleaning the streets.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

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.

Resource: Blog Post

The White House is about to announce the creation of the Office of Social Innovation. 

Resource: Blog Post

This blog is the last of Marcia Stepanek’s coverage of the Skoll World Forum 2009 at Oxford University.

Resource: Blog Post

Reporting from the 6th annual Skoll World Forum for social innovation

Resource: Blog Post

“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

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Christine Kawakami, Sally Osberg, Russ Hall]
A new generation of innovative philanthropists is helping to transform charitable giving. This panel discussion highlights the philosophy of three young, but outstanding, organizations in the strategic philanthropic field. Panelists emphasize the targeted use of wealth to address specific social challenges.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Dean Kamen]

Dean Kamen has literally changed the world by turning breakthrough ideas into practical products. In this audio interview with Globeshakers host Tim Zak, Kamen discusses the power of technology to change society. He also talks about what it takes to persevere in the face of public and professional resistance toward inventions and technology that can actually make people's lives better.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jed Emerson]

The nonprofit sector delivers social value and the for-profit sector delivers economic value, right? Wrong! Speaking at Bridging the Gap, the 2005 Stanford Net Impact conference, Jed Emerson argues that value is non-divisible, whole, and blended. In this audio lecture, he invites us to think beyond philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and other limiting mindsets.

Resource: Audio
[photo - David Bornstein]

David Bornstein is a leading expert on the global rise of "social entrepreneurism." In this audio interview, Globeshakers host Tim Zak asks how we would know a social entrepreneur if we saw one on the street. More important, why should we care? Who invests in social enterprise and what is at stake for our world if we don't?

Resource: Audio
[photo - Ludo Oelrich]

"Moving the World" is a partnership between logistics company TNT and the United Nations World Food Programme, the world's largest humanitarian aid agency. Together they provide food aid to an average of 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in more than 80 countries. Speaking at the Stanford Effective Disruption Management Seminar, Moving the World Director Ludo Oelrich explains in this audio lecture how the benefits of this association play out both ways.

Resource: Audio
[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-Hau Lee: Value Chain Innovation in Developing Economies]

Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.

Resource: Video
[Video-Using Entrepreneurial Approaches to Solve the Problems of Global Poverty]

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.

Resource: Video
[photo - Paul Lamb]

Nonprofit management now requires the innovative use of information technology. In this Stanford podcast, nonprofit technology consultant Paul Lamb explores how the web is transforming nonprofits and NGOs. He looks ahead to the potential that ubiquitous mobile computing, virtual worlds, user-generated content, and social networking have to upend traditional constraints and to open new doors.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Chip Heath]

In the world of social enterprise, why do some ideas survive and others die? Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Chip Heath reveals the secret in this audio lecture. He provides frameworks and advice to help social innovators launch their endeavors.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Mark Freedman]

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.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Gary Hirshberg]

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.

Resource: Audio
[photo - William McDonough]

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.

Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found

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
[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

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 -  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 - 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 - 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 - Jane Wei]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jim Patell]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Debra Meyerson]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[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 - BAPAR]

It was the suicide of a young man that turned Vivek Garg toward using business as a means of fostering peace and reconciliation.

Resource: Student
[photo - Jeff Skoll]

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.

 

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Yohei Iwasaki (MBA '10)]

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.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jane Chen (MBA '08)]

Jane Chen's passion for helping others has taken her on an incredible journey from doing social work in China to founding Embrace, a company that sells premature infant incubators.

Resource: Alumni
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
[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
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

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
[photo - Picture: Chong]
Catchafire is a New York City-based, for-profit social mission business that matches professionals who want to give their skills to nonprofits and social enterprises that need their help. In this audio interview, CEO and founder Rachael Chong speaks with host Ashkon Jafari about the ins and outs of the organization, from its founding, to its funding, to how it finds "matches."
Resource: Audio
Corner