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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
With a presentation on microfinance, actress-turned-activist Natalie Portman kicked off the Social Innovators Speaker Series launched by the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She also called on students to take social action to alleviate poverty.
Many businesses serving lower income communities languish because they can’t raise enough money to fund their growth. To meet their needs, a new breed of private equity investment—development investment capital—has emerged. Although this style of investing is still in its infancy, it’s already showing promise. —By Beth Sirull
Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder explore how clean technology is creating greener pastures for business.
Peter Liu started his working life as an engineer at the oil giant Chevron Corp. The experience turned him into an avid environmentalist. Several years later, it also led him to co-found the New Resource Bank, which calls itself the nation’s first “green” commercial bank. —By Caroline Said
Michael Parker pays his new Spanish tutor $17 less than he paid his old teacher in Iowa. But his new teacher in Guatemala, Yesenia Mateu Grave, takes away double her normal fee thanks to Web conferencing. —By Laila Weir
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.
Gretchen Daily and Katherine Ellison show how some entrepreneurs are making conservation profitable. Review by Carl Palmer
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
As early as 1947, David Packard said, “The betterment of society in not a job to be left to a few, but a responsibility to be shared by all.” Chris Librie, Senior Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at HP, discusses the company’s long standing commitment to this philosophy in this podcast. By using multiple examples of HP’s social sector success, Chris describes the company’s holistic approach to social problem solving, and expresses the company’s enthusiasm in continuing to pursue corporate social ventures.
Jake Harriman is using his military experience to revolutionize the fight against extreme poverty. After leaving his position as a Special Operations Platoon Commander in the Marine Corps, Jake Harriman founded Nuru, a nonprofit aiming to bring relief to the poorest places in the world. Jake puts his venture’s focus on finding and training capable leaders in these places, rather than giving these communities quick economic fixes. Through this podcast, Jake Harriman shares his enthusiasm for combating extreme poverty and portrays his excitement for the future of his venture.
Correcting education disparity is a prevalent global focus. In this audio interview, the Co-Founder and CDO of ENOVA, Jorge Camil Starr, discusses his entrepreneurial success in improving the educational sphere in Mexico. Jorge and the rest of the ENOVA team are working to bring education technology to low-income communities and equip them with the tools they need to thrive in the knowledge society.
The Nazava Water Filters team sees clean water as a basic right, not a privilege. In this audio interview, the co-founder of Nazava Water Filters, Lieselotte Heederik, discusses her company’s impact on Indonesia by creating appliances to purify water at the household level. Nazava Water Filters provides the most affordable and safest household water filters in Indonesia, which enables families to access clean drinking water without the need to boil water or use electricity. This consequently improves health, increases disposable income and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Social enterprise is scaling up through digital design. In this audio lecture, Carl Bass, President and CEO of Autodesk, discusses at Social Innovation Summit 2013 the application of design to solve social problems. Bass describes how the availability of infinite computing capacity combined with people's willingness to share their knowledge of how to make things advances social entrepreneurship for everyone's betterment, and he shares examples of creative small businesses that advance social enterprise through innovation.
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.
DaVita is the largest independent provider in the United States of dialysis services to people with chronic kidney failure. In 2000, DaVita was being investigated by the SEC and sued by shareholders. In this audio lecture recorded at Bridging the Gap, the Stanford 2005 Net Impact conference, Kent Thiry explains how building community and shared values bumped DaVita's market capitalization to $3 billion and turned it into a leader in its field.
Social entrepreneur veteran Laura Scher and more recent entrants, Kirsten Gagnaire and Jenny Shilling Stein, offer advice on what it takes to create a successful for-profit or nonprofit organization with a social purpose.
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.
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.
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.
Impact Investors at Toniic aim to create an ecosystem for impact investing that mirrors the Silicon Valley way of doing deals. They know relationships are the key to keeping money moving.
Got a great business idea? Consider taking it to Chile, where the government is now offering $40,000 grants and one-year visas to help early-stage entrepreneurs develop their companies, through a program called Start-Up Chile. In this audio interview, Stanford Social Innovation correspondent Ashkon Jafari talks with Nicolas Shea, innovation advisor to the Chilean minister of economy, about the program's genesis, goals, and progress so far.
Giving things away for the prize people are willing to pay sounds like corporate suicide. In this audio lecture sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford, Leif Nelson shows it's a pathway to corporate citizenship, increased revenue, and an enhanced company image. He walks us through field experiments he conducted at major theme parks manipulating various aspects of the purchasing experience for souvenir action photos.
Social network and professional network combined: a low-income neighborhood works together to meet the needs of the community in an environmentally responsible way.
In the arena of social enterprise, a California collaboration is creating a high yield. In this university podcast, executives Diane Del Signore and Maisie Greenwalt share how Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Bon Appétit Management Company have partnered to create a local distribution system to get locally grown products into institutional settings. They also talk about efforts to help farmers become more organic.