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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Unless clean tech follows well-established rules of innovation and commercialization, the industry’s promise to provide sustainable sources of energy will fail.
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.
Social entrepreneurs have taken the hybrid model to a new level, crafting it into what is in effect a single structure that can operate as both a for-profit and a nonprofit.
Several social enterprises are attempting to provide eyeglasses to the 500 million to 1 billion poor people in the world who need them. Some enterprises see the provision of trained optometrists as the key to solving the problem; others are focused on cost reduction; others still are focused on technological innovations. Why haven’t any of these approaches succeeded on a large scale?
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.
MBA students reflect on their service learning trip to India, where they met an extraordinary group of rural women who have changed the face of their village. These women helped to eradicate preventable disease while empowering themselves as major stakeholders in a community-driven revolution that has become more pervasive throughout the subcontinent.
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.
A conference at the Stanford Graduate School of Business made the business case for environmentally sustainable and socially responsible supply chain networks. The conference gathered executives, academics, NGOs, and government leaders to share best practices and insights. It is one of several new initiatives related to environmental sustainability at the Business School.
A student trip to Kenya introduced a Stanford Business School professor to a successful Nairobi bank and led to a case study that links MBA students to the African continent.
Scaling requires not only fidelity to core processes and programs, but also constant adjustments to local needs and resources.
Most nonprofits use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an ancillary part of what they do. A few organizations, however, are using these tools to fundamentally change the way they work and increase their social impact.
Used shipping containers become health care clinics in the developing world.
SaveTogether wants to foster the savings habit among low-income Americans.
A new social enterprise incubator fills two critical gaps facing social entrepreneurs: mentoring and access to capital.
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 requires conscious leadership, says Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in this University podcast. Delivering a talk sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Mackey issues a clarion call for nothing less than "conscious capitalism," arguing that business can indeed serve more than the almighty dollar. He discusses his own company's challenges in the social enterprise arena.
When Priya Haji put her mind to helping reduce global poverty, social entrepreneurship took a quantum leap. In this university podcast, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, the plucky founder of World of Good shares how she created a social enterprise that now empowers women in communities around the world by helping them sell their artisan goods in stores and online. She talks about strategies for using educated consumer choice and inspiring business competition to do good.
When you begin to wonder - Am I in the right job? - it may be time to try social enterprise on for size. In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Tom Tierney shares how he threw caution - and a big salary - to the wind when he first decided to found the Bridgespan Group. He talks about his challenges, fears, and ultimately, triumphs in establishing this organization dedicated to helping nonprofits and philanthropy achieve breakthrough results.
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.
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.”
What if games were used to solve real-world problems?
How can we design for the ripple effect so that small acts of goodness trigger big ones?
Social problems are being addressed not only through the traditional nonprofit sector but also with emerging social enterprise structures such as for-profits that focus on the triple bottom line and hybrid models that blend market and nonmarket approaches. Kriss Deiglmeier, executive director of the Center for Social Innovation, moderates a panel of social enterprise leaders who discuss the unique aspects of their respective organization's legal structure, and share perspectives in establishing and maintaining enterprises dedicated to advancing social impact.
Do you identify as an activist, a social entrepreneur, or both? What do they have in common? In this audio lecture sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Hayagreeva Rao, explores how the joined hands of activists, or "market rebels," shape markets, and how this promotes or blocks innovation. Rao's lessons are applicable to leaders in the nonprofit and for-profit spheres, marketers, and activists who harness collective action for institutional and social change.
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.
Mountain Hazelnut Venture Limited was founded with economic, social, and environemental objectives. It planned to distribute young hazelnut plants at no charge to a large number of subsistence farmers in Bhutan; it was also the first 100 percent foreign direct investment company in Bhutan. This is an example of supply chain management, environment, and entrepreneurship in developing economies.
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.
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.
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.
This case details the innovative work of business executive Tom Siebel, who launched the Meth Project in 2005 to 'unsell' meth to first time users in Montana. The program used an innovative research-based marketing campaign and has since scaled to other states.
The CEO of Gardenburger, a seller of veggie burger products and other food alternatives to meat, considers the company’s advertising strategy. He aims to take the company from the small health-food niche to the consumer mainstream.
Various economic and environmental issues face the owners of a cruise business in the Galapagos Islands. The case gives special attention to the efforts of locals to preserve and enhance their own ecotourism business prospects.
As Green as It Gets was a nonprofit economic development organization supporting small, independent producers in disadvantaged Guatemalan communities. The founder pondered how to grow and sustain the organization.
Worldstock, Overstock.com’s socially responsible initiative, which marketed handicrafts produced by developing nation artisans to the United States, was suffering losses. Some stakeholders wondered if Worldstock would be shut down or spun off if the situation did not improve.
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.
Incubators can prevent infant deaths from hypothermia, shorten hospital stays, and reduce the rate of neonatal complications that can lead to lifelong illness and disability. Unfortunately, they are far too expensive for many resource-constrained settings, particularly developing countries. Design that Matters (DtM) partnered with CIMIT to develop a concept incubator that was uniquely suited to the context of a developing country, made with parts already abundant in the environment. The results was NeoNurture. Although NeoNurture was never brought to the market, the process of developing this product introduced important insights about designing contextually appropriate projects.
The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) was founded by immunologist Steve Reed in 1993 as a nonprofit global health research center. The institute was distinguished by its emphasis on the practical end goal of getting its products to market. To accomplish this, IDRI drew on distinct competencies of diverse collaboration. IDRI needed a substantial, ongoing stream of funding in order to continue realizing results. However, as a nonprofit, they could not tap into venture capital funding like private firms. These funding constraints made sustaining the company challenging and limited its strategic growth. This case study describes how Reed devised a model to create a for-profit development arms to commercialize select IDRI vaccine.
Fisher and Moon founded KickStart to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain their own profitable businesses. The organization’s first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. The KickStart team believed that to be sustainable, its products had to be affordable and enable farmers to realize return on their investment within a relatively short period. This mini-case study explores this approach and how KickStart structures its business to provide enduring solutions.
KickStart was founded to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses. When the first MoneyMaker pumps were brought to market, they were accepted by rural African farmers as affordable, versatile, durable, easy to maintain, and culturally appropriate. However, KickStart subsequently faced significant challenges manufacturing MoneyMaker pumps in sufficient volumes and at a reasonable cost. This mini-case study examines how KickStart addressed these challenges to established high quality, affordable manufacturing for the long term.
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.
Josh Becker combines private, public, and government-sector solutions in addressing big social challenges. His focus is innovation.
After watching a colleague struggle with the care of his mother when she was affected by fecal incontinence, the Consure Medical team began investigating this problem as a potential need to address. Even though the team had a broad concept of the need it would address, they soon realized it would require more research to make the need actionable. This case study looks at how the Consure team determined which market to address and how challenges in design requirements to aid product development.
Consure Medical is committed to developing a solution that involves the problems inherent in existing fecal incontinence treatments yet is simple enough for a motivated family member to use. With guidance from top doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the team developed an indwelling device similar to a short-term implant that offered multiple advantages over available treatment options. With a working product in hand, the cofounders’ next challenge was to determine a testing strategy that would validate the safety and efficacy of the device and support the company’s regulatory strategy. This mini-case study looks at the factors Consure Medical considered in defining a plan, as well as the approach the company ultimately defined.
Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. As part of ongoing efforts to provide critical health services in developing countries, PSI sought to address the high unmet demand for family planning in Pakistan. PSI learned that the financial incentives were low and that few providers actually had the training to counsel clients. The case study describes how PSI devised and implemented a social franchising model to rapidly address these needs and achieve scale in the target communities.
A Stanford GSB student's new company could make voting decisions more like online shopping.