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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
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.
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?
Zero emission buildings and hybrid vehicles have broad appeal, but any climate change solution must first make economic sense in order to truly be effective, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, MBA ’80, told a business school audience during the 2008 von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture.
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.
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
"People can learn from mobile phones," says Sara Chamberlain, Head of Interactive for BBC World Trust and developer. She launched BBC Janala to "raise the language skills of 25 million people in Bangladesh by 2017". She speaks with host Sheela Sethuraman about how 3 million people already started learning English with in some cases the most basic handsets. According to Chamberlain, making English accessible affordably could be "a ticket out of poverty" for the people of Bangladesh.
A breakthrough for global health: double fortified salt has been recognized as a social innovation that delivers small but crucial daily amounts of iodine and iron to individuals at a very low cost. In this audio interview, Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman talks with Venkatesh Mannar, 2010 Tech Award winner in Health, as he shares his process of bringing this innovation from lab to market, with the potential to reach billions of people worldwide.
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.
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.
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.
World demand for water is likely to continue to outpace population. In this panel discussion, experts talk about how this troubling environmental sustainability issue offers a rare opportunity for cleantech entrepreneurs. Our search for sustainable water offers lessons that may help others facing similar large-scale challenges such as world demand for energy. The event was part of the MIT-Stanford Venture Lab Series.
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.”
Businesses, nonprofits and government agencies increasingly are embracing design thinking to solve social problems. The reason? Design thinking is inherently human centered. In this audio lecture, Jocelyn Wyatt, who directs social innovation projects at the design and consulting firm IDEO, describes how design thinking can be employed in the developing world to address the needs of people who consume a product or service and the infrastructure that enables it.
When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the JaipurFoot Organization’s clinics across India. While Sadler and his teammates viewed their early experience with the JaipurFoot Organization as incredibly valuable, the team decided that it wanted to make its low-cost knee joint available to amputees beyond the Jaipur clinics in India. Unfortunately, they discovered significant market barriers as many amputees who would benefit from their product are treated by multiple scattered and remote clinics. This case describes how the JaipurKnee team developed a strategy to access its target market and scale up its business.
Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In implementing this model, Life Force Kiosks would depend on a portion of the money collected from consumers to help underwrite the costs of the program and enable it to become sustainable on a long-term basis. Accordingly, it needed a system for tracking inventory, as well as the payments made, but corruption at the vendor Life Force Kiosks ultimately devised.
Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In Kenya, slums are used to bringing their water containers to locla water taps and paying water vendors to fill them. Life Force Kiosks equips these water vendors with supplies and container cleaning serves to customers for a small incremental charge. When the founder of Life Force Kiosks was ready to launch this new service, he recognized the importance of hiring people from the community to help him establish and expand his operations. This case study explores his approach to identifying and collaborating with a local team.
After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. He spent nearly ten years in the field, investigating all aspect of the problem. The result was K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed. Koaska shopped the product to the major syringe manufactures, but discovered the produces believe was an inadequate demand to warrant investing in the syringe. Koaska gradually convinced organizations to become customers, but the sales of the AD syringe were not growing fast enough to make an impact.
After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. After much research, the result was K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed. To help raise awareness about the dangers of needle reuse and help stimulate demand for AD syringes, Koska founded a nonprofit called the SafePoint Trust. One of SafePoint’s first activities was to launch an aggressive public awareness campaign in India. As a result of the effort, 26 states in the country switched to using only AD syringes in their public health facilities. However, the change didn't stick, which several states reverting to the use of regular syringes over time.
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.
Mobius Motors manufactures and sells low-cost cars in the Kenyan market. The company strives to make the cars such that they are affordable, yet still perform well on Africa’s generally poor road networks. The company has attracted a lot of attention from development and venture financiers, and has ambitious plans to expand throughout the African continent. However, Mobius’s fleet of vehicle is still currently very small, and the company faces many strategic challenges on both the demand and the supply side of the business.
Phoenix Medical Systems was founded to manufacture an incubator designed specifically to address the needs of low-resource healthcare providers in India. Initially its founder, who also designed the device, tried selling his incubator through the few medical equipment, but found relative to the simple medical products, these companies found the incubator technically complex. Distributors' sales were willing to represent the product but did not understand how it worked. This case study looks at how Phoenix built its own direct sales force to address the problem.
Team members at D-Rev - a U.S. nonprofit technology company with the mission to improve the health and incomes of people living on less than $4 per day - became interested in the problem of infant jaundice. D-Rev confirmed that jaundice was a problem in rural areas where equipment to treat the condition was virtually nonexistent. To address this issue, the D-Rev team created a prototype phototherapy solution for jaundice treatment product called Brilliance. This mini-case study examines D-Rev's strategy and approach to raise funds for a market-ready product.
When team members at D-Rev — a U.S. nonprofit technology company — became interested in the problem of infant jaundice, they initiated a detailed assessment of the phototherapy landscapes in India and Nigeria and created a prototype for a jaundice treatment product called Brilliance. When D-Rev was ready to start thinking about taking Brilliance to market, the team carefully evaluated its own competencies and concluded that the organization’s strengths were not in product manufacturing or after-sales services and believed it should enter into a licensing agreement to accelerate Brilliance’s market penetration. The challenge was to find the right partner and structure the partnership deal effectively to ensure that D-Rev’s social impact goals would be achieved. This mini-case study explores how D-Rev identified its partner and crafted an agreement to motivate desired behavior.
The East Meets West Foundation (EMW) is an international development agency with the mission to transform the health, education, and communities of disadvantaged people in Asia. Through its Breath of Life (BOL) program, EMW provides a complete package of custom-made, low-cost medical equipment to neonatal care providers. As EMW expanded BOL in Asia, it recognized the need to develop more effective therapy for infant jaundice. EMW was interest in an infant phototherapy solution, but they did not have the design capabilities needed to develop the product and neither did its existing parters. This case study reveals how EMW addressed challenges of positioning for continued growth.
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.
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.
An Indian army vet builds business relationships across battle lines in conflict-torn Kashmir and Northeast Indian villages.
How Fundación RAP builds bridges across party lines.
Ned Breslin, CEO of Water For People, tells us where he draws his inspiration from and where he gets his perspective on social change from – punk rock. In the first episode of his “Social Disruptors” series, Ned argues that the story arc of punk, its relentless push for change, offers important insights into how social entrepreneurs operate everywhere, whether they like punk rock or not.