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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
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?
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.
Sambazon’s commitment to social entrepreneurship creates a fair market for farmers in the Amazon
DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems by Paul C. Light
Social network and professional network combined: a low-income neighborhood works together to meet the needs of the community in an environmentally responsible way.
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.
Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murty, two of India’s best known executives, share their experiences in leadership and management with current MBA students during a visit to campus as the first Denning Distinguished Fellows in Global Business and the Economy.
Venture capitalist John Doerr doesn’t believe the world’s population will change its wasteful ways in time to stop global warming, he told an overflow audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. But, ever the optimist, he urged MBA students to make it a priority.
Microlending in leprosy colonies frees residents from poverty, shame, and isolation.
Play this online game and learn social innovation strategies to solve global crises.
Over the past decade or so, the term social entrepreneur has become a fashionable way of describing individuals and organizations that, in their attempts at large-scale change, blur the traditional boundaries between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. But let’s not overlook what traditional entrepreneurs contribute to society.
Designing social enterprises that can succeed on a national scale
Development experts have long known that educating girls is one of the surest ways to improve life for everyone in poor countries. Yet the path to school has not been smooth for many girls—especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past 17 years, however, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) has delivered high-quality education to millions of girls across 35 African countries. The secret to FAWE’s scale and impact, say its leaders, is its flexibility.
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.
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.
Equity Bank, a microfinance services provider, experienced a remarkable turnaround in the early 1990s. What strategy did the CEO pursue to accomplish such a feat?
Two social ventures collaborated with each other to help expand one’s solar energy services from southern Brazil into the Amazon region. The case highlights the core factors that led to the project’s ultimate outcome.
This strategy case discusses a number of challenges facing nonprofit managers. These include establishing a sustainable and self-supporting operating model, generating corporate-sector support, and managing through a financial crisis.
Unitus focuses on accelerating the growth of the microfinance industry. This first case describes the Unitus business model for microfinance and whether or not the company should expand the capital it provides to partners through a debt or equity fund.
Unitus focuses on accelerating the growth of the microfinance industry. While case A examined Unitus options to expand the capital it provides to partners, this second case reveals the decisions Unitus leaders made.
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.
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.
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.
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.