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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
DRIVING SOCIAL CHANGE: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems by Paul C. Light
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.
Social network and professional network combined: a low-income neighborhood works together to meet the needs of the community in an environmentally responsible way.
Social intrapreneurs—change agents already working deep within business—are the answer for business’s woes.
Authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith explain how to harness the power of social media to achieve social change in their book The Dragonfly Effect.
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.
Patagonia Inc. founder and owner Yvon Chouinard offered his Stanford audience a slew of counterintuitive business practices that have helped make his apparel company a success.
Former Vice President Al Gore kicked off the 2005 Net Impact conference at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the largest annual gathering in the world for MBA students and young professionals focused on corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, international development, and environmental management.
More than 50 panel discussions ranging from green buildings to California's stem cell research initiative engaged 1,600 attendees at the 2005 Net Impact Conference, held at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Creativity often feels like a mystery. Struggling to unleash our creative potential can sometimes hinder us on the path to social innovation. In this audio lecture from Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Stanford Professor Tina Seelig discusses the tools and conditions each of us has that allow us to increase our creativity—our own, our team’s and our organization’s. She shares specific approaches to rethinking questions and reframing problems to unlock the path to innovation.
Globally, pneumonia kills more children than any other illness. In developed countries, pneumonia and other acute respiratory conditions are treated via mechanical ventilators. In resource-constrained settings, however, ventilators are often not available because of their high cost. An approach has been used successfully, although not considered standard of care, is bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAPs are low-cost and effective, but require oxygen tanks, which are expensive to transport to rural regions. in 2011, a team of Stanford students set out to design a machine that would create the pressurized air of bubble CPAP without the cost, burden, and safety concerns with using oxygen tanks. This case explores the factors that the Inspire team members evaluated in deciding whether or not to take their prototype into development.
To Help Address the burden of childhood asthma in developing countries, Respira Design created an asthma spacer that was produced from a single sheet of paper. The device could ship and store flat and then be transformed into a usable spacer through a series of cuts and folds. However, as a medical device, it was necessary to test the extent to which it impacted the delivery of medication and how many uses each spacer could sustain. The team also needed to study the circumstances in which the device would perform successfully. This case examines how Respira address these issues.
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.
In resource constrained settings, bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is emerging as a more affordable treatment option for children with acute respiratory infections. However, some healthcare providers cannot ensure a tight seal between the infant's nose and mask which compromises the effectiveness of this approach. AdaptAir team developed a silicone adapter as a potential low-cost alternative. Despite the new product, AdaptAir encountered challenges when attempting to commercialize the device in the market. This case explores the challenges AdaptAir faced in determining its next steps and the lessons the teams learned about creating an accessory versus a stand-alone product.