Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Social Entrepreneurship

Search Resources:

Research Resources


Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Three types of leadership are needed to build a successful organization.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Social innovators are usually motivated by their personal values, yet they don’t always act on them, because they are afraid it might lead to conflict. Even when they do act, it often ends badly. To remedy this, social innovators can learn how to articulate their values consistently and act on them in a way that is likely to lead to good outcomes.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Nonprofits are so busy building schools, vaccinating infants, or providing medical relief that often, they simply don’t have the time for solid social media efforts. Chris Hughes, Facebook’s cofounder, has created a solution for that: a platform called Jumo.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

BUILDING SOCIAL BUSINESS: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs by Muhammad Yunus

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

With these seven levers, social entrepreneurs can foster change in everything from affordable housing to child welfare to poverty alleviation.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Socially minded entrepreneurship will not wane but rather will offer more and more opportunities for business-trained professionals well into the future, speakers with experience in the field told a Stanford Business School audience.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Picture: Gary Hirshberg]

Two pioneers of the organic food industry say a growing awareness of global warming and other issues is making corporate America eager to get into markets once not taken seriously.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Gary Hirschberg]

Gary Hirshberg, CEO of organic foods product company Stonyfield Farm, speaks about the role of business in influencing sustainability, citing the rise of organic foods as evidence of the power of the market to help solve challenging social and environmental problems.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Victoria Hale]

In order to control rising costs of drug developments, pharmeceutical companies may have to begin looking overseas, where a strong emphasis on life science research is held. In addition, drug companies must begin to look to devote more of their R&D budgets to treating more common diseases. Victoria Hale, founder, CEO, and chairwoman of OneWorld Health, has created a nonprofit pharmaceutical company to address the needs of 90 percent of the world's people, many who do not receive treatment for preventable diseases because of the high costs of medicine.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Bailey]

John Bailey, technology director of the U.S. Department of Education, calls for more understandable data interpretation and student progress tracking. Michael Woods, CEO of LeapFrog, also advocates technology as an important tool in helping students and teachers realize their educational goals.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2010

Inspiring change through photography.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2009

How the Freelancers Union is modernizing the labor movement for independent workers. —By Amy Wilkinson

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2009

Maria Yee established her eco-friendly, high-end furniture company long before going green was the done thing. Two decades later, her company’s environmentally sound practices not only reflect a planet-friendly ethos, but also drive a market-friendly creative edge. Here’s how and why Yee stays green in a brown industry.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2009

Now anyone can lend money to students.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2009

Freedom from Want pays well-deserved tribute to an exemplar of indigenous development and its magnificent leader.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

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.

Resource: Blog Post

The White House is about to announce the creation of the Office of Social Innovation. 

Resource: Blog Post

This blog is the last of Marcia Stepanek’s coverage of the Skoll World Forum 2009 at Oxford University.

Resource: Blog Post

Reporting from the 6th annual Skoll World Forum for social innovation

Resource: Blog Post

“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

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Priya Haji]

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.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Tom Tierney]

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.

Resource: Audio
What does social responsibility look like after age 50? In this panel discussion, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, academic experts talk about how they've found meaning in their own lives, and what their research reveals about how others may take advantage of a long lifespan to make purposeful contributions to society. How is the new move toward "encore" careers helping people find motivation in the second half of life, and how are economic realities impinging on the dream of unlimited opportunity?
Resource: Audio
[photo - Ellen Goodman]
When it comes to aging baby boomers, "the personal is political" is still a strong rallying cry for people engaged in social enterprise. In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation, the ever-lively Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman looks at redefining aging and how we may continue to make meaningful contributions to our families, communities, and country into the elder years.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Martin Eakes]

Responsible investing begins in local, underserved communities. In this education podcast, CEO Martin Eakes talks about how his organization, Self-Help, has provided almost $6 billion in financing to more than 60,000 homebuyers, small businesses, and nonprofits, and how it is serving thousands of low-income families through retail credit union branches. Eakes' presentation is an inspiring rallying cry for redirecting resources to those who can benefit the most. His talk is part of a discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Hau Lee: Value Chain Innovation in Developing Economies]

Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.

Resource: Video
[Video-Using Entrepreneurial Approaches to Solve the Problems of Global Poverty]

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.

Resource: Video
[Video-Innovative Design Saves Tiny Lives]

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.”

Resource: Video
[Video-Gaming for the Greater Good]

What if games were used to solve real-world problems?

Resource: Video
[Video-Design for the Ripple Effect: How a Small Act Leads to Big Change]

How can we design for the ripple effect so that small acts of goodness trigger big ones? 

Resource: Video
[photo - Hayagreeva Rao]

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.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Jim Fruchterman]
Harnessing engineering innovation and technology to further social causes is one path to social enterprise. In this university podcast, sponsored by Stanford's Center for Social Innovation, former rocket scientist Jim Fruchterman talks about how he created Benetech, an organization that uses technology innovation and business expertise to solve unmet social needs. He discusses how he has leveraged the intellectual capital and resources of Silicon Valley to create solutions that are truly life changing.
Resource: Audio
[Video-Social Entrepreneurship]

Missions of social impact and profit do not need to be opposed, say social entrepreneurs. In fact, bringing the two together in a double bottom line can create dynamic new opportunities.

Resource: Video
Audrey Seagraves has a passion for international development and social enterprise. In this audio interview with Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman, the director of programs at World of Good talks about the creation of Fair Wage Guide software, a free tool that tells the viewer how wages being paid to any artisan worldwide compare to international wage standards.
Resource: Audio
[photo - John Mackey]

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.

Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found
[photo - William F. Meehan III]

Ashoka was a professional organization that identified and invested in leading social entrepreneurs globally. The organization faced challenges as it updated its mission to “make things happen in a bigger way.”

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - H. Irving Grousbeck]

David Dodson started the septic company Green River Environmental after mixed results in his previous entrepreneurial ventures. This case tracks three difficult mangerial situations Dodson faced during his tenure as CEO and chairman of the company.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

Minnesota Public Radio had evolved from a small public radio station to a network of 38 stations, mainly through social purpose capitalism. The founder came under criticism after creating for-profit ventures to support and build the enterprise.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Robert B. Chess]

Napo was developing a compound to treat diarrhea while arranging an innovative public-private partnership to distribute it in the developing world. When that partnership proved difficult to arrange, the founder had to decide whether to continue pursuing it.

Resource: Academic Case
Multimedia Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

A new breed of entrepreneurs is prioritizing social impact over the creation of wealth. This video case examines the insights, aspirations, and impact of three leading social entrepreneurs and the challenges they face in distributing products and services in hard-to-reach places. It is meant to be used in conjunction with cases SI72 A and SI72 B.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

Waste Concern in Bangladesh had earned an international reputation for its innovative approach to waste management in Dhaka. The organization needed to consider two opportunities to raise capital for expansion from large foreign firms.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura K. Arrillaga]

By 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had firmly established the importance of building a knowledge base and communicating its findings to external and internal constitutencies. The foundation faced the challenge of how to effectively execute its communications.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - James A. Phills]

This case, part two in a two-part series, explores the challenge of distribution, particularly for nonprofit entities seeking to bring their products and services to hard-to-reach places around the world.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura K. Arrillaga]

The Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund provides Silicon Valley donors with philanthropic experience and education to empower their giving, and awards capacity-building grants to nonprofits. The fund’s leadership wondered how to improve the partner consulting program to better leverage partner expertise, and how to engage partners in grantmaking and educational activities.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura K. Arrillaga]

Practitioners and academics at a 2004 Stanford University conference discussed the field of venture philanthropy. The overview includes topics such as capacity building, relationships between grantors and grantees, and performance measurement.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon 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 KickStart was ready to launch its MoneyMaker pumps, it faced the challenge of how to effectively reach and market the products to target consumers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali. In these regions, average farmers and their families are physically isolated and have few resources; because of this, it is likely purchasing a KickStart product may be the most expensive purchase they will ever make. Moreover, many farmers understand little about pump technology and cultural norms prevent the use of word-of-mouth sales and 'viral marketing' to promote the product. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - KickStart]

KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon 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. Since its inception, KickStart had sold more than 180,000 MoneyMaker pumps. Despite these encouraging sales figures, the company still faced the critical questions that confronted every social enterprise: What was the actual impact of the product on the people it was intended to help? This mini-case study describes how the KickStart team developed a rigorous yet realistic approach to measuring and understanding the impact of its interventions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PlayPumps]

Trevor Field, a retired British businessman and outdoor advertising executive, was deeply moved when he observed women and and girls in rural villages of South Africa shouldering the daily burden of collecting water. When he became aware  of a technology that was meant to serve as both a children's merry-go-round and community water pump, he founded Roundabout Outdoor to manufacture, install, and maintain the product known as PlayPump. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Maternova]

Maternova was founded in 2009 as a mission-driven for-profit organization with two main objectives: (1) to provided online knowledge platform that would allow health workers, innovators, and individuals working in the field to track tools and with the potential to save lives in childbirth, and (2) to bundle and sell a select number of low-cost tools to equip frontline health workers to do their jobs more effectively.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Cycle Beads]

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at the University of Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for an intitutive, natural contraception method that could meet the needs of families that chose not to use medical or surgical alternatives. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM), a simple family planning system, as well as CycleBeads to provide a tangible tool to help women follow the method. IRH was met with resistance and this case studies examines how the strategy used by the team to overcome market resistance.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All
[photo -  J. Gregory Dees]

This seminal paper defines the term social entrepreneurship and helps shape, what was in 1998, the nascent field of social entrepreneurship.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
[photo - Jennifer Aaker]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Rick Aubry]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jane Wei]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Jim Patell]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Debra Meyerson]

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.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Farm to Cup - Root Capital Lending]

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.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - BAPAR]

It was the suicide of a young man that turned Vivek Garg toward using business as a means of fostering peace and reconciliation.

Resource: Student
[photo - Jeff Skoll]

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.

 

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Yohei Iwasaki (MBA '10)]

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.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jane Chen (MBA '08)]

Jane Chen's passion for helping others has taken her on an incredible journey from doing social work in China to founding Embrace, a company that sells premature infant incubators.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Respira]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Farm to Cup - Root Capital Lending]

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.

Resource: Innovators
[photo - AdaptAir]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Consure Medical I]

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. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Consure Medical II]

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.

Resource: Academic Case
Corner