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

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
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2010

Throughout history, acts of hatred have plagued communities and dominated media attention. The website Not In Our Town is working to combat that by broadcasting anti-hate stories and campaigns.

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

Riders for Health had won international acclaim for its novel approach to maintaining health transport vehicles in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the organization was having trouble scaling its services at its first site: Gambia. Here is how the organization won both government support and private funding for its latest innovation.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Chase Your Dream Skoll Advises Class of 2010 "Define your dream and chase it with as much rigor and authenticity as you can muster," entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeff Skoll advised Stanford Graduate School of Business 2010 graduates.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2010

How texting became young donors’ preferred way to make charitable donations.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review 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
[photo - Janine Benyus]

Science writer and author Janine Benyus urged an overflow Stanford Business School audience to look to the world of nature for ways to cool buildings, collect water in the desert, keep pipes from clogging with scale, and manage air traffic. Her speech was sponsored by the School's Center for Social Innovation.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Jil Zilligen]

It is not easy for an organization to merge the business acumen of the corporate sector with the conscience of nonprofits. Panelists discuss learning how to balance their double bottom lines of profits and social goals.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2009

I know that I’m among hundreds, if not thousands, of people who feel that way, and together we form an army working toward similar ends. There can be no greater legacy than that.

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

The Rockefeller Foundation is staying at the forefront of new and big ideas and funding new innovation processes like crowdsourcing and collaborative competitions.

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

Investors screen for entrepreneurial passion when making funding decisions. 

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

Defining what it takes to make breakthrough change. —By Paul C. Light

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

Kiva, the first online peer-to-peer microcredit marketplace, is one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. But its nonprofit status was not inevitable. Here’s why Kiva chose to be a 501(c)(3), what this tax status buys the organization, and how being a nonprofit poses challenges. —By Bethany Coates & Garth Saloner

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
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
[photo - Paul Rice]
Social entrepreneurship may be the most promising avenue for solving global problems, says Paul Rice, CEO of TransFair USA. In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Rice details his own work to establish Fair Trade. The movement has opened the U.S. market to more than 1.4 million small family farmers around the world who are now getting a fair price for their harvests and making dramatic gains in their living standards.
Resource: Audio
[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
[Video-Leadership in the War Against Extreme Poverty]

Stanford GSB alum ('08) founded Nuru International to maximize local leadership to drive sustainable change.

Resource: Video
[Video-Unleashing Green Chemistry: A Societal Need and Business Opportunity]

A panel on the the importance of mainstreaming and investing in green chemistry for the future of energy and the environment.

Resource: Video
[Video-Jane Chen: Crazy Enough to Change the World?]

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.

Resource: Video
[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
[photo - Picture: Mic]

Closing achievement gaps in public education is one of the most important civil rights issues of the century. In this panel discussion at the NewSchools Summit 2010 conference, education experts consider how activists and entrepreneurs may draw on lessons from the civil rights movement to address this critical social justice concern.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Jennifer Aaker]

How can you leverage the power of design thinking and psychological research with practical tools and strategies to get your social enterprise off the ground? In this university podcast, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Stanford Graduate School of Business marketing professor Jennifer Aaker introduces the "dragonfly effect" model to illustrate how technology can be used to support business and social missions.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Picture: Sarah Milstein]

Twitter may be based in San Francisco, but it's used by folks in nearly every country in the world. In this university podcast, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, author Sarah Milstein shows you the ins and outs of how to use this real-time information network for your personal or business advantage. She offers tips on searching, posting, and making an impact on the world with your ideas.

Resource: Audio
[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

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.

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

The chief investment officer of Acumen Fund, an international venture philanthropy fund, is reviewing the performance of a portfolio organization. Against the backdrop of Acumen’s own evolution, he is trying to determine how much additional support to provide an organization that has faced similar challenges.

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

In response to the closure of California state psychiatric hospitals, Rubicon Programs was established in 1973 to provide social services for recently deinstitutionalized individuals. In this videocase, the program’s top managers deliberate about their corporate strategy.

Resource: Academic Case

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ken Westrick became a partner in TerraMai, a company that reclaims discarded wood and sells it to consumers. In 2003, the partners embark on an ambitious growth plan.

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

The Center for Blended Value is a think tank that promotes the concept of “blended value” investments. The founder wondered how to overcome the challenges associated with encouraging more foundations to adopt a value-mixing strategy of financial asset management.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Chip Heath]

PBS had asked for the strategy group Stone Yamashita Partners for help with branding. These cases detail PBS’s challenges and the organization’s need to transform its longstanding structure and change-averse culture.

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

Julie and her investor set up a holding company, Prospect Colleges, with which they plan to acquire and operate multiple small schools. As president of the first Prospect college, Julie faces challenges regarding ageism among her employees and whether to give in to her investor’s preference and hire an experienced COO.

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

The Skoll Foundation funds individuals and organizations with good ideas that can quickly grow in scale and impact. In 2002, as the leaders looked to the future, they pondered how they could act as leading social entrepreneurs themselves in terms of how they structured the foundation’s work.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Hau L. Lee]

With increasing pollution and congestion, European car manufacturers were concerned that governments might eventually ban cars from city centers. The producer of Swatch watches came up with the novel idea of an environmentally friendly, but stylish, super-compact car.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - John McMillan]

This note outlines the business climate for entrepreneurs in reform-era Vietnam around 1996. Entrepreneurs had to overcome a host of impediments in gaining access to markets, and in dealing with licensing and corruption.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - John McMillan]

By the mid-1990s, a few years into Vietnam’s tentative market-oriented reforms, the country’s private sector was at a crucial point. Three owner-managers discuss their initial success in such an unreceptive setting.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Cycle Beads]

To help address the issue of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality in the developing world, researchers at Georgetown's Institute of Reproductive Health (IRH) recognized the need for an initiative, natural contraception method. IRH developed the Standard Days Method (SDM) family planning system and CycleBeads. To manufacture, sell, and distribute the product, Cycle Technologies licenses the CycleBeads product from IRH and partnered with the organization to bring it to the market. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Anacor]

Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a for-profit biotech firm that focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel small-molecule therapeutics derived from a unique boron chemistry platform. While performing early disease screening, Anacor discovered this platform showed activity against causative agents of several neglected bacterial and parasitic diseases. Although CEO Perry felt a responsibility to apply this technology to the neglected diseases space, this conflicts with the objectives of its investors. This mini case study describes how Perry and Eric Easom, who became the company's Program Leader for Neglected Diseases devised a plan to leverage non-dilutive funding sources to underwrite this important work.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William F. Meehan III]

Since its founding n 1980, Ashoka: Innovators fo the Public had supported the work of over 3,000 of the world's most visionary social entrepreneurs. Even at the moment of Ashoka's dynamism propelled social entrepreneurship into the mainstream, founder Bill Drayton and his colleagues embraced an even more expansive view of social change: to suggest everyone in sociey is a "changemaker." This case traces the evolution of Ashoka's mission and vision for social change, and the programmatic and organizational changes required to achieve its vision.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - d.light]

d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise whose purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy a brighter future. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes solar light and power products throughout the developing world. When d.light co-founders started as a student team at Stanford University, they needed a defending strategy to support the continued development of their product concept. They raised their first $10,000 from small donors. However, it did not take long for d.light to require substantially more funding in order to grow. This case study explores how the team tackled its early fund raising challenge. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - d.light]

d.light design is a for-profit social enterprise who's purpose is to create new freedoms for customers without access to reliable power so they can enjoy a brighter future. When d.light cofounders were first starting at Stanford University, they needed a strategy for gathering detailed user feedback to inform product development, which required first-hand information to be gathered in India. This cast study looks at the plan d.light developed to conduct market research and prototype feedback. 

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 - Students Help Win $50K at The Big Idea]

Education Everytime, a venture that uses music to direct students through class transitions, got a huge boost last month when 6 students helped the company win $50,000 in funding at The Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

 

 

Resource: News Article
[photo - Mulago II]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. Concentrated in rural settings in developing countries, the foundation's work is in four areas that contribute to this overarching goal. The Foundation explicitly seeks to get involved with early-stage entities in these targeted areas so that it can grow with the organizations it supports. However, one challenge of getting involved with early-stage enterprises is that they sometimes focus too narrowly on the product rather than the capacity of management and development. This case study explores how Mulago Foundation evaluates prospective investments and the factors it considers before coming funds to projects and organizations.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - PSI]

Population Services International (PSI) was founded in 1970 as a nonprofit organization focused on improving reproductive health in developing countries using commercial marketing strategies. Over the years, PSI broadened its mission to address family planning, child and maternal health, and HIV and AIDS prevention, screening, and treatment.  PSI opened an office in Lesotho and in 2010, a donor provided PSI/Lesotho with “a warehouse full” of female condoms (FCs) that the organization could use to help young women in the area protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. The challenge for the team was to figure out how to effectively distribute and promote the FCs since early versions of the female condom were notoriously unpopular.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Mulago Foundation]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. The Mulago team looks for investment opportunities in promising products and services that address these high-priority problems. In evaluating potential investments, the Mulago Foundation has observed how many global health innovators grapple with the choice between establishing their organizations as nonprofit or for-profit entities. This case studies Mulago Foundation's experience in the global health field and raises issues that innovators should consider as they evaluate their legal and capital structure. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Mulago Foundation]

The Mulago Foundation is a private foundation focused on the prospect of creating a better life for the world's poor. When it comes to making investments, one of the most important aspects of the Mulago approach is the ability of the organization to have a measurable impact. Mulago needed to develop an approach to the measurement of impact that was simple enough for an early-state, resource-constrained, organization to carry out. This mini-case study describes the five-step framework that the Foundation developed.

Resource: Academic Case
Corner