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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
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.
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.
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.
How texting became young donors’ preferred way to make charitable donations.
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.
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.
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.
The Rockefeller Foundation is staying at the forefront of new and big ideas and funding new innovation processes like crowdsourcing and collaborative competitions.
Investors screen for entrepreneurial passion when making funding decisions.
Defining what it takes to make breakthrough change. —By Paul C. Light
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
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
Hagar was the biblical woman who became the victim of neglect and violence when she was cast out of the fold of Abraham and Sarah. In Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, thousands of "Hagars" and their children suffer poverty, trafficking, and other human rights abuses. Janet Tafel, who was invited by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford, discusses how her organization, Hagar USA, helps individuals restore their lives through holistic healing, community integration, and social entrepreneurship.
Kiva has created an online marketplace that allows ordinary citizens to help specific entrepreneurs around the world to thrive with as little as $25. In this Stanford Center for Social Innovation sponsored audio interview, Kiva President Premal Shah discusses how the social enterprise relies on bazaar management techniques to carry out the organization's everyday functions. He describes the benefits of cost reduction and execution time and talks about the possibilities bazaar management opens for social entrepreneurship and the for-profit sector in general.
Let there be light! That's Sam Goldman's motto, and he's taking it around the world. The founder of d.light design talks with Stanford Center for Social Innovation correspondent Sheela Sethuraman about how he is bringing affordable, ecologically sustainable electricity and lighting to billions who are now operating in the dark. In this audio interview, he details aspects of the design, function, marketing, and distribution of the organization's products, as well as the kind of impact the social enterprise is having in some of the most remote, poor areas.
How is New Orleans rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina? In this Stanford Center for Social Innovation sponsored presentation at the Social Enterprise Alliance 2009 Summit, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu discusses the role of tourism in the city's rehabilitation with Root Cause founder, Andrew Wolk. Landrieu details his work to found the nation's first government-run Office of Social Entrepreneurship, and emphasizes how New Orleans and the entire state are being strengthened by the development of their cultural assets.
With the Obama administration's focus on social enterprise as a means of solving some of our most pressing problems, the social entrepreneur has emerged as the chief change agent of our time. In this panel discussion, part of the Stanford 2009 Entrepreneurship Week, leaders of several vital organizations talk about the motivations, successes, and challenges associated with running a social enterprise. They consider what the economic downturn has meant to their missions, and they offer practical advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
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?
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.
A critical aspect of international development and the restoration of the global economy involves fostering entrepreneurship. In this panel discussion at a conference convened by the Hoover Institute at Stanford, experts and entrepreneurs discuss what it takes to create social and educational environments in the United States and abroad that support innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. They consider what opportunities the world crisis has opened up for major transformations in every sector of the economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to evaluate how market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) products among the world’s poor. Several of the early Safe Water Project’s pilots involved experimenting with direct sales models for HWTS solutions. This mini-case study outlines the lessons PATH gleaned through these studies for helping its on-the-ground partners build an effective direct sales presence.
In late 2006, the PATH Safe Water Project received a $17 million grant from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its purpose was to evaluate how market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) products among the world’s poor. One of PATH’s pilots tested a direct sales model in Kenya by making a durable safe water product — a ceramic water pot (CWP) — available through a basket of goods approach. PATH partnered vendors were enthusiastic; however consumers who generality weren't familiar with CWPs wanted to interact with the device before purchase. Vendors were unable to carry the bulky and fragile CWPs long distance. This study explores the creative solution PATH devised to address these issues.
Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is a for-profit company that operates under a humanitarian entrepreneurship business model. The company’s leading products include PermaNet long-lasting insecticidal nets and LifeStraw water filters. VF was convinced that its LifeStraw Family product could make an immediate and significant difference in addressing the safe water needs of households in developing countries. The challenge was how to make it affordable for its target audience. While VF considered its options, CEO Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen decided to launch an integrated campaign to help prevent the spread of malaria, diarrheal disease, and HIV in Western Kenya.Witnessing the success of the program, the Kenyan government asked VF to scale it up across the Western Province. However, identifying traditional forms of funding for point-of-use water filters at scale remained a challenge.
There are all manner of approaches to 'green investing,' and the folks at Carbon Lighthouse — recipients of an $80,000 Social Innovation Fellowship from the Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business — manage to combine two of them under the same roof.