- Research By Topic
- Student Programs
- Executive Programs
- GSB Social Innovators
- Community Engagement
- About CSI
Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
How texting became young donors’ preferred way to make charitable donations.
Scaling requires not only fidelity to core processes and programs, but also constant adjustments to local needs and resources.
Most nonprofits use social media like Facebook and Twitter as an ancillary part of what they do. A few organizations, however, are using these tools to fundamentally change the way they work and increase their social impact.
Used shipping containers become health care clinics in the developing world.
SaveTogether wants to foster the savings habit among low-income Americans.
For a d.School course called “Design for Extreme Affordability,” Jane Chen and three of her classmates developed a low-cost baby incubator tailored to the needs of the developing world. That incubator—a reusable heating pouch—became the Embrace Infant Warmer, and ultimately launched Embrace and Embrace Innovations, a joint social enterprise promoting child and maternal health across the globe.
Jake Harriman,'08, explains how rejecting conventional wisdom about financing a nonprofit helped him turn his vision into a real intervention.
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.
THE BLUE SWEATER: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz Review by Pamela Hartigan
Voluntary carbon offsets allow people to invest in projects that allegedly counteract their greenhouse gas emissions. But can voluntary offsets help slow global warming? Or are offsets simply a way for guilt-ridden consumers to buy their way out of bad feelings? —By Matthew J. Kotchen
Documentary filmmakers win the chance to focus on social entrepreneurs.
Nonprofit lender Root Capital connects rural farmers and artisans with the corporations that crave their products. —By Suzie Boss
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grameen Bank lent hundreds of millions of dollars to millions of poor entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. Managing Director Muhammad Yunus faced tremendous challenges brought about by political upheavals and natural disasters in this country.
This paper discusses how socioeconomic results are quantified with traditional financial measures. It briefly outlines the methodology used by the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund.
The Canadian nonprofit Lutherwood-CODA is engaged in a bold real estate project to develop a retirement community. Can the organization face a new level of financial risk associated with creating an assisted living center?
Abercrombie & Kent, a safari company, develops an ecotourism business in Kenya. The company must assess its challenges and future directions.
A sanctuary for baboons in Belize has been reformulated to support ecotourism. Numerous management, social, and political issues continue to limit the sanctuary’s growth.
This case describes the formation, management, and challenges of a prep school founded in a depressed urban community. It focuses on fundraising, performance measurement, faculty recruiting, growth, and managing culture.
Phyto-Riker, a pharmaceutical company in Ghana, contemplates the effects of the HIV epidemic in Africa on its business plans. It is not certain what resources will be available, and how they will be distributed.
When abalone divers were given a property right in abalone fisheries, fishery owner Roger Beattie moved from the small time to become a successful entrepreneur. He began seeking out opportunities to improve his bottom line and the local environment.
Peter O’Neill envisioned a 120-acre residential community alongside the Boise River. However, he needed to convince the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and several other agencies, that his idea would not harm the trout population.
Allied Equity Partners provided equity-related financing to minority-owned businesses. The principals knew they had to rethink their strategy to raise capital of $80 million for its third and largest fund.
Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) focuses on manufacturing and commercializing technologies that addresses the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it possible to conduct field-based screenings in remote, low-resource settings. DRW believed the CRTs were commercially attractive; however market introduction was met with stakeholder resistance and funder/consumer misalignment. This case explores the potential gap between the solution and market demand, as well as DRW's response.
Diagnostics of the Real World (DRW), a for-profit spinout from the Diagnostics Development Unit at the University of Cambridge, is focused on manufacturing and commercializing technologies created at the university that can help address the unmet diagnostic needs of patients in developing countries. DRW's first product was a reliable, low-cost Chlamydia Rapid Test (CRT) that made it feasible to conduct field- based chlamydia screenings. The team discovered that although chlamydia was a significant global health concern, its as not necessarily a top priority for nongovernmental organizations. There was also no ready-make market or large-scale demand for the CRT in developing countries. The case study describes the multi-source funding strategy DRW devised to support its operations without losing sight of its mission.
Traditional Borders (BTB), Rice 360°’s undergraduate program, challenges students to solve global health problems through real-world engineering design. By pairing students with faculty, clinicians, and mentors in developing world, BTB teams had designed an impressive portfolio for effective, low-cost medical technologies. However, the temporary nature of student teams and specialized focus of these inventions proved difficult to realize these projects in the market to create consistent solutions. This mini-case study tells the story of of BTB began working with 3rd Stone Design, a design, strategy, and development consultancy, to accelerate progress on their project DosRight Syringe Clip out of the lab and into the market.
When 3rd Stone Design, a product design, strategy, and development consultancy, licensed the DoseRight Syringe Clip out of the Rice University Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) program, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) had placed a preliminary order for 200,000 units. The DoseRight product was a simple plastic clip, inserted into the top portion of a standard oral syringe to facilitate the accurate pediatric dosing of liquid ARV medications in countries with widespread HIV/AIDs. However, 3rd Stone Design encountered problems when their prototype could not be manufactured in high volumes at an affordable price. This case study explores how 3rd Stone Design modified its product design to fulfill the CHAI order.
When a team at Stanford University accepted a challenge to design a low-cost prosthetic knee joint that could be produced locally for use in the JaipurFoot Organization's clinics across India, the students were eager to dive into the technical aspects of developing a product. However, they learned the organization already used an inexpensive joint that through research, discovered that associated emotional and psychological issues needed to be addressed in creating a better design.
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.
The cofounder of a microlending outfit says entrepreneurs need to "wake up each day and say, 'Now what?'"
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.
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.
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.
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.