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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Microlending in leprosy colonies frees residents from poverty, shame, and isolation.
A new social enterprise incubator fills two critical gaps facing social entrepreneurs: mentoring and access to capital.
Play this online game and learn social innovation strategies to solve global crises.
Used shipping containers become health care clinics in the developing world.
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.
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.
An Indian army vet builds business relationships across battle lines in war-torn Kashmir villages.
How Fundación RAP builds bridges across party lines.
Being an innovator is never easy. But tackling the needs of underserved patients and healthcare providers in developing countries can be especially difficult. The idiosyncrasies of the healthcare sector, the contextual barriers found in resource-constrained environments, and the already-difficult-to-implement innovation process, make entrepreneurship in global health time consuming, expensive, and risky.
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
When an earthquake hits, what should you do? Should you get out of the house? The answer, says Elizabeth Hausler, founder of Build Change, depends upon where you live. In this audio interview with host Sheela Sethuraman, Hausler describes how the strategies of Build Change are helping villages in Indonesia and China to build earthquake-resistant housing.
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?
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.
To be a successful entrepreneur you need to ignore your naysayers and have a passion bordering on obsession.
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.
In 2005, Robin Hood was the largest private poverty-fighting organization in New York City, and its venture philanthropy model had inspired various foundations nationwide. The management team hoped to have an even greater impact by improving the application of best practices and metrics.
Greg Widmyer is contemplating the financial structure of a new for-profit company that provides after-school educational programs. He seeks funding for this venture, which he hopes to establish as a scalable and sustainable organization.
Jack Sheaffer had a unique wastewater treatment system that produced no organic sludge, no odor, and was cheaper than conventional systems. He wanted a business plan that would insulate him from marketplace shocks and found it with the BOOM program of build, own, operate, and maintain.
In December 2000, New Schools Venture Fund was debating the role it should play in helping a for-profit investee, LearnNow, attract new capital. Should New Schools, a public charity seeking to improve K-12 education, be investing in for-profit ventures?
In December 2000, New Schools Venture Fund was debating whether, as a public charity seeking to improve K-12 education, it should be investing in for-profit ventures. Part B of the case provides an update on how New Schools Venture Fund is approaching these questions.
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. While Sadler and his teammates viewed their early experience with the JaipurFoot Organization as incredibly valuable, the team decided that it wanted to make its low-cost knee joint available to amputees beyond the Jaipur clinics in India. Unfortunately, they discovered significant market barriers as many amputees who would benefit from their product are treated by multiple scattered and remote clinics. This case describes how the JaipurKnee team developed a strategy to access its target market and scale up its business.
Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In implementing this model, Life Force Kiosks would depend on a portion of the money collected from consumers to help underwrite the costs of the program and enable it to become sustainable on a long-term basis. Accordingly, it needed a system for tracking inventory, as well as the payments made, but corruption at the vendor Life Force Kiosks ultimately devised.
Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. In Kenya, slums are used to bringing their water containers to locla water taps and paying water vendors to fill them. Life Force Kiosks equips these water vendors with supplies and container cleaning serves to customers for a small incremental charge. When the founder of Life Force Kiosks was ready to launch this new service, he recognized the importance of hiring people from the community to help him establish and expand his operations. This case study explores his approach to identifying and collaborating with a local team.
After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. He spent nearly ten years in the field, investigating all aspect of the problem. The result was K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed. Koaska shopped the product to the major syringe manufactures, but discovered the produces believe was an inadequate demand to warrant investing in the syringe. Koaska gradually convinced organizations to become customers, but the sales of the AD syringe were not growing fast enough to make an impact.
After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. After much research, the result was K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed. To help raise awareness about the dangers of needle reuse and help stimulate demand for AD syringes, Koska founded a nonprofit called the SafePoint Trust. One of SafePoint’s first activities was to launch an aggressive public awareness campaign in India. As a result of the effort, 26 states in the country switched to using only AD syringes in their public health facilities. However, the change didn't stick, which several states reverting to the use of regular syringes over time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.