Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Spring 2014

Volume 12, Number 2

The spring 2014 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review includes two articles that highlight the tension between innovation and continuous improvement. In the cover story, “The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation,”’ the authors argue that foundations need to take more risks in their grantmaking. In “Fundamentals, Not Fads,” the authors point out that many nonprofits fail because leaders don’t focus enough attention on fundamental management tasks.

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The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

A growing number of foundations are reintroducing risk-taking into their processes and portfolios as one way to create breakthrough change.



Meeting the Challenges of Global Health

In bringing health care to the developing world, innovators can benefit from lessons others learned the hard way. Includes magazine extras.


Nonprofit Management

Programs Aren’t Everything

The evaluation of nonprofit outcomes shouldn't focus exclusively on programmatic activity. Here's a look at what it means to take frontline work seriously.



Why Nonprofit Mergers Continue to Lag

The three hurdles that nonprofit managers must overcome to create successful mergers. Includes magazine extras.


What's Next



Women at the Wheel

In Mozambique, an effort to train women as ambulance drivers enhances public safety and fosters opportunity.



Funding the Sun

Village Power Finance gives members of nonprofit associations a novel way to pay for solar conversion projects.


Economic Development

Lots of Opportunity

An online platform helps city governments to discover, organize, and market publicly owned property.


Urban Development

Bike-Sharing Goes Small

Local bike-lending arrangements offer an alternative to bigger, more complex bike-sharing systems.


Field Report

Law Without Lawyers

Human Rights

Law Without Lawyers

Timap for Justice trains ordinary citizens to provide legal assistance in a country—Sierra Leone—where legal professionals are scarce.



Scoring Sustainability

Through an initiative called Earthwards, Johnson & Johnson aims to create a greener company—one product at a time.


Urban Development

A Smarter Way to Park

In San Francisco, planners are using variable pricing to reduce the congestion, pollution, and aggravation that come with big-city traffic.


Civil Society

Citizen Chronicles

A program in Alberta, Canada, showcases the way that people with disabilities contribute actively to their communities. Includes magazine extras.


Case Study



Growth Force

A few years ago, the Foundation revamped its revenue model. Today, it's not just a grantmaker. It's a rapidly expanding software vendor.



Nonprofit Management

Fundamentals, Not Fads

The experience of prize-winning social sector leaders highlights the enduring lessons of nonprofit management. Part one of a six-part series.



Making a Healthy Exit

In places like rural Guatemala, the quest to sustain a vital social enterprise often depends on finding the right private-sector partner.

By David Lehr | 3

Measuring Social Impact

Advocacy Isn’t “Soft”

Evaluating efforts to promote shifts in policy requires methods that are at once rigorous and flexible.


Impact Investing

A Fault in Funding

An initiative undertaken by the World Bank reveals a troubling gap in the financing of social enterprises.



Human Rights

Lean In—Together

Gender pay equity is higher in countries where women's involvement in advocacy and organizing efforts is more robust.



Do Volunteers Make Better Employees?

People who perform volunteer work, far from being distracted by it, tend to perform better at their jobs.


Individual Giving

Fatal Flaw

After a disaster, donors to relief funds pay more attention to the death toll than to the needs of survivors.


Nonprofit Management

Leading Indicators

Team dynamics strongly affect the level of commitment shown by volunteer leaders of nonprofit associations.



Human Rights

Safety as a Civil Right

Lawless violence in the developing world is a plague that undermines efforts to end extreme poverty.

Reviewed By Connie Rice | 1


Future Thirst

Meeting the world's growing demand for water will require advances in technology that build on 3,000 years of progress.

Reviewed By Eric Stowe

Civil Society

Going With the “Idea Flow”

An emerging "data-driven" science of human behavior promises to help us understand and solve social problems.

Reviewed By Amir Goldberg

Nonprofit Management

The Long Race

The art of expanding an organization is less about aiming high than about "grinding it out."

Reviewed By Sam Goldman

Last Look

Human Rights

Resurrecting Traditional Practices

There has been a renewed interest in traditional Indian spiritual practices by Native and other Americans alike.



What Would It Take?

The president and CEO of GEO describes what the organization learned over the course of its Scaling What Works initiative.


Nonprofit Management

Emerging Pathways to Transformative Scale

The cofounder of and a consultant at The Bridgespan Group elaborate on important strategies for scaling up social impact.


Nonprofit Management

Pathways to Scale for a Place-Based Funder

The VP of program at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation explains how her organization supports local nonprofits.


Nonprofit Management

The Road to Scale Runs Through Public Systems

The president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation writes about the importance of working with public systems.


Nonprofit Management

From Innovation to Results

The director of the Social Innovation Fund explains how the fund balances innovation and support for proven programs.

By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Nonprofit Management

Perspectives on the Social Innovation Fund

The president and CEO of REDF elaborates on her organization's experience serving as a Social Innovation Fund intermediary.

By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Nonprofit Management

Partners in Impact

The president of Communities In Schools writes about the role funders played in helping his organization scale up.


Nonprofit Management

We Need More Scale, Not More Innovation

The president and CEO of The California Endowment discusses the importance of engaging in advocacy and community organizing.


Nonprofit Management

More Resources, More Co-Investors, More Impact

The president and CEO of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation elaborates on the vital role growth capital aggregation plays.


Nonprofit Management

In Collaboration, Actions Speak Louder than Words

The author of Cracking the Network Code discusses the important role of networks in scaling up solutions.


Nonprofit Management

Leveraging a Movement Moment

The VP of programs at GEO writes about the opportunities for grantmakers in supporting social movements.