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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Summer 2009

Volume 7, Number 3

The summer 2009 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review highlights the rising tide of public feeling that too many organizations operate unethically and dishonestly. The last decade has produced numerous examples of egregious ethical and moral misconduct in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. In “Ethics and Nonprofits,” authors Deborah L. Rhode and Amanda K. Packe unpack common ethical issues and misconduct, and suggest ways nonprofits can institutionalize ethical values in all aspects of an organization’s culture.

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Mission-Driven Governance

The prevailing governance model is fundamentally adversarial, pitting board members in a never-ending struggle with executives. This model may ensure that the legal requirements of oversight and compliance are met, but it does little to advance the organization’s goals. The authors propose a new and more effective framework, one where board members and executives work together to advance the organization’s mission.

By Raymond Fisman, Rakesh Khurana, & Edward Martenson | 1

Ethics and Nonprofits

Unethical behavior remains a persistent problem in nonprofits and for-profits alike. To help organizations solve that problem, the authors examine the factors that influence moral conduct, the ethical issues that arise specifically in charitable organizations, and the best ways to promote ethical behavior within organizations.

By Deborah L. Rhode & Amanda K. Packel | 14

Platforms for Collaboration

Some of the brightest ideas for social change grow in the spaces between organizations and sectors. Yet few organizations have systems that make collaboration happen. To foster innovation, organizations need to develop places where they can come together and work creatively—that is, platforms for collaboration. In this article, a management expert identifies three kinds of collaboration platforms—exploration, experimentation, and execution—and then outlines what organizations can do to put these platforms to work for them.

By Satish Nambisan

The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing

From pink ribbons to Product Red, cause marketing adroitly serves two masters, earning profits for corporations while raising funds for charities. Yet the short-term benefits of cause marketing—also known as consumption philanthropy—belie its long-term costs. These hidden costs include individualizing solutions to collective problems; replacing virtuous action with mindless buying; and hiding how markets create many social problems in the first place. Consumption philanthropy is therefore unsuited to create real social change.

By Angela M. Eikenberry | 18

What's Next

Hedge Funds for Good

Uhuru Capital Management manages a conventional fund of hedge funds, but with an attention to social values.

By Suzie Boss | 1

Mobilizing Against Fake Drugs

Texting emerges as a source of confirmation for drug legitimacy.

By Suzie Boss

White House Digs Innovation

Social innovation now has an official place in the White House.

By Suzie Boss

Tweets for Change

Tweeters come together for spontaneous gatherings of like-minded philanthropists.

By Suzie Boss

Field Report


Making the B List

The B Corp seal of approval distinguishes truly responsible businesses from mere poseurs.


The Parent of Invention

RAMP nurtures local inventors in India, Peru, and Indonesia.

By Aaron Dalton

Art Mimics Art

Manchester Bidwell Corporation replicates by adapting general strategies to local cultures.

By Suzie Boss

Case Study


Online Giving

The Profit in Nonprofit

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 | 13



Your Nonprofit Construction Manager

The importance of finding dedicated project managers and the money to support them.

By Elisabeth D. Babcock

Reward Progress, Reduce Poverty

We must break the stereotype that low-income communities are unable to help themselves.

By Maurice Lim Miller | 2

Social Entrepreneurship Revisited

Social entrepreneurship is one of the most alluring terms on the problem-solving landscape today. The question is not whether social entrepreneurship is a term in
good currency, but what it actually means.

By Paul C. Light | 24



Think Passionate

Investors screen for entrepreneurial passion when making funding decisions.

By Alana Conner

Color Blindness Is Shortsighted

Acknowledging employee diversity has its benefits.

By Alana Conner

The Volunteer Boom

Nonprofits will soon have more volunteers than they can handle.

By Alana Conner

The Violent Death of Benevolence

Research supports violent media's negative impact on civility.

By Alana Conner

When Swag Backfires

When donor gifts are public, social approbation is reward enough.

By Alana Conner | 1

At a Loss for Ethics

Studies show that individuals are more susceptible to corrupt behavior when trying to avoid a loss.

By Alana Conner


Douglas G. Brinkley

The Ultimate Second Act

The Unfinished Presidency by Douglas Brinkley

Reviewed By John Wood | 9
Activists Make or Break
Radical Innovations
Hayagreeva Rao

Unleash the Hordes

Market Rebels: How Activists Make or Break Radical Innovations by Havagreeva Rao

Reviewed By Carl Schramm | 1
A Business Manifesto
Adam Werbach

Greening the Corporation

Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto by Adam Werbach

Reviewed By Amory Lovins
Is Not Working and
How There Is a Better
Way for Africa
Dambisa Moyo

Just Say “No”

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo

Reviewed By Jane Wales | 12



Q & A: Judith Rodin

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

By Eric Nee | 2