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




Articles on social change from the latest edition of SSIR


Summer 2013

Volume 11, Number 3

A great deal has been written about innovation in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, but little attention has been paid to innovation in the public sector. Innovation does occur in government, however, and the pace of innovation is accelerating. To help better understand innovation in the public sector and how to create the conditions that foster it, the summer 2013 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review features the cover story “Unleashing Breakthrough Innovation in Government.”

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Unleashing Breakthrough Innovation in Government

Public sector innovators are improving government by replicating the market conditions that have fostered breakthroughs in the private sector.



The Growth of European Venture Philanthropy

Growing numbers of foundations, government agencies, and corporations in Europe are adopting venture philanthropy practices.


Urban Development

Why Nonprofits Should Operate Commuter Trains

The nonprofit sector has taken on the management of a wide range of heretofore government services. Some portions of mass transit should be next.



Bottom-Up Solutions to Mitigating Climate Change

NGOs, social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and philanthropists need to help slow climate warming.


What's Next



A New Spin on Student Loans

Social Finance Inc. offers a network-based alternative to government-sponsored student loan programs.


Impact Investing

Factoring for Change

To support entrepreneurs in emerging markets, investors are drawing upon a financial tradition that dates back centuries.



Contagious Health

A community-based program in rural Kentucky uses face-to-face social networks to promote wellness.


Nonprofit Management

Overdue Credit for Nonprofits

The American Nonprofits Federal Credit Union will provide loans and other much-needed financial services to member organizations.

By Suzie Boss | 5

Field Report


Mobilizing the Masses

The Liberty Hill Foundation concentrates on helping community activists create lasting change in Los Angeles.



Keeping Kids in School

With hard data and soft skills, Communities in Schools fine-tunes its model to reduce dropout rates.

By Suzie Boss | 4

Technology & Design

Texting for Change

A South African foundation is leading the way in creating mobile-phone-based solutions for social change.


Urban Development

Housing the Homeless

Common Ground helps reduce the number of people sleeping on New York City streets by opening residential buildings for the homeless and impaired.


Case Study

Human Rights

Labor of Love

Ai-jen Poo, cofounder and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and 2014 McArthur genius grant recipient, is building a movement to improve the lives of 2.5 million US home care workers.



Human Rights

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

Health care communites can help.



Stop Funding Duplicative Projects

Field scans are crucial for providing data about what has been funded and where funding gaps lie.


Socially Responsible Business

Untangling the Confusion Over Organizational Ethics

A wave of ethics transgressions underlines the importance of comprehensive ethics oversight for organizational success.



Judging Success in Translational Medical Research

Getting promising drug discoveries out of university labs and into the drug pipeline is more difficult than it should be.



Individual Giving

Diversity and Generosity

Where levels of workplace diversity are higher than average, the level of charitable giving also tends to be higher.

By Corinna Wu | 2

Civil Society

What Makes People Mobilize?

Protest movements don't emerge merely because people have something to protest. Many other factors come into play.



The Return of Segregation

Racial integration in US schools has declined in the wake of recent court decisions to release districts from earlier desegregation orders.



Curbing Corruption

Political reform alone doesn't ensure good government. Equally important, if not more so, are institutions that let citizens act collectively.



Technology & Design

The “Just Right” Future

In the world that's now emerging, pre-modern practices that emphasize personal relationships are returning to prominence.

Reviewed By Lucy Bernholz


Philanthropy and Inequality

The disruptive force of the "new philanthropy" holds the promise of helping to reduce inequality. But will it actually do so?

Reviewed By Robin Rogers | 1


Conservation as an Investment

Environmental conservation and business investment are not mutually exclusive, argues the CEO of the Nature Conservancy.

Reviewed By Robert Jaquay

Last Look


Creating a Sunny World

Solnechny Mir (Our Sunny World) is a Russian rehabilitation center that hosts more than 250 children and their families each week.




Innovation for the Next 100 Years

The president of the Rockefeller Foundation explains what social innovation means to the foundation and how it is preparing for the next 100 years.


Civil Society

Social Innovation and Resilience: How One Enhances the Other

Social innovations must take into account the complexity of social problems and foster solutions resilient enough to adapt and survive.


Economic Development

Social Innovation Creates Prosperous Societies

The old paradigm of government aid is inadequate. What's needed are innovative solutions that foster sustainable economic growth.


Nonprofit Management

Innovate and Scale: A Tough Balancing Act

Organizations need the ability to both scale up successful innovations and create new ones, even those that challenge the status quo.



Forging Ahead with Cross-Sector Innovations

The mayor of Seoul, Korea, recounts his path to government office and explains why social innovation is central to the way that he governs.


Economic Development

Tapping the Entrepreneurial Potential of Grassroots Innovation

Instead of treating poor people as a sink of public aid and assistance, we should view them as a source of new ideas and innovations.


Nonprofit Management

Embracing the Paradoxes of Innovation

Innovation is necessary to further social progress, and yet the challenges and paradoxes inherent in the endeavor cannot be avoided.