Saturday, May 1, 2010

Social Innovation

Sucker to Saint and Other Views of Our Moral Behavior

Lofty principles matter much less than we think in determining our moral behavior says Professor Benoît Monin. We're more likely to be guided by whether we feel we are a good or bad person or whether we feel others around us are good or bad.

Web 2.0 Technology and the Developing World

A low-cost incubator designed to save premature babies in impoverished areas got a boost from the 21st century world of viral communications recently when a group of students went to work with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and raised $4,000 to support the firm building the incubator. Both the incubator — called Embrace — and the idea for viral marketing came out of separate classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Electric Cars, Clean Coal Should Go Together

The United States will see a slow move toward electric car adoption in the next 5-to-10 years while China will see only a small market for cars but big opportunities to manufacture and export batteries. A Stanford MBA student class study doubts either nation will move quickly to adopt clean coal technology.

The Power of Social Technology, or Harnessing Social Media to Make a Difference

In three months a group trying to save a friend’s life used social networking tools to get over 24,000 South Asians to register for the National Marrow Donor Program. Their effort inspired Professor Jennifer Aaker to develop a course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, The Power of Social Technology, which is supported by a set of social technology cases.

Small Steps, Big Leaps For Social Causes

Do you get a better response by describing the size of the Haitian earthquake disaster or focusing on one specific victim? Should you ask supporters of your cause to donate time or money? How will strangers respond to your request for help? These were some of the topics at a conference at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that brought together business leaders and academics to examine the psychology of giving.

“Non-Profits Are Seen as Warm and For-Profits as Competent: Firm Stereotypes Matter”

Consumers frequently assign stereotypical views to nonprofits, categorizing them as warm, generous and caring organizations, but assuming their business abilities will be less competent than their for-profit peers’. In contrast, for-profit companies are seen as more competent from a balance sheet perspective, but are not necessarily socially aware.

Ask and You’re Likely to Get Help

New research shows that people who ask for help are likely to get it. The Business School’s Frank Flynn is coauthor of studies showing that subjects seriously underestimate how many people will be willing to help them if asked and that asking directly is the best approach.

Prof. Sarah Soule Explains Effective Social Movements

Research by Sarah Soule and her colleagues shows that movements can create change, but timing is key.

Social Pressures Affect Corporate Strategy and Performance

Social pressure plays a major role in determining corporate strategy and performance according to an award-winning paper coauthored by Professor David Baron. The researchers find that social pressure and social performance reinforce each other, greater social pressure is associated with lower financial performance, and financial and social performance are largely unrelated.

Foster a More “Giving” Identity to Rouse Donors and Volunteers

How nonprofits ask for support can make their potential donors more generous with both their time or money says Prof. Jennifer Aaker. The trick is to help the donor developed a more giving identity- for instance helping them see themselves as the kind of people who support a specific cause.

Should Charities Ask For Time Before Money

Asking would-be donors for their time, not their money, is a better way for charities to increase donations says Prof. Jennifer Aaker. Asking donors first to volunteer their time can positively shift their willingness to give both time and money.

American Symphonies Often Spend More Than They Earn

Most major symphony orchestras in the United States regularly spend more money than they take in, and some dip so far into endowments that they risk their long-term survival, according to a new report commissioned by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Bad Preparation Puts Community College Students at Risk Students heading for the nation’s community colleges are less likely to be prepared for the demands of college than their classmates heading for schools with competitive admissions standards, says education professor Michael Kirst. Lack of preparation means a higher dropout rate and poses a real threat to the future qualifications of the U.S. labor force. (June 2005)

Teachers' Preferences for Where They Teach May Disadvantage Urban Schools New teachers overwhelmingly want to teach in school districts near where they grew up, say researchers, thus creating a “cycle of poverty” for some urban schools where few graduates go on to earn teaching degrees. It’s not just that teachers prefer teaching higher-performing kids, it’s that they want a school like the one they attended, says Susanna Loeb, associate professor in the Stanford School of Education. (June 2005)

MBA Graduates Want to Work for Caring and Ethical Employers A survey of more than 800 MBAs from 11 leading North American and European schools found a substantial number were willing to forgo some financial benefits to work for an organization with a better reputation for corporate social responsibility and ethics. (January 2004)

Sooner May Not Be Better as Charities Distribute the Wealth Michael Klausner takes issue with pundits who would like to require charitable organizations to distribute their assets faster than now required. His argument appears in the inaugural issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. (May 2003)

Managing Nonprofits Requires Mainstream Business Skills Strategy is key to success for nonprofit organizations says the head of the Nature Conservancy. Steve McCormick, a graduate of the School's Stanford Executive Program, was one of the speakers at the May launch of the new Stanford Social Innovation Review. (May 2003)

Scrooge May Really Want to Help Letting people pretend they are supporting worthy causes because there is something in it for them may increase their participation. Researchers say nonprofit organizations need to recognize the wide range of motives behind donations of both money and time. (March 2003)

Does Technology Need to be Curbed? Has society become the captive of technology? Just because we can work technological wonders isn't a good enough reason to do so. Professor Harold Leavitt argues that mankind's insatiable curiosity could become a danger. (November 2002)