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Social Innovation Speakers

Patagonia Keeps a Close Eye on Its Supply Chain

Seen as a leader in sustainable business practices, Patagonia tracks every step in the manufacture of its products to be sure there are "no unintended consequences of our actions," says founder Yvon Chouinard.

Social Enterprise Pioneer Scofield Created the World Bank for the Poor

Social enterprises hold potential to "effect the kinds of changes our society needs right now," social entrepreneur Rupert Scofield told a Stanford student audience.

Jane Chen Embraces Efforts to Save Premature Babies

Jane Chen, MBA '08, is co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a nonprofit company dedicated to creating low-cost portable incubators to save the lives of low birthweight babies in developing countries. The Embrace infant warmer was launched in India in the spring of 2011 she told the annual Women in Management banquet at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

A Sobering Look at Today's Federal Debt Video

The United States has recovered from high debt in the past but there are no easy solutions to today’s estimated $14 trillion bill, panelists told a business school audience.

Nonprofits Face Change as Old Charitable Funding Models Decline

Organizations such as Goodwill Industries and the Camp Fire Girls of America have endured for more than 100 years. The key to their survival is change, not more of the same, their leaders told a business school audience.

TARP Head Allison Challenges the Banking Industry

Banking industry executives need to look broadly at changes to reform the American financial system, says Herbert Allison, MBA '71, the head of the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Microlending Gives Dignity to People with Leprosy

In India, microlending has been a powerful tool in helping individuals with leprosy move from a life of begging to economic self-sufficiency, leaders of the group Rising Star Outreach told a student audience at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Don't Waste Volunteers' Time

Many nonprofits fail to use their volunteers effectively, asking them to stuff envelopes when they could be doing more skilled and mission-critical work, speakers told a Stanford conference. While financial donations dropped in 2008, volunteering rose to more than 8 billion hours of service, worth an estimated $162 billion.

The United States Can Learn from High School Students
in India, China

The United States’ attitude toward high school, where athletic ability is often valued more than academic prowess, could threaten the nation’s future, warns venture capitalist Robert Compton. “The fault lies not in our schools but in ourselves.”

Environmental Investment Can Pay Dividends says Mark Tercek

There are “huge opportunities for companies and other private sector players in the environmental area,” said Mark Tercek, an investment banker who spent the past 24 years at global giant Goldman Sachs. “We’re off to the races there.

Consumers Influence Can Shutter Sweatshops
Consumers can wield great influence over working conditions under which goods are manufactured, Professor Huggy Rao told a Stanford audience. “You’ve got to influence consumers so they’re willing to pay more,” he said.  

It’s Often Smart to Make the First Move in a Negotiation

Making the first offer in a negotiation can have the power of setting a starting point, Professor Margaret Neale advised a conference of nonprofit managers. She advises being aggressive—“just this side of crazy.”

A Brand Is a Promise to a Customer
Nonprofits may not compete as fiercely as for-profit businesses, but they must find ways to make their brand stand out and evoke emotions from potential supporters says Professor Jennifer Aaker.

Nike Foundation Aims to Improve the Lives of 500 Million Girls
The Nike Foundation has zeroed in on a pressing need, says Maria Eitel, who heads the organization: the plight of 500 million girls in many of the world's most impoverished countries who are cut off from taking part in their nations' economies. (May 2007)

A Pitch for Deeper Green Thinking from Venture Capitalist John Doerr
Venture capitalist John Doerr doesn’t believe the world’s population will change its wasteful ways in time to stop global warming, he told an overflow audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. But, ever the optimist, he urged MBA students to make it a priority. (March 2007)
VideoJohn Doerr video, 54 minutes

Making the Case For Socially and Environmentally Responsible Supply Chains
On the day after the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, more than 200 corporate and academic supply chain management experts gathered at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to exchange ideas and best practices aimed at making the global supply chain more sustainable. (April 2007)

Let My People Go Surfing: Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia
Patagonia Inc. founder and owner, Yvon Chouinard, offered his Stanford audience a slew of counterintuitive business practices that have helped make his apparel company a success. (October 2006)

Collaborating on Sustainable Development
The role of universities in promoting sustainable development was one of the topics debated by business leaders and academics attending the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development meeting at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The group found no easy answers to long-standing issues such as the need to increase plastic recycling and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Innovation Summit: When Baby Boomers Lead Social Innovation
When most Americans think of retirement, they see golf courses, sandy beaches, and cruise ships. But another vision of retirement is gaining traction. That vision—"Americans leading with experience"—was the focus of the 2006 Purpose Prize and Innovation Summit, cosponsored by San Francisco-based Civic Ventures and the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. (September 2006)

Net Impact 2005 Conference (November 2005)

The HP Way Only Sounds Simple, Says Vyomesh Joshi
Leadership at Hewlett-Packard puts business first, people second, and managers' egos third, Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of the firm's imaging and printing group, told a Net Impact conference audience.

Value Creation: Moving Beyond CSR, Social Enterprise and Other Limiting Mindsets
Thought leader Jed Emerson, Generation Foundation, says focusing on how to improve social enterprise, discerning the future of corporate social responsibility, or defining social capital markets may be looking at the wrong end of the horse. Emerson explores the nature of value and how best to think about the implications of blended value investing and organizational management.

Organic Industry Pioneers Say Business Can and Must Be Part of the Solution
Two pioneers of the organic food industry say a growing awareness of global warming and other issues is making corporate America eager to get into markets once not taken seriously.

Environmental Conservation
Amory B. Lovins, CEO and co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, discuss their business strategies for making a positive impact on the environment during the Net Impact Conference. Lovins' focus is on the United States' oil dependence while making a profit; Rogers' is on conservation finance and how to work successfully with business and governments for land conservation.

Living Your Values and Effecting Change through Tempered Radicalism
Debra Meyerson, associate professor in the Stanford School of Education, is the author of the book Tempered Radicals as well as other research on incremental and bottom-up change strategies to advance social justice and social responsibility within organizations.

From Demoralization to Living Community: The DaVita Story
Chairman and CEO Kent Thiry heads DaVita, the largest independent provider in the United States of dialysis services to people with chronic kidney failure. Five years ago it was being investigated by the SEC and sued by shareholders. Today it's market capitalization is $3 billion and it is a leader in its field, a fact Thiry attributes to building community and shared values.

Katrina Produces Questions, Not Answers
A discussion of the issues of race and class that emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina argued the disaster brought Americans out of a sense of complacency and forced them to address some long simmering issues in society.(November 2005)

Is Investing Five Percent Enough for Charitable Organizations?
Luther Ragin of the Heron Foundation argues that the prevailing model of philanthropic organizations giving away just 5 percent of their funds each year may be shortchanging charitable causes. (October 2005)
Audio Program

For Nonprofits, Local Buy-In Creates Sustainable Value
Development initiatives that rely heavily on partnerships with local communities are far more likely to create sustainable value, social entrepreneurs agreed during a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation. (March 2005)

Simply Reducing Waste Is Not Good Enough
Green design advocate Michael Braungart calls on manufacturers to eliminate environmentally harmful materials altogether."Less bad is no good," he told a Stanford Business School audience. (February 2005)

Panelists Discuss Nonprofit Board Governance
Led by Bill Meehan, senior director of McKinsey & Company and lecturer, panelists debated practices for effective board governance of nonprofits. Panelists included Ashley Boren, MBA '89, executive director, Sustainable Conservation; Jan Masaoka, executive director, Compass Point Nonprofit Services; and Burton McMurtry, chair, Stanford University Board of Trustees. Sponsored by the Public Management Program and Alumni Consulting Team. (November 2004)

The Emerging Leadership Crisis in the Nonprofit Sector: A Discussion with Tom Tierney
Tom Tierney, chairman of Bridgespan and the former worldwide managing director of Bain & Company, examines what this looming crisis might mean for nonprofit organizations and the sector as a whole. (May 2004)

Beetles, Snails, and Squirrels Can Help Humans Solve Design Problems
Science writer and author Janine Benyus urged an overflow Stanford Business School audience to look to the world of nature for ways to cool buildings, collect water in the desert, keep pipes from clogging with scale, and manage air traffic. Her speech was sponsored by the School's Center for Social Innovation. (February 2003)

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 launch of the new Stanford Social Innovation Review. (May 2003)

Global Philanthropy Forum: Conference on Borderless Giving
Three Nobel Peace Prize recipients joined nearly 400 scholars, philanthropists, foundation leaders, and government executives for a two-day discussion of global philanthropy. (April 2002)

Stanford Business School Sponsors first Corporate Philanthropy Workshop
Give early and give often was the message at the first Workshop on Corporate Philanthropy: Building Momentum (October 2000)

Walking the Double Bottom Line: Entrepreneurs Tackle Joint Social and For-Profit Missions
It is not easy for an organization to merge the business acumen of the corporate sector with the conscience of nonprofits. Panelists discuss learning how to balance their double bottom lines of profits and social goals. (January 2002)

Social Networking: Is there a Business Model?
A handful of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have created a resurgence of websites dedicated to enabling social networking: business contacts, affinity groups, and even dating. At the same time other technologists are experimenting with network platforms to enable new communication avenues. These were some of the topics that drew a capacity crowd in September for the MIT/Stanford Venture Laboratory discussion on Social Networking.

Philanthropy Discussion Series Speakers
Sponsored by the Business School's Center for Social Innovation and the University's Haas Center for Public Service, the Philanthropy Discussion Series offered informal sessions with some of the biggest names in the foundation world.

Peter Hero
President, Community Foundation Silicon Valley
Community Foundations are Looking Abroad

Kathleen McCarthy
Director, Center for the Study of Philanthropy at City University of New York
Inherited Wealth May Pay Bills, Not Do Good

Susan Berresford
President, Ford Foundation
Foundations Must Play a Role in Policing Themselves

Jim Canales
President and CEO, James Irvine Foundation
Aligning Needs and Goals Crucial to Nonprofit Groups

Bill Gates Sr. & Mimi Gardner Gates
Bill Gates Sr.
Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Mimi Gardner Gates
Director, Seattle Art Museum
Foundations Can Go Where Government Grants Fear to Tread, Says Gates Foundation Leader

Sally Osberg
President, Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation Focuses on Social Entrepreneurship