Three Phases for Getting Experts to Innovate

A phased approach to innovation can help expert-oriented organizations embrace experimentation and learning.

Posted: 11/18/2014 11:28:44 PM by The Bridgespan Group

Look to Government—Yes, Government—for New Social Innovations

If asked to identify the hotbed of social innovation right now, many people would likely point to the new philanthropy of Silicon Valley or social entrepreneurs of Ashoka or Echoing Green; very few people, if any, would say the state capital or Capitol Hill. Yet, around the world, there are local, regional, and national government innovators who are challenging this paradigm. They are pioneering a new form of experimental government—bringing new knowledge and practices to the craft of governing and policy making; drawing on human-centered design, user engagement, open innovation, and cross-sector collaboration; and using data, evidence, and insights in new ways.

Posted: 11/18/2014 10:02:31 PM by Jeanette Hafke

What Are Social (Innovation) Labs, and Why Should You Care?

Over the last decade, a growing movement of practitioners has adopted a more experimental approach to addressing complex challenges. They don’t ask donors to invest in a plan. They ask for investments in a diverse team, which then manages a portfolio of ideas. It’s talent that matters, and the process of iteration, trial and error, not a fixed plan that has little chance of success. Talented teams will produce outputs and outcomes that are valuable, for example new services or products, new skills and capacities and new intellectual property.

At the heart of this movement is a phenomenon known as a social laboratory. Social labs focus on innovating practical actions to address complex social challenges.

Posted: 11/12/2014 8:11:57 PM by Chris Lindquist

Webinar - A New Approach to Tackle Systems Change: Social Innovation Labs

Playback of our November 10, 2014 webinar intended to build an understanding of what social innovation labs are and how they can be used to address complex social and environmental problems. We share research, expert insights, and perspectives on how these labs have helped funders and nonprofit organizations create environments conducive to innovation and experimentation.

Posted: 11/10/2014 4:35:30 PM by Chris Lindquist

Can Innovation Labs Solve Ebola and Other World Problems?

Social innovation labs are gaining ground and finding effective solutions to global challenges quickly and inclusively.

Posted: 11/10/2014 2:00:07 PM by Chris Lindquist

Innovation Lab Resources

A set of resources for those interested in learning more about innovation labs.

Posted: 11/10/2014 1:00:46 PM by Chris Lindquist

Taking Measure of Impact Investing

After several months of exciting developments for impact investing, the SOCAP conference in September provided an ideal opportunity to take measure of the movement at this key point in its evolution. My latest blog—coauthored with Willa Seldon—offers three takeaways from SOCAP and some suggestions for how impact investing can advance from here.

Posted: 10/14/2014 1:32:21 PM by Paul Carttar

Social Good = Scale x Impact (Who Knew?)

One Acre's Matt Forti and Andrew Youn share why both nonprofits and academics should focus on scale and impact in this simple formula for good.

Posted: 9/3/2014 6:33:44 AM by Carole Matthews

Achieving Growth Through Partnerships

BELL serves some 13,000 at-risk children in grades K-8 with its highly effective summer and after-school programs. The YMCA counts almost 9 million children as members, and 80 percent of Americans live within five miles of a Y facility. In 2013, the two organizations forged a strategic partnership to scale BELL’s model through the vast Y network. The work is far from easy, but the potential for impact is tremendous. In this blog, BELL’s CEO describes the challenges and opportunities of this exciting partnership in pursuit of impact at a transformative scale.

Posted: 8/19/2014 1:08:51 PM by The Bridgespan Group

Laying the Tracks for Future Growth

It's hard for nonprofits to raise money for their day-to-day work. It's even harder to raise money to grow their impact.

Posted: 7/30/2014 3:46:53 PM by Peter Kim

In Praise of Operations: Making "What Works" Actually Work

The fundamental value proposition of the "what works" movement is that the lives of many people in need can be materially improved by expanding the reach of programs and organizations that reliably yield strong results for those they serve.

Which leads me to this question: why do we in the social sector give so little attention to operations—that is, what makes "what works" actually work?

Posted: 7/29/2014 2:55:54 PM by Paul Carttar

Attending to the “Unsexy” Side of Scaling: Sustainable Funding

There is a sobering reality, a side to scaling that we too frequently avoid: with each upward ratchet in size, as a nonprofit expands facilities and hires more employees, it also increases the amount of money it must raise each year simply to maintain its operations. And if it can't do this, it can no longer build scale.

Posted: 7/1/2014 11:57:17 AM by Paul Carttar

Lessons from the Transformative Scale Series

We really can achieve impact at a scale that solves problems.

Posted: 6/19/2014 12:00:00 AM by The Bridgespan Group

Transforming Society's View of Retirement

A rapidly growing group of individuals are redefining their post-midlife years in ways that hold great potential for themselves and society.

Posted: 6/17/2014 12:00:00 AM by The Bridgespan Group

The Power of Profit in Advancing Systemic Change

Commercial platforms offer powerful paths to solving social problems, but creating a successful platform presents enormous challenges, including how to get the business model right. Michael Chu, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, and co-founder and managing director of the IGNIA Fund, a venture capital firm, discusses the challenges and shares five questions he asks when considering business models to solve social problems at scale.

Posted: 6/12/2014 12:00:00 AM by The Bridgespan Group
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