Blogs

Recommended Reads: April 2016

This month's reading list includes a New York Times article on Medicare's planned expansion of the diabetes prevention program; the shift of the sharing economy from social movement to economic model; for-profit insights on how to strike a balance when scaling; and more.

Posted: 4/6/2016 8:06:01 AM by Carole Matthews

From What Works to What Fits

To date, the social sector has limited experience matching beneficiaries with appropriate levels of service. And after more than a decade of intense effort to develop programs that work, it’s time for the sector to take the next step and learn how to deliver those programs to the right people. Durham Connects, a program that matches families with newborns with needed services, offers an instructive example of what it takes to do this right.

Posted: 3/23/2016 9:07:16 AM by Carole Matthews

Unbroken News: A Federal Program that Is Accountable and Working

From its inception in the early days of the Obama presidency, the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) was positioned as a different kind of program, actively touted by the White House to be a "new way of doing business" for the federal government.

Seven years later, despite its early hype and controversy, a set of independent reports released in December by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the SIF's parent agency, clearly establish that the SIF is very different—in its readiness to embrace accountability for results and its demonstrated success to date in generating them.

Posted: 3/1/2016 6:01:11 PM by Paul Carttar

Recommended Reads: March 2016

Here's what we're reading this month, March 2016, on the topic of transformative scale.

Posted: 3/1/2016 5:21:04 PM by Carole Matthews

“Exponential Organizations” – Provocative New Models for Scaling Impact?

Businesses like Amazon and Tesla aren’t just building better mousetraps. They’re taking fundamentally different approaches to achieving results, often by leveraging 21st-century technologies and paying close attention to how people use them. In Exponential Organizations, authors Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone, and Yuri Van Geest of Singularity University highlight how these and lesser-known innovators are rapidly scaling and generating value. While their stories might not seem immediately germane to the social sector, several key characteristics of these entities hold lessons for leaders pursuing social impact at a transformative scale.

Posted: 2/24/2016 6:00:00 AM by Carole Matthews

How to Scale Impact Faster: Replication or Aligned-Action Network?

Replication has long been regarded as the gold standard for spreading programs that work. But social sector leaders are increasingly frustrated by its limitations. It’s typically a slow growth strategy, and achieving the same (never mind better) results at replication sites is a relative rarity. Might aligned-action networks represent a better alternative?

Posted: 2/17/2016 5:52:28 AM by Carole Matthews

Recommended Reads: February 2016

This list takes a look at articles, research, books, and more that are bringing new insights to the pursuit of impact at a transformative scale. This month we share thoughts around disruptive strategies, platforms as a way to massively scale services, a low-tech approach to achieving scale, and more.

Posted: 2/3/2016 6:13:47 AM by Carole Matthews

Bridgespan Top 10

As we start a new year, we offer up a collection of influential insights from 2015. This Top 10 list includes the five most-read on Bridgespan.org and five Bridgespan-authored articles published on Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), including three that were among SSIR’s top 10 for the year.  

Posted: 1/27/2016 4:09:35 PM by Carole Matthews

Systems Change: More than a Buzzword

While the definition of systems change is still elusive to Jeff Edmondson, his experience over the last decade working to improve educational outcomes for kids has revealed a few key insights on what it takes to achieve it. First, it takes a commitment by partners to define common outcomes for which they will hold themselves accountable. It also requires integrated data sets to help partners make sense of actions to be taken. And lastly, it takes an understanding that success is not determined by what is done in meetings, but what is done between them.

Posted: 1/27/2016 7:55:43 AM by Jeanette Hafke

The Next Chapter for Transformative Scale

Social innovators have long demonstrated how to build and replicate effective programs, yet even the most effective programs still struggle to create population-level change. This challenge inspired us to team up with Harvard Business School to launch the Transformative Impact Collaborative—a group of 26 nonprofits and funders that are building transformative scale strategies. Out of this collboration a number of important themes and issues have emerged. Bradach's latest transformative scale blog is the first in a series that will explore these themes over the coming year.

Posted: 1/11/2016 8:43:46 AM by Jeanette Hafke

Social Impact Bonds: How Do We Avoid A Bubble?

Social impact bonds (SIB's) are substantive innovations with distinctive potential to add meaningful value to our society. But, then, so were Dutch tulips, early railroad stocks and, of course, dot com startups. And it may be time for major players in the SIB market to consider action that dampens expectations and aligns them better with what this innovative but as yet unproven tool is actually likely to deliver. 

Posted: 12/16/2015 11:39:14 AM by The Bridgespan Group

Letter to Congress on the SIF: Learn Before You Leap

In recent weeks, the Appropriations Committees of both houses of Congress have "zeroed out" the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) despite the publication of net-positive assessment of the program and the assignment of a new high-powered director to the program. Paul Carttar's letter to congress aims to interpret these disparate signs and calls upon Congress to allow current grantees to complete the programs they’re implementing on its behalf and enable SIF management to accelerate and expand its knowledge-dissemination activities.

Posted: 8/5/2015 11:01:49 AM by Carole Matthews

Two Basic Truths of Investing for Social Impact

If we are to achieve the full potential of investing for social impact, first we need to agree on what to call it. And once we've settled on that, we must help organizations strengthen their core activities—programs, products, or services—that actually cause positive social outcomes and develop sound financial models with the most sustainable revenue sources.

Posted: 5/13/2015 7:01:37 PM by Jeanette Hafke

How a Service Provider Can Elevate the Performance of a Field

The nation's 1.5 million nonprofits are a highly diverse group, yet they share many of the same operational challenges: how to raise money, build a sustainable revenue model, grow to the next level, provide talent development and leadership succession, or develop a top-notch board.

Nonprofits typically address these issues by seeking one-on-one advice, an inefficient use of scarce resources. Rather than reinvent the wheel thousands of times a year as one of these core issues comes up, there's a huge opportunity for a service provider to create very low cost repeatable processes and supports with broad application to the nonprofit sector. 

Posted: 4/14/2015 10:46:45 PM by The Bridgespan Group

The Little NGO that Roared

Splash, an international charity dedicated to bringing clean drinking water to children living in urban poverty, is on a mission: to become obsolete in the countries where it works. And working with local partners--like NGOs, governments, and businesses--will help them get there. 

Posted: 3/18/2015 6:31:34 AM by The Bridgespan Group
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