May 23, 2013

What’s Your Way to Better the World?

From Start-up to Scale: Conversations from the Harvard Business Review-Bridespan Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact is a "best-of" collection of insights from a blog series regarding social innovation that ran from January 2013 to April 2013 on

BRAC boat schools pick up teachers and students and drop them off to their homes after classes.

A “sleeping-bag” incubator for premature babies in remote regions – at 10 percent of the cost of standard equipment. An online support group for victims of rare diseases and their loved ones – built with free apps. Cold, hard cash, in small amounts, given to poor families, no strings attached – and measurably improving their lives. These are just a few of the ways that young entrepreneurs, with a vision for helping the world, are getting results for society.

They are part of a growing movement in social enterprise, manifest in dramatic increases in recent years of relevant course content at leading MBA programs, and in the growing number of applicants—from hundreds to thousands—to longstanding social enterprise fellowships like Echoing Green. In parallel we’ve seen a rise in venture philanthropy that funds such efforts since early pioneers, like Ashoka, launched the field more than 30 years ago, and count dozens of modern-day “impact investors” across continents investing capital in promising solutions while taking a long, patient view on returns.

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It’s a good time to ensure that the most important questions and best insights regarding social innovation are widely shared, especially with those starting out. To that end, we’ve published: From Start-up to Scale:  Conversations from the Harvard Business Review-Bridgespan Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact. It’s a “best-of” collection, particularly relevant for folks mounting ventures, of a blog and webinar series that ran on from January to April this year, supported by impact investor Omidyar Network. The Insight Center curated blogs from practitioners and researchers, both upcoming and veteran, around a different theme each month.

  • Month 1: What to do and how to fund it
  • Month 2: The talent required to create change
  • Month 3: Using technology and data to scale what works

We benefited in the curation and sharing of Insight Center content from a team of advisors and their networks. From them we garnered the notion of a “best-of” collection of 15 blogs most relevant to newcomers to the field. The compendium is the result, handpicked by those involved with equipping them. We hope it will serve to spark valuable discussions in training fellows, coaching grantees, or prepping a team of employees to serve the common good.

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