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Center for Social Innovation

The Center for Social Innovation educates insightful leaders for social and environmental change.


How we define what social innovation is, what drives it, and how it is distinct from social entrepreneurship.


Our impact compass helps conceptualize impact and provides the tools to assess the relative social impact potential of various organizations, programs, or startup ventures.

Teaching & Curriculum

Our social innovation curriculum is part of a holistic social-innovation learning model that builds off of the management core curriculum and leverages academic frameworks, students’ and professionals’ experiences, and hands-on discovery. We support both tenure-line and adjunct faculty in developing courses that are grounded in the fundamentals of social innovation: impact measurement, human-centered design, systems thinking, and cross-sector approaches.

Students have the opportunity to personalize their coursework to focus in a particular field and shape their academic efforts based on their preferred approach to social impact.

Our students learn by doing — embarking on a study trip, working with a mentor in the field, or participating in an investment committee to experience firsthand how their education can make a difference.

We offer financial support to help students who decide to join or start a social or environmental purpose organization get started on their impact journeys.


Academic research and ongoing evaluation are essential to understanding what works and what does not as organizations venture to offer solutions to social and environmental problems. Stanford GSB faculty contribute new thinking on ways to achieve social impact, and we provide research services and support to faculty conducting research on a variety of topics related to social innovation.

Resources for Social Innovators

General Resources

A reference of common terminology, concepts, and definitions in the social innovation sector.


There are many things to do before launching and operating a social venture — especially in the areas of planning and implementation. These free resources can help you navigate the path to launch.


We partnered with the Alumni Consulting Team to identify resources for nonprofit and social-purpose organizations to strengthen their boards, connect with consulting or legal services, improve their marketing, or find discounts on office space or tech platforms.

Global Health

Explore a collection of mini-case studies produced by Stanford GSB to provide insights and lessons to help innovators succeed on their journey from an idea to the implementation of a global health solution.