We love it when the universe conspires to make us look smarter than we are. As we were putting the final touches on this issue of Stanford Business magazine, someone pointed out that it contains a trio of long-form articles that align with the three pillars of the school’s motto: “Change Lives, Change Organizations, Change the World.”
“Give Them Shelter” tells the story of a team of GSB alumni who are tackling the homeless crisis in San Francisco and beyond. The cornerstone of their audacious plan is already under construction: a six-story stack of cozy, prefabricated micro-studios that will soon change the lives of hundreds of people, many of whom now live on the streets.
“Green Giants” highlights alumni who are working in a variety of ways — and largely behind the scenes — to decarbonize the economy and prevent cataclysmic climate change. By focusing on non-glamorous but pivotal sectors such as risk management and private equity, they are looking to change organizations in fundamental ways, all with an eye toward saving the planet.
Our cover story, “Agents of Growth,” focuses on two companies — one in Kenya, the other in India — that have been nurtured by Stanford Seed, the school’s transformative, international executive-training program. Seed enlists and deploys alumni, faculty, students, and staff to teach promising entrepreneurs in developing countries how to scale their businesses. The goal is to create jobs, boost local economies, and reverse the global cycle of poverty. In other words, change the world.
If we’d spotted that obvious thematic thread earlier in our production process, we might have packaged those articles together more conspicuously, and you, dear reader, never would have known what we’re about to confess here: that a lot of the best work that gets done in these pages results from happy accidents.
— The Editors