Transforming Deserts into Farmland

The prophet Isaiah once promised that the Lord would make deserts bloom like Eden, but a bunch of Norwegians may actually get the job done first.

The ambitious Sahara Forest Project is developing cutting-edge food, water and energy technologies in the deserts of Qatar and Jordan in an attempt turn sand dunes into farms. The plan: to combine solar thermal technologies […]

Apple Announces $2 Billion Investment for Green Data Centers in Europe

Data centers have emerged as one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2013, data centers located in the U.S. consumed 91 billion KWH of electricity, which was enough to power all the households in New York City twice over. Over the next five years, the annual […]

The Rise of Social Entrepreneurs Is Egypt’s Silent Revolution

Tuning in to news channels, browsing through social media sites, or engaging in a chit-chat with one of Egypt’s ever-so talkative taxi drivers can leave even the biggest optimist heavy-hearted. High illiteracy rates in Egypt’s primary and middle schools, blood-covered hospital beds shared by multiple patients, and increased suicide rates among men unable to provide for their families are tragically […]

Will Corporate Social Responsibility Adapt or Die?

Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, described the demise of CSR in his talk at the Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen. However, his key argument was that leading companies are going beyond CSR by integrating sustainability into everything they do. Witness Nike’s Considered Design and Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. In short, the old-school concept of sustainability […]

7 Things To Consider before Starting An Employee Volunteer Program

The area of employee engagement is a pretty big one for the purpose-driven economy, and one of the ways employees find engagement is through company-sponsored employee volunteer programs—or EVPs. In one study, 94% of companies surveyed believed employee volunteering provides a way to raise employee morale and 66% of employees reported a greater commitment to the company as a result […]

Facebook Adds New Feature For Suicide Prevention

The social media site is partnering with Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit operating out of the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, to give users more options when they see a friend post something that is concerning. It works on both desktop and mobile.

If a Facebook friend […]

10 Lessons from 10 Years As A Social Entrepreneur

1. Be the change
Social entrepreneurship isn’t just a new approach to business. It’s a way of life. We won’t effect meaningful change in the world around us without constantly questioning and challenging ourselves to live and be better — every moment of every day.

2. Only do what’s win-win
Self-interest is out. We must constantly see the world from the perspectives of […]

InHerSight Allows Women To Anonymously Rate Past and Present Employers

“We’re improving the workplace by measuring it.”

That’s the idea behind InHerSight, a platform where women can evaluate their employers and rate how female-friendly workplace environments are. The idea is that providing women a space to communicate with other women about workplace issues they care about most could have an effect on this issues themselves.

“We believe that scoring employers on their […]

The Embedded Social Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs who operate in impoverished regions of the world face a quandary: Even though the need for their products and services is enormous, the challenge of bringing those products and services to market can be nearly insurmountable. Without access to mass media or even mass communications, entrepreneurs have no established channels through which to reach potential customers. Few of those […]

Social Innovation through The Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is a prime example of social innovation. At a basic level, sharing (rather than owning) assets is more economically efficient, environmentally sustainable, and community-oriented.

The sharing economy addresses a range of social problems—including isolation, over-consumption, and economic scarcity—in new ways. In addition to helping individuals meet their needs and expand their universe of opportunities, it also builds social […]

The Case Against Investing in Social Innovation

Innovation is often viewed as an unquestionably worthy endeavor, and in most cases, I think that is true. But in the social sector, the benefits of experimentation and innovation must be carefully weighed against the costs incurred by all stakeholders.

Starting with the perspective of funders, there appears to be a straightforward reason why investing in innovation is popular: the benefits […]

What Defines A Social Innovator Anyway?

Social innovation is undersold when it’s introduced as marketing and used interchangeably with corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR can be good philanthropy, but don’t look to a CSR department for transformational systems change — the likes of which we need to truly tackle our world’s wicked problems. Social innovation means permanent and irrevocable disruption. It is not marketing; it is […]