Announcing the SOCAP24 Agenda — Going Deeper: Catalyzing Systems Change!

7 Must-Read SSIR Articles for SOCAP18 Attendees

SOCAP August 7, 2018

A SOCAP Guest Post by Eden Stiffman, Associate Editor, SSIRImpact journalism has been vital to the growth of this space. In the lead up to SOCAP18 we asked a few of our media partners who are covering stories that are of interest to the SOCAP community to curate and share articles that relate to our SOCAP18 conference themes. This week’s suggested reading comes from Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR).
The community of academics, practitioners, and journalists that contribute to Stanford Social Innovation Review have their pulse on the latest ideas and approaches to addressing critical social problems. So it’s no surprise that many SSIR articles published in the last year touch on SOCAP18’s themes, including impact investing, gender and markets, and transformative development.
We have curated a list of some of our most popular articles published since SOCAP17 to inspire you ahead of this year’s conference. Here are seven SSIR articles every SOCAP attendee should read:

1. Social Enterprise Is Not Social Change

Marshall Ganz, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Tamara Kay, associate professor of global affairs and sociology in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame; and Jason Spicer, a PhD candidate in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, ruffled feathers with their provocative article in SSIR’s Spring 2018 issue. They argue that social entrepreneurship has done little to solve the systemic social problems it purports to address. Solving such problems requires collective political action and the power of democratic governments, they write, an approach they see as incompatible with the market-based focus of social enterprise.

2. Best Practices in Impact Management Begin to Take Hold

Impact investors are figuring out how to integrate impact throughout their investment process in ways that are efficient, effective, and authentic, write Ben Thornley and Bryan Locascio of Tideline, a consulting firm that works with clients to develop impact investment strategies, products, and solutions. The author’s highlight their six “IMPACT Principles” that they believe can help investors achieve robust impact management.

3. Cutting Through the Complexity: A Roadmap for Effective Collaboration

Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, an impact investor, or a nonprofit leader, you’ve likely been part of a collaboration or network that doesn’t quite achieve its ambitious goals. David Ehrlichman, David Sawyer, and Matthew Spence, partners of Converge, a team of strategists and designers committed to social and environmental impact through collaboration and networks, offer guidelines in five areas—clarifying purpose, convening the right people, cultivating trust, coordinating existing activities, and collaborating for systems impact—to make collaborations work better.

4. Digital Currencies and Blockchain in the Social Sector

It’s not just hype—decentralized technologies like blockchain are already transforming philanthropy and NGO work. While it’s just getting started, David Lehr, who teaches innovation, finance, and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina and at Hult International Business School, and Paul Lamb, principal of Man on A Mission Consulting, discuss five prominent use cases and what opportunities may lie ahead.

5. How Field Catalysts Galvanize Social Change

Ending malaria. Achieving marriage equality. Dramatically reducing teen smoking. Surmounting these and other daunting social challenges can require an “invisible hand” that amplifies the efforts of many other players in the field, write The Bridgespan Group’s Taz Hussein and Bill Breen, and Matt Plummer, founder of the personal efficiency training program Zarvana. With investment from funders, these behind-the-scenes intermediary organizations or collaboratives can serve as hubs that help achieve measurable, population-level change.

6. A Critical Reflection on Social Impact Bonds

While SIBs may seem like a win-win financial instrument, they are far from it, write Michael J. Roy and Neil McHugh, of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health and Stephen Sinclair, a professor of social policy at the Glasgow School for Business and Society. They argue SIBs are an archetypal “solution looking for a problem” that both come with significant technical burdens and exemplify an ideological shift in welfare service provision.

7. Reconsidering Gender Diversity in Economic Development

In their article kicking off a five-part series on gender and economic development, Rachael Goodman, a postdoctoral fellow, and Sarah Kaplan, the director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, write that building truly inclusive economies requires that leaders broaden their understanding of gender and the many different ways gender identity can affect inclusion.
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