About SCI

Our goal is to create synergy between social entrepreneurs, educators and social impact actors working in the field of social innovation to achieve systems level impact. Our values include empowering others, respect and integrity for those we serve, and encouraging collaboration with partners.

About Catalyst 2030

Catalyst 2030 is a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors who share the common goal of creating innovative, people-centric approaches to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Book Recommendations

Immerse into a space of social change through our book recommendations. Navigate diverse points of view from social change practitioners, academics, and transformative storytellers. Browse books sorted by stories of social change, academic books on social change and general social change books. 

Bear in mind that this page contains affiliate links and the resources available might not be free. Know that SCI shares book recommendations, but does not benefit from any economic revenue.

 

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The Systems Work of Social Change: How to Harness Connection, Context, and Power to Cultivate Deep and Enduring Change

by: Cynthia Rayner and François Bonnici

The issues of poverty, inequality, racial injustice and climate change have never been more pressing or paralyzing. Current approaches to social change, which rely on linear thinking and traditional power dynamics to 'solve' social problems, are not helping. In fact, they may only be entrenching the status quo. Systemic social challenges produce bewildering results when we try to solve them due to their complexity, scale, and depth. While strategies to tackle complexity and scale have received significant attention and investment, challenges that arise from deeply-held beliefs, values, and assumptions that no longer serve us well have been largely overlooked. This book draws on stories of committed social changemakers to uncover a set of principles and practices for social change that dramatically depart from the industrial approach. Rather than delivering solutions or being lured by grander visions of 'systems change', these principles and practices focus on the process of change itself. Simple yet profound, these stories distil a timely set of lessons for leaders, scholars, and policymakers on how connection, context, and power sit at the heart of the change process, ensuring broader agency for people and communities while building social systems that are responsive in a rapidly-changing world.

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Upstream

by: Dan Heath, 2020

York Times bestselling author Dan Heath explores howto prevent problems before they happen, drawing on insights from hundreds of interviews with unconventional problem solvers. So often in life, we get stuck in a cycle of response. We put out fires. We deal with emergencies.We stay downstream, handling one problem after another, but we never make our way upstream to fix the systems that caused the problems. Cops chase robbers,doctors treat patients with chronic illnesses, and call-center reps address customer complaints. But many crimes, chronic illnesses, and customer complaints are preventable. So why do our efforts skew so heavily toward reaction rather than prevention? Upstream probes the psychological forces that push us downstream—including “problem blindness,”which can leave us oblivious to serious problems in our midst. And Heath introduces us to the thinkers who have overcome these obstacles and scored massive victories by switching to an upstream mindset. Upstream delivers practical solutions for preventing problems rather than reacting to them. How many problems in our lives and in society are we tolerating simply because we’ve forgotten that we can fix them?

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Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know

by: David Bornstein and Susan Davis, 2010

In development circles, there is now widespread consensus that social entrepreneurs represent a far better mechanism to respond to needs than we have ever had before--a decentralized and emergent force that remains our best hope for solutions that can keep pace with our problems and create a more peaceful world. David Bornstein's previous book on social entrepreneurship, How to Change the World, was hailed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times as "a bible in the field" and published in more than twenty countries. Now, Bornstein shifts the focus from the profiles of successful social innovators in that book--and teams with Susan Davis, a founding board member of the Grameen Foundation--to offer the first general overview of social entrepreneurship. In a Q & A format allowing readers to go directly to the information they need, the authors map out social entrepreneurship in its broadest terms as well as in its particulars.

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How to Change the World

by: David Bornstein, 2007

Published in over twenty countries, How to Change the World has become the Bible for social entrepreneurship. It profiles men and women from around the world who have found innovative solutions to a wide variety of social and economic problems. Whether they work to deliver solar energy to Brazilian villagers, or improve access to college in the United States, social entrepreneurs offer pioneering solutions that change lives.

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Profit and Purpose

by: Kyle Westaway, 2014  

Why has Warby Parker been able to make such dramatic inroads against the behemoths in the long established eyeglass market? How has Method revolutionized the soap aisle? Amid the cacophony of online retailers, why has Etsy seen such explosive growth, with 2013 annual sales north of $1 billion? These companies all have been disruptive because they are operating from a strong social/environmental purpose. They are proving a counterintuitive truth – purpose can drive profits. But it’s not just innovative startups that are getting in on the action. Blue chip companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola and IBM are innovating within their organization to create a positive social and environmental impact globally. This is not a trend. It’s the future of business.

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Forces for Good

by: Leslie Crutchfield & Heather McLeod, 2012

What makes great nonprofits great? In the original book, authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant employed a rigorous research methodology derived from for-profit books like Built to Last. They studied 12 nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact―from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation―and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world. This book has lessons for all readers interested in creating significant social change, including nonprofit managers, donors, and volunteers.

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Getting Beyond Better

by: Roger L. Martin , Sally Osberg, 2015

In this compelling book, strategy guru Roger L. Martin and Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally R. Osberg describe how social entrepreneurs target systems that exist in a stable but unjust equilibrium and transform them into entirely new, superior, and sustainable equilibria. All of these leaders--call them disrupters, visionaries, or changemakers--develop, build, and scale their solutions in ways that bring about the truly revolutionary change that makes the world a fairer and better place. Getting Beyond Better sets forth a bold new framework, demonstrating how and why meaningful change actually happens in the world and providing concrete lessons and a practical model for businesses, policymakers, civil society organizations, and individuals who seek to transform our world for good.

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The B-Corp Handbook

by: Ryan Honeyman , Tiffany Jana , Apr 23, 2019

B Corps are a global movement of more than 3,300 companies in 70 countries--like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, Kickstarter, Danone North America, and Eileen Fisher--that are using the power of business as a force for good. B Corps have been certified to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This book--winner of an Independent Book Publisher's Association IPPY Award as one of the best business books of 2020--is the authoritative guide to the what, why, and how of B Corp certification.

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The Solution Revolution

by: William D. Eggers, Paul Macmillan, 2013

World hunger. Climate change. Crumbling infrastructure. It’s clear that in today’s era of fiscal constraints and political gridlock, we can no longer turn to government alone to tackle these and other towering social problems. What’s required is a new, more collaborative and productive economic system. The Solution Revolution brings hope—revealing just such a burgeoning new economy where players from across the spectrum of business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise converge to solve big problems and create public value.

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Better Business

by: Christopher Marquis, 2020

Businesses have a big role to play in a capitalist society. They can tip the scales toward the benefit of the few, with toxic side effects for all, or they can guide us toward better, more equitable long-term solutions. Christopher Marquis tells the story of the rise of a new corporate form—the B Corporation. Founded by a group of friends who met at Stanford, these companies undergo a rigorous certification process, overseen by the B Lab, and commit to putting social benefits, the rights of workers, community impact, and environmental stewardship on equal footing with financial shareholders. Informed by over a decade of research and animated by interviews with the movement’s founders and leading figures, Marquis’s book explores the rapid growth of companies choosing to certify as B Corps, both in the United States and internationally, and explains why the future of B Corporations is vital for us all.

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The Power of Unreasonable People

by: John Elkington, Pamela Hartigan, 2008

Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw once said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." By this definition, some of today's entrepreneurs are decidedly unreasonable--and have even been dubbed crazy. Yet as John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan argue in The Power of Unreasonable People, our very future may hinge on their work. Start investing in, partnering with, and learning from these world-shaping change agents, and you position yourself to not only survive but also thrive in the new business landscape they're helping to define.

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Rise Up: How to Build a Socially Conscious Business, 2017

by: Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell & Associates, LLC

A new breed of socially conscious companies is changing how consumers shop, where employees work, and the way in which the world does business. Rise Up: How to Build a Socially Conscious Business sets the stage for this optimistic business trend where companies create financial profit for stakeholders through products, services, and business models that create social impact and public benefit. With more than 25 years of experience running a Certified B Corporation (earned by meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency) that has always had social responsibility at its core, Russ Stoddard offers insights and guidance on how to create a socially conscious business, as well as encouraging words for social entrepreneurs of every generation.

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Thinking in Systems: A Primer

by: Donella H. Meadows, Diana Wright

Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking. While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner.

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Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers

by: Michael C. Jackson

Jackson's new book responds to the growing interest in systems ideas and their application, and builds on the success of his previous work with Bob Flood Creative Problem Solving. This book is different from existing texts in the systems field - it provides a clear introduction to the origins of systems thinking, concepts and the development of applied systems thinking and offers an account of 'critical systems practice' which demonstrates how other systems methodologies, model and methods can be used in combination. Creative Problem Solving is comprehensive in scope, offering a brief introduction to all main 'holistic approaches to management' and demonstrating, with case studies, how each is used in practice. This straightforward and clear text from an established author in the field will be welcomed by students and academics as the 'new' Creative Problem Solving - a comprehensive, practical guide to a potentially difficult subject

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Build the Life You Want

by: By Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey

You can get happier. And getting there will be the adventure of your lifetime.

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In Build the Life You Want, Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey invite you to begin a journey toward greater happiness no matter how challenging your circumstances. Drawing on cutting-edge science and their years of helping people translate ideas into action, they show you how to improve your life right now instead of waiting for the outside world to change.

With insight, compassion, and hope, Brooks and Winfrey reveal how the tools of emotional self-management can change your life―immediately. They recommend practical, research-based practices to build the four pillars of happiness: family, friendship, work, and faith. And along the way, they share hard-earned wisdom from their own lives and careers as well as the witness of regular people whose lives are joyful despite setbacks and hardship.

Equipped with the tools of emotional self-management and ready to build your four pillars, you can take control of your present and future rather than hoping and waiting for your circumstances to improve. Build the Life You Want is your blueprint for a better life.

 

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Elevating Impact: Case Studies in Sustainable Business and Social Entrepreneurship

by: by Jaceen Greene, 2019

This collection of award-winning academic case studies showcases innovative approaches to sustainable business and social entrepreneurship. Each case utilizes interviews with company founders and executives, internal documents, and other original research to reveal details not available elsewhere, giving students a behind-the-scenes look at marketing, finance, and strategy. With examples from business, government, and nonprofit organizations, the cases are suitable for graduate and undergraduate courses in a range of topics. All cases were researched and written by Portland State University faculty, students, and staff.

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Social Enterprise in Asia, a useful resource for practitioners, resource institutions and scholars

by: Eric Bidet

In the absence of a widely accepted and common definition of social enterprise (SE), a large research project, the "International Comparative Social Enterprise Models" (ICSEM) Project, was carried out over a five-year period; it involved more than 200 researchers from 55 countries and relied on bottom-up approaches to capture the SE phenomenon. This strategy made it possible to take into account and give legitimacy to locally embedded approaches, thus resulting in an analysis encompassing a wide diversity of social enterprises, while simultaneously allowing for the identification of major SE models to delineate the field on common grounds at the international level. These SE models reveal or confirm an overall trend towards new ways of sharing the responsibility for the common good in today’s economies and societies. We tend to consider as good news the fact that social enterprises actually stem from all parts of the economy. Indeed, societies are facing many complex challenges at all levels, from the local to the global level. The diversity and internal variety of SE models are a sign of a broadly shared willingness to develop appropriate—although sometimes embryonic—responses to these challenges, on the basis of innovative economic/business models driven by a social mission. In spite of their weaknesses, social enterprises may be seen as advocates for and vehicles of the general interest across the whole economy. Of course, the debate about privatisation, deregulation and globalised market competition—all factors that may hinder efforts in the search for the common good–has to be addressed as well. The first of a series of four ICSEM books, Social Enterprise in Asia will serve as a key reference and resource for teachers, researchers, students, experts, policy makers, journalists and other categories of people who want to acquire a broad understanding of the phenomena of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship as they emerge and develop across the world.

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Social Economy Science

by: Gorgi Krlev, Dominika Wruk, Giulio Pasi and Marika Bernhard (Eds.)

This book:

  • Brings together insights from two distinct fields of research - organizational theory and transition studies
  • Highlights the importance of social economy science as a means of addressing the biggest societal challenges
  • Based on extensive empirical research, with a strong practical and policy component

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Building Social Business

by: Muhammad Yunus, 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and bestselling author shows how entrepreneurial spirit and business smarts can be harnessed to create sustainable businesses that can solve the world's biggest problems. Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a new dimension for capitalism which he calls "social business." The social business model has been adopted by corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across the globe. Its goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. In Building Social Business, Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.

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How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

by: by David Bornstein, 2007

How to Change the World provides vivid profiles of social entrepreneurs. The book is an In Search of Excellence for social initiatives, intertwining personal stories, anecdotes, and analysis. Readers will discover how one person can make an astonishing difference in the world. The case studies in the book include Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign against landmines she ran by e-mail from her Vermont home; Roberto Baggio, a 31-year old Brazilian who has established eighty computer schools in the slums of Brazil; and Diana Propper, who has used investment banking techniques to make American corporations responsive to environmental dangers.

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The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

by: by Adam Braun, 2015

The riveting New York Times bestseller about a young man who built more than 250 schools around the world—and the steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life. Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 250 schools around the world.

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Patagonia – Let my People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

by: by Yvon Chouinard, 2006

In this newly revised 10th anniversary edition, Yvon Chouinard--legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.--shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. "This is the story of an attempt to do more than change a single corporation--it is an attempt to challenge the culture of consumption that is at the heart of the global ecological crisis." --From the Foreword by Naomi Klein, bestselling author of This Changes Everything

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Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

by: by Scott Harrison and Lisa Sweetingham, 2018

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An inspiring personal story of redemption, second chances, and the transformative power within us all, from the founder and CEO of the nonprofit charity: water. At 28 years old, Scott Harrison had it all. A top nightclub promoter in New York City, his life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models—repeat. But 10 years in, desperately unhappy and morally bankrupt, he asked himself, "What would the exact opposite of my life look like?" Walking away from everything, Harrison spent the next 16 months on a hospital ship in West Africa and discovered his true calling. In 2006, with no money and less than no experience, Harrison founded charity: water. Today, his organization has raised over $400 million to bring clean drinking water to more than 10 million people around the globe.

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The Disruptors: Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing Business and Society

by: by Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber, 2016

Can business change the world? Can the world change business? For a new breed of social entrepreneurs, striving to build and grow enterprises that fight social ills, foster opportunity, and help to improve society, the answer is not can, it’s must. Impassioned by purpose, driven by dreams, emboldened by ideals, social entrepreneurs imagine a better way to a better world. And then they go out of their way to bring it to life. In the process, they shake the dust off old ways of thinking and disrupt the way business has always been done. In this book, brought to you by GIBS, a leading business school based in Johannesburg, South Africa, you’ll get to meet The Disruptors. Through these tales of daring, struggle, triumph and innovation, you’ll see the world through the eyes of a diverse range of social entrepreneurs, and learn their secrets for changing the world by changing business. From healthcare to mobile gaming, from education to recycling, from dancing to gardening, these are the game-changers, the difference-makers, the doers of good. Here are their stories.

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KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play

by: by Darell Hammond and Stuart L. Brown, 2011

KaBOOM! is the powerful, uplifting journey of a man who grew up in a group home with his seven brothers and sisters and went on to build a world-class nonprofit that harnesses the power of community to improve the lives of children. In 1995, Darell Hammond read an article in the Washington Post about an unthinkable tragedy: Two young children suffocated in a car on a hot summer day in southeast Washington, DC. The story indicated that the children had nowhere to play; in the absence of a playground, they had climbed into an abandoned car. Reading the article fueled Hammond's sense of injustice, and his life's mission came into focus. Hammond founded KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit that provides communities with tools, resources, and guidance to build and renovate playgrounds and playspaces.

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Half the Sky Movement – Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

by: by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, 2010

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope. Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

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Terracycle – Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business

by: by Tom Szaky, 2013

Tom Szaky dropped out of Princeton a decade ago to found TerraCycle, a company that makes the nonrecyclable recyclable. TerraCycle is now at the forefront of the eco-capitalist movement, partnering with more than 35 million people in twenty countries in the collection of waste and transforming that waste into useful products. Creating trash cans from chip bags and plastic benches from cigarette butts, TerraCycle has redefined recycling. Revolution in a Bottle is a rollicking tale of entrepreneurial adventure and an essential guide to creating a company that’s good for people, good for profits, and good for the planet. Since Revolution in a Bottle was first published in 2009, TerraCycle has grown dramatically from a small company offering worm poop in a soda bottle to a pioneer of recycling worldwide. This completely revised and expanded edition continues the story of this incredible company.

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Social Enterprise: A New Model for Poverty Reduction Education and Employment Generation

by: UNDP

Social enterprises provide an innovative approach and are effective as poverty reduction agents that can contribute to the promotion of cohesive communities. This publication reviews the results of a two-year social enterprise study in Europe and the CIS. The present publication contains the results of a two-year research project comprised of several phases. These included a preliminary study to map the situation of social enterprises in 12 countries. After a multi-stakeholder seminar, three national reports were produced by three different research teams. While the four pieces have been integrated and share a similar structure, each reflects a different scholarly approach, socio-cultural standpoint, and style.

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Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It's Everyone's Business

by: Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro

With proven strategies of agitating, innovating, and orchestrating change, Power, for All shows how those with less power can challenge established structures to make them more balanced. The authors teach you how to power-map your workplace to find who can create real change at work, plan for and cause sustaining shifts, and understand the two basic needs all human beings share—safety and self-esteem—and the resources people seek to satisfy those needs: money and status, but also autonomy, achievement, affiliation, and mortality. They explore how these dynamics play out through vivid storytelling: as Donatella Versace successfully leads her brother’s company after his death—despite having a title, but little influence; what social movements can learn from youth climate activists and how they can go farther; and how a manager can gain the trust of skeptical employees and improve the workplace.

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