Stanford Hosts Silicon Valley Roundtable for White House Office of Social Innovation
STANFORD, Calif., June 23, 2009 — White House Office of Social Innovation officials gathered today with Silicon Valley philanthropy, business, and nonprofit leaders in a roundtable convened by the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
White House officials immersed themselves in the culture of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and philanthropy that makes the Silicon Valley a laboratory of innovation. They included Sonal Shah, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP); Michele Jolin, senior advisor for Social Innovation; and Carlos Monje, senior policy advisor.
The White House goal is to help catalyze action by citizens, nonprofits, foundations, and the private sector to lead change in communities across America and make progress in several key priority areas, including health care, education, poverty, and energy conservation.
During their first few months in office Shah and her team have been exploring ways to maximize the impact of the Office’s resources. Their approach includes creating a new fund for social innovation, expanding national service, leveraging new media tools to increase civic participation, developing partnerships with Federal agencies, and nurturing public-private partnerships to catalyze action.
“Our approach aligns with the president’s larger goals of doing business in a different way in Washington, acknowledging that every good idea does not come from government,” said Shah. “We are partnering with the philanthropic, business, academic, and social-entrepreneurial communities to address our largest challenges, whether it’s health care or education, energy or housing.”
Today’s roundtable helped inform the Office of Social Innovation’s strategy for social change by providing input from leaders who’ve tried different models and can report back on what they’ve learned, said Shah. Guests contributed a variety of perspectives from the philanthropy, for-profit, and nonprofit worlds, and brought a wealth of combined experience scaling both for-profit and nonprofit ideas and organizations and working across sectors.
Among today’s experts were James E. Canales, president and CEO of the James Irvine Foundation; Debra Dunn, an advisor to social ventures around the world and former Hewlett Packard senior vice president of Corporate Affairs and Global Citizenship; Gib Meyers, cofounder and Emeritus partner of Mayfield, a private venture capital partnership located in Menlo Park, Calif.; and Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, the founder and chairman of Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2).
“The scarcity is not in the ideas,” said Garth Saloner, who is director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and who will become dean of the Business School September 1, “the scarcity is in the organizational capacity to help grow these ideas.” Discussions explored, in particular, how the White House could help alleviate some of the obstacles nonprofits are facing when trying to raise capital to scale their programs. Participants also had a lot of suggestions for the White House to foster effective cross-sector partnerships that support social change.
The roundtable was convened by the Center for Social Innovation, a center of teaching and activity at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that is focused on developing leaders who can solve the world’s toughest problems.
For more information about the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business: http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/csi/about/index.html