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The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good

ISBN: 978-0-470-57684-7
304 pages
March 2010, Jossey-Bass
The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good (0470576847) cover image
Praise for The Power of Social Innovation

"Goldsmith guided us in Florida on our successful faith-based initiatives. His bold approaches continue to inspire public officials and community groups alike with keys to activating citizens and expanding opportunity for all."
Jeb Bush, former Governor, Florida

"It has been a great pleasure to work with Steve Goldsmith. His work with us at America's Promise and all of his other diligent efforts are so well reflected in this book. The Power of Social Innovation reminds each of us in government, philanthropy, the nonprofit community, and as private citizens that we can and must work together to ensure the full fulfillment of the American Dream and to ensure the success of our most precious resource, our children."
Alma J. Powell, chair, America's Promise Alliance

"The Power of Social Innovation is a must read for social innovators who want to make a powerful impact. Stephen Goldsmith surveys the field and provides indispensible tools to help civic entrepreneurs scale up their ideas and produce the best possible results."
Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone

"Goldsmith provides a useful toolkit for entrepreneurial public executives and innovative nonprofits and foundations. His research encourages transformative social change by advocating a shift in focus from direct services to citizens to building new, higher performance networks of public, private, and nonprofit organizations."
Mark R. Warner, United States Senator, Virginia

"When it comes to doing good, Stephen Goldsmith is as disruptive an innovator as we've seen. Read and study The Power of Social Innovation if you don't just want to do good, but want to make the greatest impact possible."
Clayton M. Christensen, professor, Harvard Business School and author, Disrupting Class

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Acknowledgments.

The Author.

Foreword.

Preface.

Part I: Catalyzing Social Change.

Chapter 1 Igniting Civic Progress.

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Change.

So Many Ideas, So Little Progress.

Civic Entrepreneurship as the Solution.

Igniting Civic Progress.

The Mandate and Caution of Engaging Government.

Conclusions.

Chapter 2 Innovation as Catalytic Ingredient.

Discovering the Missing Ingredient.

Choosing the Right Catalyst.

Bringing It All Together: The Nehemiah Foundation.

Conclusions.

Part II: Market Maker as Civic Entrepreneur.

Chapter 3 Open Sourcing Social Innovation.

Breaking Down Protectionist Barriers.

Opening Space for Innovation.

Leveling the Playing Field.

Inviting the Exceptional.

Forcing Cultural Change.

Bringing It All Together: The Enlightened Monopolist.

Conclusions.

Chapter 4 Trading Good Deeds for Measurable Results.

Current Funding Limitations.

What Public Value Are We Purchasing?

Are the Funded Activities Still the Most Relevant?

What Change Does the Community Want and What Assets Can It Mobilize?

Are We Funding a Project or Sustainable System Change?

What Will We Measure?

Bringing It All Together: Linda Gibbs.

Conclusions.

Part III: Service Provider as Civic Entrepreneur.

Chapter 5 Animating and Trusting the Citizen.

Balancing the Professional with the Public.

Building a Public.

Leveraging Social Media for Change.

"Client" Choice.

Curing the Expectation Gap.

Bringing It All Together: Family Independence Initiative.

Conclusions.

Chapter 6 Turning Risk into Reward.

Seeing Opportunity Where Others See Liability.

Taking First Risk.

Fully Calculating Cascading Return on Investment.

Political Risk and Reward.

Bringing It All Together: Wraparound Milwaukee.

Conclusions.

Chapter 7 The Fertile Community.

The Fertile City (and the Entrepreneurial Mayor).

Civic Entrepreneurs and School Reform.

Entrepreneurial Community Solutions.

Staying Entrepreneurial: Saving Yourself from Success.

The Future.

Notes.

References.

Index.

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Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Goldsmith, himself an entrepreneur, occupies the unique position of having approached these issues as a national leader across sectors. He served two terms as Mayor of Indianapolis, where his transformative efforts to revitalize urban neighborhoods and to transfer real authority to community groups received national acclaim. Goldsmith then led reform as special advisor to President Bush on faith-based and nonprofit initiatives, and has served under both Presidents Bush and Obama as chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Goldsmith has written many articles and several books, including Governing by Network, winner of the National Academy of Public Administration's Louis Brownlow Book Award.
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  • Provides tools for civic entrepreneurs to create healthier communities and promote innovative solutions to public and social problems
  • Explores new ways to collaborate across sectors and leveraging strengths for the greater good
  • Based on the author’s experience, his extensive ongoing research and interviews with 100+ top leaders from across sectors
  • Structured around the six levers and guiding principles employed in the most effective entrepreneurial interventions
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"This book is a sort of bible of social innovation, full of examples of social entrepreneurs' successes. It sets out both the potential of the partnership approach and the huge difficulties it will have to overcome." (The Economist, August 2010)

"Lots of people talk about 'reinventing government.' Steve Goldsmith has actually done it" (Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2010)

"When it comes to doing good, Stephen Goldsmith is as disruptive an innovator as we've seen. Read and study The Power of Social Innovation if you don't just want to do good, but want to make the greatest impact possible."
Clayton M. Christensen, professor, Harvard Business School and author, Disrupting Class

See More
"When it comes to doing good, Stephen Goldsmith is as disruptive an innovator as we've seen. Read and study The Power of Social Innovation if you don't just want to do good, but want to make the greatest impact possible." —Clayton M. Christensen, professor, Harvard Business School and author, Disrupting Class
See More
May 06, 2010
The Power of Social Innovation

San Francisco, CA – “Over the years I have seen the very worst and best of communities,” says author Stephen Goldsmith. “But more recently I have seen…the very best of America—the generous, civic minded streak that is not only alive, but thriving.”

With deficits soaring and job losses mounting, now is the time to focus our public and philanthropic efforts on the best possible results. By tapping into the new wave of civic-minded entrepreneurship sweeping the country, leaders across the U.S. and throughout the world are discovering creative ways to overcome the obstacles that seal the doors of opportunity for too many.

The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good (Jossey-Bass; 978-0-470-57684-7; March 2010) by Stephen Goldsmith with Gigi Georges and Tim Glynn Burke offers tools for civic entrepreneurs to create healthier communities and promote innovative solutions to public and social problems. It features illustrative case studies of civic leaders and entrepreneurs and the catalyzing role each plays in transforming a community’s social service delivery systems. Based on Goldsmith’s experience, as well as on extensive research and interviews with more than 100 top leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, this book offers public officials, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and citizens the insights and strategies to produce social change.

The Power of Social Innovation is structured around five guiding principles employed in the most effective entrepreneurial interventions. It is full of case studies of inventive private organizations such as United Way, United Negro College Fund, Kickstart, City Year, and The New Teacher Project, plus trailblazing public leaders from Michael Bloomberg to Michelle Rhee who are helping communities across America find better ways to solve problems and achieve results.  Chapters include:

*     Innovation as Catalytic Ingredient: Use transformative innovations to dramatically improve system-wide performance

*     Open Sourcing Social Innovation: Open entrenched systems to entrepreneurship and innovation

*     Trading Good Deeds for Measurable Results: Leverage funding to drive innovation & results from key service providers

*     Animating and Trusting the Citizen: Engage individual citizens in both identifying problems and in solving them

*     Turning Risk into Reward: Understand and underwrite risk to unlock public value throughout the broader system

Each of the stories in The Power of Social Innovation provides insights from the front lines of innovation. Collectively, they present compelling evidence of Goldsmith’s conclusions that change is possible.

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