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



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

Stephen Goldsmith, Gigi Georges (With), Tim Glynn Burke (With), Michael R. Bloomberg (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-60407-6 January 2010 Jossey-Bass 304 Pages

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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


The Author.



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.


Chapter 2 Innovation as Catalytic Ingredient.

Discovering the Missing Ingredient.

Choosing the Right Catalyst.

Bringing It All Together: The Nehemiah Foundation.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




"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)

  • 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