The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good / Edition 1

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Civic 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.

These inspiring individuals believe that within our communities lie the entrepreneurial spirit, compassion, and resources to make progress in such critical areas as education, housing, and economic self-reliance. Real progress requires that we take bold action and leverage our strengths for the greater good.

The Power of Social Innovation offers public officials, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and individual citizens the insights and skills to create healthier communities and promote innovative solutions to public and social problems. This seminal work is based on Stephen Goldsmith's decades of experience, extensive ongoing research, and interviews with 100+ top leaders from a wide variety of sectors.

Goldsmith shows that everyday citizens can themselves produce extraordinary social change. The book explores the levers and guiding principles used by champions of civic progress who drive new organizations, new interventions, or new policies to enhance social conditions.

The Power of Social Innovation features illustrative case studies of change-oriented philanthropists, public officials, and civic leaders. While all collaborate across sectors, they run both start-ups and established organizations such as the New York City public schools, United Way of America, the United Negro College Fund, and Teach For America. The book shows the catalyzing role each plays in transforming a community's social service delivery systems.

To complement the book's myriad tools and case studies, The Power of Social Innovation web site ( provides links to relevant Harvard research as well as additional helpful resources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470576847
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 630,999
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents


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.




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