Episode 66: Interview with Dr Marc Ventresca, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Naval Postgraduate School course on "Global Challenges: Leadership and Cooperation in Complex Environments"Marc is on faculty at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College.  His research and teaching focus on innovation, institutions and infrastructure, with particular empirical projects at the intersection of organizational strategy and economic sociology in nascent markets.  Current work explores early moments approaches in markets for UK impact investment, ecosystems services in Amazon Peru, climate change adaption, and Cascadia ‘conscious capitalism’. Marc has a distinctive, ‘organisation-rich’view on the role of social entrepreneurs as system builders, creating and strengthening nascent markets, where institutional rules and conventions have not yet settled ambiguity.

Marc is involved with initiatives at Oxford and elsewhere. He is Academic Lead for ‘Ideas to Impact’ (I2I) initiative, a collaboration with the Oxford Sciences and Engineering Division in support of innovation and enterprise.  He is founding convenor of the research seminar series ‘Strategies, Institutions and Practices at Saïd’.  Marc also acts as an advisor to several technology and social innovation start-ups founded by recent Oxford alumni including Pivotus Ventures and Global Thinkers Forum.  He serves in advisory roles for UK Participatory City and for the Banff Centre #AltNow entrepreneurial initiatives to address economic inequality in Canada.

In this interview, Marc shares his views on the role of social entrepreneurs as system builders, working to overcome various kinds of inertia and to mobilize and combine resources across broad social expanses. Marc highlights the importance of  social change in systems terms and the work of social innovators in the idiom of systems change.

Episode 65: Interview with Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation and Hollender Sustainable Brands

Jeffrey Hollender is a social entrepreneur, author and activist. After a wide ranging entrepreneurial career, Jeffrey co-founded Seventh Generation and built it over 25 years into a leading natural product company recognised for its authenticity, transparency, and progressive business practices. Jeffrey recently co-founded Hollender Sustainable Brands, which sells Sustain hollender-picNatural sexual wellness products; he is CEO and Chief Inspired Protagonist. Jeffrey is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA and has also served on the board of Verite, a leading labor rights organization, as well as Health Care Without Harm, and Practically Green. He has written six books including The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win.

Episode 64 Interview with Katy Ashe, Edith Elliott and Shahed Alam, co-founders of Noora Health

Noora Health is an innovative non-profit that provides health training to help patients transition between hospital and home -one of the most precarious and rushed times in healthcare delivery. Noora provides training and information to caregivers and patients after surgery to ensure that patients are well taken of during their recovery process –to improve health outcomes and save lives.

13553092614_f5a411191e_oTo date, Noora has trained and certified more than 25,000 caregivers representing over 18,000 patients—and has demonstrated dramatic improvement in patient health outcomes. Outcomes recorded include a 36% decrease in 30-day complication rates and a 23% decrease in 30-day readmission rates, in the hospitals where the programme is implemented. The team recently completed Y Combinator, in the first ever batch of social ventures.

In this interview, the team talks about:

  • The surprisingly powerful impact of post-hospital health support services
  • How Noora Health turns hospital hallways and waiting rooms into classrooms
  • How the team developed-and refined –the original idea for Noora Health
  • Noora’s distinct –and highly successful–approach to funding their venture
  • Noora Health’s aspiration for the future

Episode 63 Interview with Ron Bills, CEO of Envirofit, a US based social entreprise with a mission to create products that reduce pollution and energy dependency

Envirofit is a global social enterprise that develops innovative smart cookstoves designed to reduce smoke and CO2 emissions and enable families to live healthier lives, while reducing climate change and increasing clean energy initiatives.

 Since the company was set up in 2003 it has grown into a global company serving over five million people, with over a dozen products and regional headquarters in East Africa, West Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

 In this interview, Ron talks about:  ron-bills-1-298x300

  • how a clean technology cookstove can be a life changing event
  • The power of execution
  • Bill’s philosophy of getting and staying close to users, using focus groups and other communications to develop “products that users have a passion to own.”
  • How Envirofit was set up from the outset to manufacture at scale

Episode 62 Interview Taylor Downs, Co founder Vera Solutions and OpenFn

Taylor has spent almost a decade designing data systems for leading international development organizations. He co-founded Vera Solutions—an organization that works with social impact organizations to create affordable, powerful and flexible technology solutions that put real-time information in the hands of the people who need it. Vera has now served more than 175 organisations around the world.

taylor_downsTaylor also set up OpenFn.org, a platform that helps organizations connect their technologies to create complete information systems, from program monitoring and evaluation to community health worker tools in the field. OpenFn automates the flow of data between existing tools to save time, save money, and prevent human error in data processing. In the end, he hopes that decision makers, from the board to the front-lines, will get better data, faster.