Before taking this class, my definition of innovation was only limited to technical innovation, such as ipods and laptops. I never thought an innovation could be a process, idea, or public policy which changes our routine or beliefs to reach a social need or a shared vision ( Westly and Antadze, 2009). Numerous nonprofit or for-profit organizations and governments have put forth some innovative policies or measures, which are called social innovations, in order to tackle current social problems. Nonprofits face some problems, including the lack of funding, and the ineffective policy implementation. Mark R. Kramer, thinks that donors should actively engage in solving the problem, not just write down a check to support nonprofits as in conventional philanthropy. He proposes a new approach “Catalytic Philanthropy.” If philanthropists really care about a problem and are able to analyze it in detail, they would have more knowledge to know how to make the society better. Kramer’s article “Catalytic Philanthropy” in Stanford Social Innovation Review mentioned an example of Tom Siebel, founder of a software company and a philanthropist. He tackles mesh abuse among teenagers in Montana by mobilizing experts and advertising agencies to film ads to inform teenagers how terrible meth abuse is and how it is related to the crime. The result turned out well. The rate of mesh abuse decreased 45 % among teens and 72 among adults from 2005 to 2007. Below are links to the websites about the article “Catalytic Philanthropy” and also about social innovation.
The article “Catalytic Philanthropy”
I like this idea of Catalytic philanthropy and also agree with his point that donors should make sure their money is used effectively. However, I think that people donate their money to organizations, because they expect the organizations to have experts who can put the donated money to use effectively, very similar to people hiring an investment manager to manage their wealth, because they believe he/she can earn a better return on the invested money.