Innovating The Brick-and-Mortar Injustice Infrastructure

Mills Scofield

This week''s post is by Andy Posner , Co-Founder & Executive Director of Capital Good Fund ( CGF ), a non-profit microfinance organization targeting the root causes of poverty through innovative micro-loans and personal financial coaching.

Making Microfinance More Effective

Harvard Business Review

We recently conducted a literature review of rigorous academic studies of financial service innovations among the very poor to find out what services and products would unlock the most value for those at the bottom of the pyramid. The Grameen model of microfinance gained a great deal of attention in the international development field after early data showed that it was associated with high repayment and low default. For the 2.5

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Learning from Microfinance's Woes

Harvard Business Review

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture about microfinance, and got sucker-punched. Expecting to hear a litany of pros and cons about the business, and an exploration of good and bad models, I was instead greeted with a knockout punch: Microfinance doesn't work, at least not in the way we think it does. The pugilist-presenter was David Roodman, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the author of a new book, Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance.

Under Fire, Microfinance Faces Falling Out of Favor

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance has come under fire in the past 18 months, triggered in part by SKS Microfinance's IPO. Critics complain that the institutions supporting microfinance have become too greedy, and many are using this as an argument to deeply regulate or, even more, cut support to microfinance operations. Dr. Muhammad Yunus introduced the concept of microfinance in 1983; in 2006, he won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering efforts. Such is the power of microfinance.

The Innovation Mindset in Action: Shantha Ragunathan

Harvard Business Review

Although she was poor in resources, she possessed the innovation mindset shared by many game changers: they see and act on opportunities , use "and" thinking to resolve tough dilemmas and break through compromises, and employ their resourcefulness to power through obstacles. Innovators maintain a laser focus on outcomes , avoid getting caught in the activity trap , and proactively "expand the pie" to make an impact. India Innovation

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

That's easier said than done in a world where most product innovations are geared toward the rich. At the program's peak, 700 pumps covered 27,000 acres, with the loans constituting 9% of BRAC's total microfinance portfolio.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

That's easier said than done in a world where most product innovations are geared toward the rich. At the program's peak, 700 pumps covered 27,000 acres, with the loans constituting 9% of BRAC's total microfinance portfolio.

The 3 Preconditions for an Entrepreneurial Society

Harvard Business Review

In 1985 Peter Drucker argued for a shift toward an entrepreneurial society, one where “executives in all institutions…make innovation and entrepreneurship a normal, ongoing everyday activity.”

Scaling Up Without Losing Your Edge

Harvard Business Review

Following Abed's twist on Schumacher — "small may be beautiful, but big is necessary" — it now touches the lives of an estimated 126 million people with healthcare, education, enterprise development, microfinance and a slew of other programs. Forty years ago, British economist E.F.

3 Things Driving Entrepreneurial Growth in Africa

Harvard Business Review

Fatigue may be setting in for some Western investors’ interest in African innovation, particularly those that have yet to reap rewards to brag about. Here are three things that Western investors should want from African entrepreneurs: a focus on the top of the pyramid, control over factors of production, and innovation in distribution rather than in products. Innovation in Distribution.

Entrepreneurship Needs to Be a Bigger Part of U.S. Foreign Aid

Harvard Business Review

These colossal “beltway bandits” work everywhere from Afghanistan to Zambia and purport to offer expertise in everything from microfinance to micro-irrigation. Here are two surprising facts. First, the average American estimates that over 25% of the U.S.

How Social Entrepreneurs Can Have the Most Impact

Harvard Business Review

Or consider Kwabena Darko of Ghana, who helped found that country’s microfinance sector by forging a collaboration between global NGO Opportunity International , his national startup Sinapi Aba , and a myriad of village- and town-based trust groups. In California, social innovator and MacArthur “Genius” Award winner Mauricio Lim Miller founded Family Independence Initiative , which helps low-income families forge their paths to economic mobility and then to guide others.

It's Not All About Growth for Social Enterprises

Harvard Business Review

This innovation has impact. Cultivating the ecosystem" might be a better term, by which I mean: Identifying gaps preventing a successful innovation from reaching scale; Gathering and publicizing evidence that matters to key decision-makers from all sectors and could help fill these gaps; and.

Servant Leadership Observer ? November 2010

Modern Servant Leader

Peer-to-Peer Microfinance: A Sustainable Solution to Poverty. Innovation. Twitter. LINKEDIN. The Modern Servant Leader Servant Leadership & Technology. Leadership. Technology. Resources. Other. Archives. September 20, 2011 Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership Intro.

CEO 10

Entrepreneurs: You're More Important Than Your Business Plan

Harvard Business Review

Here are our four rules we use to evaluate the underlying business concept: Innovation. We are proud to have made early investments in the work of Andrew Youn, who founded One Acre Fund; Wendy Kopp, who founded Teach for America; and Vikram Akula, who founded SKS Microfinance.

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

When presented with a surprising idea, smart organizations will bravely listen, because what comes next might just be game-changing innovation. Six years ago, David and Donna Allman approached Opportunity with an idea that fell outside our traditional microfinance model: to build a Community Economic Development (CED) program in Nicaragua. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle. Finance Innovation Nonprofit CED

Global Entrepreneurs Need New Funding Models

Harvard Business Review

Yet new breeds of solutions are emerging, with private and public players joining hands to find innovative answers. Standing before a brown swathe of land cut up into rectangular ditches for a World Bank-funded project just outside Liberia's capital city of Monrovia, George Howard is a beneficiary of one such innovation. Some microfinance organizations are also moving out of the purely micro and toward larger lending.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Encourage financial entrepreneurship and innovation. Entrepreneurship in financial services has been given a bad rap as one contributor to the economic crisis, but we desperately need innovative financing models for start-ups.

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

Social entrepreneurship has evolved a great deal since the late 1980s, when pioneers like City Year 's Alan Khazei and Teach for America 's Wendy Kopp took great risks to prove that innovative organizations could produce transformative social change. This month we wrote about the challenges they face in In Search of the Hybrid Ideal in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Using Games to Get a Handle on Bank Risk

Harvard Business Review

Financial institutions must find innovative ways to understand their consumers' aspirations and actual behavior. Popular games also tend to spawn communities who share information and strategies about how to overcome hurdles, suggesting that peer to peer education is also possible (this has been seen in microfinance). Interdependencies: Insufficient understanding of interactions remains a critical issue in financial innovation.