John Hennessy, former president of Stanford University, will moderate a discussion with Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker on Thursday, Nov. 9, at an event hosted on the Stanford campus by the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). The event will start with a reception at 5:00 p.m., and a Q&A session led by Hennessy will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, founder and chair of PACS and author of Giving 2.0, will offer a special introduction to lead off the discussion.
Copies of Engine of Impact will be available for purchase, and Meehan and Jonker will sign books following the Q&A session.
The authors of Engine of Impact have close connections to PACS. Meehan is a founding member of the PACS advisory board, and Jonker was a visiting practitioner at the center.
If you wish to attend the event, click here to register for it. Registered attendees will receive information on the exact location for the event beforehand.
Stanford Social Innovation Review has published an excerpt from Engine of Impact that addresses a vital question for the nonprofit sector: How can a nonprofit apply concepts from business strategy to the way that it structures and plans its work? In the past, some people in the sector have doubted the relevance of such concepts to their efforts. After all, they point out, nonprofits don’t engage in the kind of market competition that sets the conditions for business strategy. But, as Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker demonstrate, effective nonprofit leaders understand that a focus on strategy is essential to achieving significant impact.
In this excerpt, Meehan and Jonker summarize a landmark concept from the discipline of competitive strategy—the idea of core competencies, which C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel set forth in a 1990 article—and then show how that concept applies to one organization, Equal Opportunity Schools. The excerpt illustrates the clarity of insight that nonprofits can achieve by rigorously analyzing what they can do in each part of their value chain.
You can read the excerpt here.
On Saturday, Oct. 28, Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker launched their efforts to promote Engine of Impact in a special event at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)—the institution where much of the thinking and research in the book originated. Jon Levin, dean of GSB, joined Meehan and Jonker for a wide-ranging discussion of themes and lessons from the new book. The event, held at Cemex Auditorium on the Stanford University campus, was part of the festivities for Alumni Weekend at GSB.
Meehan and Jonker, speaking to a nearly full auditorium, talked at length about the steps that GSB alumni can take in their role as business leaders and nonprofit board members to boost the impact of organizations in the social sector. In a striking moment during the interview, Dean Levin asked attendees to raise their hand if they currently serve on a nonprofit board. The overwhelming majority of GSB alumni at the event—as many as three-fourths of them—raised their hands. Attendees expressed curiosity about serving in that role more effectively, and Meehan urged them to use that curiosity as an asset. “Keep asking dumb questions until you figure out what the smart questions are,” he said.
Photograph by Robert E. King
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