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Case Studies by Jasjit Singh

15 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 24 Sep 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: financial services
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Kiva is an online platform that sources crowdfunding for low-income borrowers. By 2018 it has facilitated $1.1 billion in loans to 2.5 million borrowers worldwide. However, as questions are raised about the adverse effects of microcredit worldwide, Kiva must adapt its strategy to demonstrate maximum impact on improving the lives of the poor, while continuing to grow the user base and ensure financial sustainability.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is well-suited for modules related to social enterprise strategy, microfinance, financial inclusion, crowdfunding, technology for good, scaling up, venture philanthropy, impact investing and impact evaluation. It demonstrates how “good intentions” are not the same as “maximizing impact”, and how an enterprise can contribute to, as well as learn from, cumulative knowledge on how impact is best achieved in a given sector.

Keywords:
Microfinance, Financial Inclusion, Venture Philanthropy, Base of the Pyramid (bop), Impact Investing, Business Model Innovation, Social Enterprise, Crowdfunding, Sustainability, Social Impact, Impact Evaluation, Access to Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economic Development

published: 24 Sep 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Housing
  • Region: South America

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Abstract:
CEMEX is a leading global player in the cement industry. Seeing an opportunity to increase its social impact while growing its emerging market business by addressing the latent demand for housing solutions among the low-income population, it launched a unique business initiative. A few years on, with data on the financial performance and growth of that unit, the time has come to decide whether or not to scale up in a big way.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case provides an opportunity to discuss the commercial and impact potential as well as the unique challenges of trying to build a for-profit business initiative at the base of the pyramid, and how business model innovation can enable success. The case also provides rich financial data to carry out a full financial analysis of the initiative.

Keywords:
Creating Shared Value, Emerging Market Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Base of the Pyramid (bop), Sustainability, Business Model Innovation, Marketing, Sales & Distribution, Intrapreneurship, Microfinance, Financial Inclusion, Social Impact, Housing, Economic Development

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Management Consulting
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
After getting his MBA, Gib Bulloch pursues a conventional management consulting career with Accenture for seven years. Concerned that he is not contributing enough to society in his everyday work, he is given leave to work on a development project with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Macedonia. The experience strengthens his resolve to transition to a career with social impact. He wonders if he could build a development consulting business within Accenture, but struggles to come up with a business model that could yield a favorable return for the company. What should Gib do?

Pedagogical Objectives:
It is common for people on seemingly successful career paths to have doubts about whether they are making a positive difference to society. Gib Bulloch’s dilemma provides a platform to discuss how people evaluate the societal impact of work, how each person defines career success and finds their own unique path to happiness in professional life. It can be used to debate whether and when maximizing societal impact requires giving up a corporate career and joining an impact-focused organization instead (e.g., a non-profit or social enterprise). This idea can be developed to explore the potential to bring about significant positive change from within a traditional company (e.g., an “intrapreneur” who triggers corporate social initiatives).

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Impact-Driven Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creating Shared Value, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Corporate Intrapreneurship, Corporate Social Enterprise, Effective Altruism, Management Consulting, Development Consulting, Corporate Philanthropy

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Education
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
This case describes a policy maker who is reviewing evidence on the financial and social impact of giving low-income families access to high-quality preschools. In doing so, the case presents details of the oft-cited Perry Preschool study, which used a randomized experiment design for impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of one such programme.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case sheds light on impact evaluation, focusing on how to use a rigorous randomized experiment approach (also called randomized control trials or RCTs). It also serves as a basis for discussing cost-benefit analysis and social returns on investment for interventions like high-quality preschools. It is suitable for courses on public policy, sustainable development, nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, impact investing and research design.

Keywords:
Impact Evaluation, Social Impact, Public Policy, Social Returns on Investment, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Preschool Education, Outcome Measurement, Social Inclusion, Randomized Control Trials (rcts), Experiment Design, Sustainable Development, Nonprofit Management, Theory of Change, Impact Investing

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Financial Services, Venture Capital, Private Equity
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case describes how an intrapreneur helped Credit Suisse launch a commercially viable impact investing business in Asia. It specifically details the investment strategy and process for a new impact fund aligning social impact objectives with commercial goals of the bank. It also presents two new investment opportunities needing evaluation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is perfect for teaching about impact investing, sustainable investing or responsible finance. It can also be used more generally for topics related to social impact or base of the pyramid in emerging markets – for example, as part of a course on economic development, entrepreneurship, strategy, social entrepreneurship, private equity or venture capital.

Keywords:
Impact Investing, Social Impact, Sustainable Investing, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Sustainability, Base of the Pyramid, Emerging Market Strategy, Creating Shared Value, Responsible Investing, Economic Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Financial Inclusion, Intrapreneurship

published: 21 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Non-profit sector (education)
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In the eight years since doing his MBA, John Wood has had a stellar career with Microsoft, where he is considered a rising star. But John feels a sense of purpose is missing from his corporate career. When he comes face to face with poverty in remote villages in Nepal, he contemplates quitting his prestigious job and starting a non-profit venture setting up libraries to educate underprivileged children in poor countries. However, he is unsure whether such a drastic step would be a smart move. What should John do?

Pedagogical Objectives:
It is common for people with seemingly successful corporate careers to have doubts about whether they are ‘making a difference’. John Wood’s dilemma is designed to launch a discussion on how people evaluate the societal impact of their work, how they come to define ‘career success’, and how they find a unique path to happiness in their professional life. The mini-case can also be used to debate whether and when maximizing one’s societal impact requires giving up a corporate career and making significant financial sacrifice (e.g., by joining a non-profit organization or a social enterprise). This idea can be developed further to examine how one may be able to bring about significant positive change from within a traditional company, e.g. as an “intrapreneur” driving corporate social initiatives.

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Non-Profit Ventures, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Corporate Intrapreneurship, Asia, Nepal, Education, Charity, Philanthropy

published: 21 Apr 2017

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Social enterprise (water)
  • Region: Africa

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Abstract:
Having had a successful career in advertising, Trevor Field wanted to give back to society by establishing a social enterprise addressing the problem of access to clean drinking water among poor communities in South Africa. His solution involved an invention called the “PlayPump”, a merry-go-round that pumped water from deep under the ground every time that children spun the carrousel. Trevor came up with a business model that combined donor funding for the upfront expense of buying and installing a PlayPump with a revenue model based on billboard advertising to pay for the upkeep. Having achieved significant success initially, Trevor and his funders are considering whether they should scale up across Africa in a big way. Should they?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This mini-case offers an excellent platform for discussing the concepts of “social entrepreneurship” and “social impact” in the classroom. A well-guided discussion of Trevor Field’s PlayPump-based solution should help the students see both the potential and the limitations of the model, and ultimately come to appreciate that just good intentions do not automatically translate into the best possible outcomes and impact. It is important for anybody seeking to make a difference to have the humility and diligence necessary for first understanding a community’s real needs, to continuously measure progress and seek feedback on how their model works out on the ground, and to maintain an openness towards changing the initial model as needed based on initial experimentation. In addition, it is critical to compare not just the benefits but also costs of any new solution with those for alternative solutions. The case also helps debate how fast one should scale up a social innovation, and how much energy should one spend on some form of impact evaluation before doing so.

Keywords:
Social Impact, Careers, Non-Profit Ventures, Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Sustainable Development, Impact Evaluation, Entrepreneurship, South Africa, Water, Economic Development, Innovation, Advertising

published: 23 Nov 2015

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Abstract:
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) is a global initiative integrating Unilever’s commercial and sustainability-related agenda. In this context, Unilever is reviewing the progress so far of its new “Perfect Village” initiative in Vietnam, which seeks to build a financially viable rural business that also makes a positive social impact.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Case studies on social impact and the “base of the pyramid” (BOP) tend to present a “feel good” story of societal engagement. They rarely address the issue of how to make a business case for running a social impact initiative within a large for-profit company, a gap this case fills.

Keywords:
Multinational Company, Emerging Market Strategy, Global Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Base of Pyramid (bop), Economic Development, Sustainability, Creating Shared Value, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

published: 26 Mar 2015

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This exercise helps students learn about and develop first-hand insights into the pros and cons of commonly employed approaches for causal inference and impact assessment. It involves analyzing data on effects of a hypothetical training programme using five approaches: cross-sectional comparison, pre-post comparison, difference-in-differences, matched sample analysis and randomized evaluation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This exercise can be used for different audiences/purposes. The first is to teach students and practioners to think rigorously about evaluating the societal impact of their interventions. The second is to teach PhD students and researchers how to come up with appropriate empirical research designs for causal inference.

Keywords:
Social Impact Assessment, Program Evaluation, Causal Inference, Randomized Control Trials, Economic Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility

published: 28 Oct 2013

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Abstract:
LOLC Microcredit, a microfinance company within the LOLC group in Sri Lanka, has been serving the financial needs of the base of the pyramid through micro-leasing and group lending. The question now is whether to grow the existing business, use diversification to increase impact or prioritize its expansion into Myanmar. Please visit the dedicated case website to access additional teaching material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be used to teach strategy fundamentals, competitive advantage, strategic innovation, corporate strategy, global strategy, emerging market strategy and corporate entrepreneurship. It is also well-suited for teaching issues surrounding corporate social responsibility and creating shared value by integrating strategy with social impact.

Keywords:
Microfinance, Myanmar, Emerging Markets, Shared Value, Sri Lanka, Social Responsibility, Corporate Strategy, Base of Pyramid

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