Stanford’s New Social Media Course

A new Stanford Graduate School of Business course taught by marketing professor Jennifer Aaker, the “Power of Social Technology,” promotes social good through nonprofit businesses and is profiled in Thursday’s San Jose Mercury News.

“The premise of this course,” says Aaker, “is to show students how to harness social technology in support of a clear, single, focused social good goal. The challenge is to create a social force toward addressing a specific personal or societal need and, in the process, increase the number and frequency of meaningful acts in the world.”

This spring, a trio of students posted a video to YouTube promoting an organization that hopes to save the lives of millions of prematurely born babies in India and other developing nations by creating an innovative low-cost baby incubator. The CEO of India’s first interactive digital billboard company saw the video online and now a version of it, created on behalf of the nonprofit organization Embrace, will soon play on digital billboards across India.

According to a profile of Aaker’s course published in February, students start with a human-centered approach, putting themselves in the shoes of their stakeholders to gain empathy and define a point of view with clearly articulated needs and insights. With this focused understanding of the social good they aim to cultivate, students launch into hypothesis and idea generation, followed by rapid prototyping and testing via Twitter, Facebook, email, texts, blogs, and video.

“Everyone gives business schools a bad rap, and everyone gives for-profit companies a bad rap,” but both have great potential to be vehicles for the public good, Aaker said.

For more information about this unique course, and the development of the Embrace incubator, follow the good goes viral story here.

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