Innovation and Scaling for Impact – How effective social enterprises do it

“Social innovation and scaling are the engines for a prosperous and inclusive economy. We need many more models as described in this book by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair.”

—Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum

Innovation and Scaling for Impact forces us to reassess how social sector organizations create value. Drawing on a decade of research, Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair transcend widely held misconceptions, getting to the core of what a sound impact strategy entails in the nonprofit world. They reveal an overlooked nexus between investments that might not pan out (innovation) and expansion based on existing strengths (scaling). In the process, it becomes clear that managing this tension is a difficult balancing act that fundamentally defines an organization and its impact.

Book cover

Christian and Johanna examine innovation pathologies that can derail organizations by thwarting their efforts to juggle these imperatives. In their book they detail innovation archetypes that effectively sidestep these pathologies and blend innovation with scaling through four rich case studies. Readers and event attendees will come away with conceptual models to drive progress in the social sector and tools for defining the future of their organizations.

In this event jointly hosted by Impact Hub Zürich and scaling4good, we will explore

  • Innovation pathologies and how to identify them;
  • Innovation archetypes to overcome the pathologies and blend innovation with scaling;

On top of that, we will witness an insightful discussion on how current leading impact investors and foundations are setting their strategies and structuring portfolios to maximise impact.

If you are interested to go in-depth about the principles of scaling, our business school STRIDE offers a short course on the topic 2/3 December (LINK).



19:00   Doors open

19:30   Welcome

19:40   Talk by Johanna & Christian – Authors of Innovation and Scaling for Impact

20:00  Panel Discussion moderated by Johanna with 2-3 Impact Investors / Foundations

20:30   Wrap-up in plenary and Q&A

20:45   Networking & apéro


Johanna Mair

Johanna Mair is Professor for Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance. Her research focuses on how novel organisational and institutional arrangements generate economic and social development. Mair is also the Distinguished Fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Academic Editor of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She is a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and has held visiting positions at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Her research is published in leading scholarly journals. She serves on the board of foundations and organisations and advises companies, governments and social impact investors on social innovation. Before earning her PhD in management from INSEAD, she was involved in executive decision-making in international banking. From 2001 to 2011, she was a member of the Strategic Management faculty at IESE Business School in Madrid. In 2008, the Aspen Institute recognised her as a “Faculty Pioneer” in Social Entrepreneurship Education.

Christian Seelos

Christian Seelos is the Director of Social Innovation Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Research Fellow at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University, and the Leo Tindemans Chair of Business Model Innovation at KU Leuven. Previously, he has been the Director of the IESE Platform for Strategy and Sustainability and an Adjunct Professor in the Strategic Management Department at IESE Business School in Barcelona. 



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Short-cut Infos

Innovation and Scaling for Impact – How effective social enterprises do it

02. May 2017 , 19:00 - 22:00

Location: Viadukt

Contact Person

Anais is former Climate-KIC director whose dedication it is to address climate change. She is an expert in climate innovation processes and is convinced that in order to take action, connection with the self and others are preliminaries. This is why she returned to working directly with people in the field of education. She is a co-founder of the STRIDE – u...

Anaïs Sägesser, Education

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