The Past, Present, & Future of Positive Social Change

with Eric Nee, Editor-in-Chief of Stanford Social Innovation Review

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Eric has held the post of editor-in-chief of the Stanford Social Innovation Review since 2006, nearing 15 years with his finger on the pulse of the social impact ecosystem. While this is the longest job posting he has ever held, Eric has more than 35 years of experience in journalism and publishing. 

Before joining SSIR, he was a senior writer for Fortune Magazine. Prior to Fortune, Eric launched Forbes Magazine’s Silicon Valley bureau, where he was the bureau manager. He also served as editor-in-chief of Upside Magazine for close to five years.

SSIR may be in the traditional media space—editing and publishing a print magazine, publishing online content, hosting webinars and conferences, and producing a podcast—but they aren’t necessarily a traditional publication. Rather than hiring a writing staff to produce all of their written content, they consider themselves a peer-to-peer learning facilitation platform, relying on the social impact community to submit articles about their work and the community at large. This means they have the serious responsibility of shaping the conversation that the overall community has, and they treasure their acclaimed position highly.

Graphic displaying the cover of SSIR magazine 2020 Summer issue: Organizational Culture as a Tool for Change.

We discuss the role of journalism in the social impact space: how journalism overall effectively impacts positive social change as well as getting into the specifics of how SSIR factors into the field of advancing social innovation. 

We also talk about cross-sector collaboration, covering some of the gaps that still exist between where we are and where we need to be to tackle insurmountable problems that still face us. It was a pleasure to speak with Eric, as he is quite the optimist and has a solid grasp on all of the working components in this complex ecosystem.

Eric Nee, Stanford Social Innovation Review Editor-In-Chief

“If we are going to figure out how to change society, you have to understand what we’ve done in the past. What have we tried that worked? What hasn’t worked? We have to bring the voices of the people who are doing that work to one another so they can learn from each other.” – Eric Nee

Topics Discussed: 

  • How Eric went from changing bedpans to running a social impact publication
  • The role of journalism and SSIR in the social impact ecosystem
  • Major gaps in the social sector that need to be addressed 
  • How the social innovation space has evolved since Eric joined SSIR

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