Is it time for FEMA and the SBA to go back to school?

Prompted by a string of large-scale natural disasters last year, the Stanford Graduate School of Business recently brought together a number of humanitarian relief organizations -- along with corporate and academic supply chain experts -- to discuss best practices for major disaster relief management.

A DVD of the conference, held in September, is now available free-of-charge to humanitarian relief agencies and other non-profit groups. In it, speakers from groups as diverse as the Fritz Institute, Cisco, the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum, General Motors, and CARE Canada, discuss the importance of agility, proactive planning, partnerships, local capacity building, and performance management -- issued close to the heart of many small business owners.

The "Humanitarian Relief Logistics Best Practices Toolkit" DVD is the first in an expected series of school-sponsored conferences and workshops officials hope to make available to the general public and those "actively engaged in social innovation throughout the world," said Kriss Deiglmeier, executive director of Stanford's Center for Social Innovation.