Businesses use terms like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability or “Creating Shared Value” to remind themselves they have social and environmental responsibilities beyond profit maximization.
Social innovation, new ideas to solve social and environmental problems, is an expression used mainly by traditional social actors; non-profits and the public sector. It’s been around for a while, but is now gathering a lot of momentum. It has been a source of countless grass-roots and system-wide innovations.
I wrote a small booklet (still in draft) about how social innovation could apply to business. I show examples, from social entrepreneurs to large corporate pioneers like Danone. I explain the many benefits of embedding social innovation in business: increased employee engagement, creation of new products and services, penetration of new markets, enhanced goodwill and corporate branding…
On May 2nd, during a talk to hundreds of participants across Canada, Geoff Mulgan, CEO of NESTA, used the term Corporate Social Innovation to refer to social innovation in business. Tim Drainin, Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (SIG) wrote a blog post in 2010 titled: CSR is dead: long live Corporate Social Innovation. It is still too early to say if the term will “stick” but it is providing useful language to bring into the fold a neglected social innovation actor.
What’s your reaction- is this term useful or just confusing things for corporations? Will it replace or complement terms like CSR and sustainability?