Thursday, 30 June 2016

Social innovation and business ecosystems

As the world takes leaps in modernization and technological advances, so rises the social and environmental risks plaguing today’s societies. Nations around the world are increasingly waking up to the fact that these pressing concerns need to be addressed immediately. The business world is also taking note of the risks and opportunities posed by social and environmental issues. More than just an opening for charity, social innovations are today viewed by businesses as about competition and economic value creation. 

The 2015 Harvard Business Review ranking of the top 100 performing CEOs in the world weighted social and environmental performance at 20% of the overall score, a fact that reinforces the importance of social innovations in business in the modern world. It is time to break through the traditional business mindsets, strategies and business models. Business is about reinvention, day after day, and it is imperative that they should inculcate practices that will allow it to rise above profit making and view the world from a socially responsible context. At this juncture, Corporate Social Innovation(CSI) offers new perspectives, models and tools for addressing some of the greatest challenges plaguing our time.
  • CSI as a part of the core business strategy - Determine the social problems that intersect with the business and the vision of the company. CSI must be approached as an intrinsic company policy and should be seen as any other core business strategy. Businesses should have the game plan to unlock the value of their products and services to address key societal and environmental challenges. It must be noted for sustainability, CSI which is incorporated into the business must generate value for the business too. The value should be in revenue as well as a positive change for the world around.
  • CSI as a positive influence in the market - Social innovation can be viewed as an opportunity to serve the unmet needs in various markets with new or existing products or services. The products cannot be marketed or offered as to existing customers. Barriers that a target base would face such as affordability, product education, and local customs must be considered and incorporated into the product/service. CSI often helps in access to new markets or consumers, additional revenues, strengthened supply chains, reduced costs or managed risks.
  • CSI as a strategic collaboration - Conversation about innovations should not be limited to those inside the company but should be a product of bringing together multiple stake holders, in particular from outside the business, which can yield powerful results. The benefits include better local knowledge,
broader perspectives, consideration of the opportunities and risks and a better development process. Local employment and local economic development will help in creating a positive impact for the product as well as the society.
An effective government and business leadership that engages in social innovation will become the driving force towards achieving public welfare of GCC States. The need to design innovative business models and the significance of social innovation should be considered as a systematic commitment towards achieving GCC goals. Social innovation can be the spark that will find common ground for shared value creation and better the life of those in the bottom of pyramid. Without a doubt, tomorrow’s world will be very different from today’s and businesses should experiment with new models and strategies. Moral, ethical, social and environmental concerns will lead the way in the coming years in which key stakeholders, including consumers, customers, employees and investors, relate to and engage with business.

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