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Guide your company’s sustainability journey
Mapping Stakeholder Expectations
WHAT IS IT?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Social innovation is, according to the European Commission, new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social need (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations.1
1 Open Book of Social Innovation, Murray, Calulier-Grice and Mulgan, March 2010
CSR Europe believes that social innovation is a basic characteristic of the enterprise of the future. Enterprise 2020 is the flagship program putting this into practical terms.
Strong arguments for social innovation-based R&D of products and services include:
Social innovation was one sustainability metric among the 17 defined for the MIA assessment. This topic is not an aspect of the GRI G4 framework. CSR Europe made this edition as our philosophy about expecting more form companies on this front, which is also mirrored by our Enterprise2020 vision. Companies were asked to score on six management maturity factors regrouped in the policy, performance management and reporting categories (see the ideal situation of each factor listed in table below).
The overall result shows that social innovation as defined for the purpose of this assessment is not one
of the organisation-wide ‘management process agenda’ of companies in the pilot. This does not mean however that they are doing nothing on the topic. It means that new business models are on the radars of upper-management (integrated to a policy, KPI, or top management performance measure), and tested in spin-off ventures or funds (such as the Danone Ecosystem Fund) where companies are taking leadership roles.
Nonetheless, the answers on management maturity of social innovation and its categorisation as a non-strategic issue tell us that internalisation of this important lever of sustainable development as a whole is still to take place (for an outlook on internalisation see chapter 4 The Next Frontier).
MIA pilot companies discussed this topic extensively in the workshop held in January 2015. The points below reflect the outcomes of that discussion:
Since we are talking about an intrinsically different business model than most large companies are built on, testing initiatives in spin-off ‘labs’ seems to be an appropriate approach. An essential element, enabling innovation to happen is to build avenues allowing lessons learned to be translated into group-level long-term corporate planning.
Activating employee innovation potential in such testing phases via intrapreneurship may be a good approach to prepare your workforce for corporate culture and business model changes in the long-term.