Social Innovation, Inc.: 5 Strategies for Driving Business Growth through Social Change
October 2010, Jossey-Bass
Could Wal-Mart offer a better solution to healthcare than Medicaid? Could GE help reduce global warming faster than the Kyoto protocol?
Social Innovation, Inc. declares a new era where companies profit from social change. Leading corporations like GE, Wellpoint, Travelers and Wal-Mart are transforming social responsibility into social innovation and revolutionizing the way we think about the role of business in society. Based on four years of measuring the social strategies of America's leading corporations, Jason Saul lays out the five strategies for social innovation and offers a practical roadmap for how to get started.
- Explains the fundamental shift in the role of business in society, from social contract to social capital market
- Identifies the 5 social innovation strategies: submarket products and services, social points of entry, pipeline talent, reverse lobbying, and emotive customer bonding
- Offers step-by-step guidance for creating economic value through positive social change
Social Innovation, Inc. is about making social change work for the business, and in turn staying relevant in the new economy.
I The New Economics of Social Change.
1 The Rise of the Social Capital Market.
2 Responsibility Is Not a Strategy.
3 Corporate Social Innovation.
II Five Strategies for Corporate Social Innovation.
4 Strategy One—Create Revenues Through Submarket Products and Services.
5 Strategy Two—Enter New Markets Through Backdoor Channels.
6 Strategy Three—Build Emotional Bonds with Customers.
7 Strategy Four—Develop New Pipelines for Talent.
8 Strategy Five—Influence Policy Through Reverse Lobbying.
III The Roadmap to Social Innovation.
9 Creating a Culture of Social Innovation.
10 The Formula for Social Innovation.
11 Implications of the Social Capital Market.
About the Author.
Jason Saul is one of the nation's leading experts on measuring social impact. He is a Lecturer of Social Enterprise at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and the CEO of Mission Measurement LLC, a strategy consulting firm that helps corporations, nonprofits, and the public sector measure and improve social impact.
Gordon Gekko may have been right after all: “greed” can be good, says Mission Measurement founder and CEO Jason Saul, author of the book SOCIAL INNOVATION, INC.: 5 Strategies for Driving Business Growth Through Social Change (Jossey-Bass; Oct. 25, 2010; Hardcover; $27.97). Today, it’s all right for businesses to expect an economic return for doing good. In fact, companies are realizing that social strategies are now among their most powerful business strategies—but to win, they must completely rethink the way they approach social change.
Most companies think about society as a “responsibility”, and focus on mitigating risks by doing good (charity) and not doing bad (risk management). Saul says this is old thinking. Leading companies are instead looking at society as an opportunity for value creation—and profits. Some of humanity’s biggest problems, such as lack of healthcare, poor funding for education, hunger, and our deteriorating environment, are today’s biggest business opportunities. And companies that understand this are using the engine of their business (social innovation) rather than the fumes (philanthropy) to address unmet social needs. Walmart’s $4 prescription program increased access and lowered the cost of healthcare for millions of people…and made the company a top competitor in the pharmacy business. Tesco‘s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets are designed to solve the food desert problem in Nevada, Arizona and California…and help Tesco find a way into the lucrative U.S. grocery market. In each of these cases (and many, many more) a positive social impact yields greater profitability for the company that solves such problems first.
In SOCIAL INNOVATION, INC., Saul draws on examples from major companies like Walmart, GE, Kraft, Office Max, Walgreens, Travelers Insurance, and Coca Cola to show how innovative thinking is helping these companies broaden their customer base while serving people in need. These programs are market-based business strategies designed to generate huge profits by solving social problems. Because most of the “best” markets are already taken, the future of business depends on developing programs that create social change by entering new markets, creating new products and services for underserved populations, and developing talent for companies to hire. It’s a fundamentally different way of thinking, and it is how companies will resolve the tension between meeting shareholder demands and social expectations. It’s no longer a tradeoff.
As part of an interview, Saul can discuss:
- Why business can solve social problems more efficiently than governments, including underfunded schools, childhood obesity, lack of access to affordable prescriptions, and unemployment in some of the poorest parts of the U.S.;
- Which U.S. companies—and which corporations abroad—are making the greatest strides in creating social innovation programs, and how the public benefits from them;
- How business leaders should think about “corporate social responsibility” today, and what their first steps should be in moving toward social innovation programs instead;
- How non-profits and charitable organizations should re-think their corporate alliances in order to reap the greatest returns for their cause;
- Why the federal government should encourage businesses to create social innovation programs instead of today’s standard CSR initiatives;
- What sectors are most interested in creating social innovation programs (i.e. banking) and why.
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