In 2012-2013, members of the Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation contributed their insights into the World Economic Forum publication Breaking the Binary: Policy Guide to Scaling Social Innovation. The report provided a framework for governments on how enabling policy actions, bolstered by case studies, could turn social entrepreneurship into a major force for social innovation. During the Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda in November 2013, council members relayed many examples of corporate CEOs and senior executives showing more interest in social innovation. This trend is significant, since corporations have the resources and capabilities that social entrepreneurs and governments sometimes lack: the right combination of financial and human capital, access to advanced technologies, and broad and sophisticated global networks necessary to solve the big societal problems facing an increasingly complex world.
Many corporations have taken on this broader role without deviating from their primary goal of creating value for their shareholders. Such efforts have gone beyond traditional charitable responses, with companies proactively designing and implementing business models that increase incomes and better the quality of life of underserved or vulnerable communities and bottom of the pyramid markets. They have done so by creating new business models in-house, by entering into partnerships and joint ventures with social enterprises and NGOs, or by using their cash reserves to make social investments.
The Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation aims to create and disseminate thought leadership that provides CEOs with a framework to design and implement their social innovation strategy. The council seeks to trigger action from many more businesses and CEOs by offering choices, models, structures, processes and metrics to inform and guide CEOs.
Council Manager: Manju George, Community Lead, Schwab Foundation, Global Leadership Fellow, Manju.George@weforum.org
Forum Lead: Katherine Milligan, Head of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatever industry you compete in – telecommunications, energy, banking or any other – there exist opportunities for companies to leverage capital and expertise to make a difference.
"Intrapreneurs" make or save the company money while tackling a pressing social issue.