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2013 | Buch

Social Innovation

Solutions for a Sustainable Future

herausgegeben von: Thomas Osburg, René Schmidpeter

Verlag: Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Buchreihe : CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance


Über dieses Buch

​Social Innovation is becoming an increasingly important topic in our global society. Those organizations which are able to develop business solutions to the most urgent social and ecological challenges will be the leading companies of tomorrow. Social Innovation not only creates value for society but will be a key driver for business success. Although the concept of Social Innovation is discussed globally the meaning and its impact on the development of new business strategies is still heavily on debate. This publication has the goal to give a comprehensive overview of different concepts in the very innovative field of Social Innovation, from a managerial as well as from a theoretical and social perspective. Over 30 leading thinkers in the field of Innovation, Strategic Management and Organizational Development give a well structured inside on the latest developments and progress in the field of Social Innovation. Thereby the authors not only develop a comprehensive and unique analysis on the state-of-the art of social innovation but also give practical advice and information to business leaders on how to apply the latest management thinking on Social Innovation to daily business decisions. This publication has the intention to become a milestone in the further development of the concept of Social Innovation as well as to further stimulate new business strategies necessary to overcome world most pressing social and ecological challenges.


Social Innovation: A New Concept for a Sustainable Future?
Like all innovative intellectual concepts, the endeavor of developing the concept of Social Innovation starts with a broad debate on what the underlying problem looks like and what the contribution of introducing this new term to the ongoing intellectual discussions about our society should be. One goal of the publication is to capture and highlight the current state of thinking about how to overcome the most pressing challenges of our time. How can we foster innovations which add value to our societies by tackling our very real problems in the field of education, demography, energy, finance, ecological scarcity, as well as social and economic prosperity? It becomes more and more clear that we need a “quantum leap” – a big step forward in innovative thinking in order to achieve a sustainable future – for ourselves but especially for our kids. Such a complex matter of course cannot be easily achieved, sometimes answers seem more confusing and with every new argument new questions arise.
René Schmidpeter

Perspectives and Considerations

Social Innovation to Drive Corporate Sustainability
The concept of Social Innovation seems to be omnipresent in today’s corporate discussions, but deeper reflections indicate that there are significant differences in the way Social Innovation is understood and implemented. While some see it as the next big thing after CSR or CSR 3.0, for others it is simply a new term for CSR. As with most new concepts, this unclear understanding might ultimately hinder the development of a concept that, if applied seriously, might have a significant contribution to improve the way we collaborate, innovate, and ultimately have a positive impact on the world. Even when the concept is fully embraced, it can often be detected that there is a focus on only the invention, without paying too much attention to the process leading to this result and the societal and business impact. In order to advance Social Innovation concepts, basic and proven principles from the Innovation Management need to be taken into account, in addition to the needed but often overrated focus on just the big idea to solve major problems.
Thomas Osburg
The Relation Between Ethics and Innovation
At first glance it might seem that innovation and ethics are two opposing concepts. Ethics has a prescriptive element. It sets out what we can and cannot do, and therefore limits our scope of action. By contrast, innovation leads to doing things differently, breaking the mold, overcoming barriers. In this sense, there may be those who would believe that ethics could limit innovation. But that view misinterprets what ethics is all about. Ethics cannot be reduced to a legalistic view of human behavior, much less to a negative view that defines ethics as a list of prohibitions. A positive, comprehensive view of ethics will make us realize that ethics and innovation are closely related: that innovation – like any other human activity – is deeply rooted in ethics, and that ethics inspires and encourages innovation. In this chapter we will put aside the ethical dilemmas that may arise with respect to innovation, and will move into a more conceptual and positive dimension.
Joan Fontrodona
Humanitarian Perspective on Social Innovation
The business of business is business. So why should corporations be involved in development? The main proposition of this chapter is that Governments and their international arms, the international agencies grouped under the umbrella of the United Nations, have failed in their attempts to rid the planet of under-development and poverty. So saying, as development has to take place and given that the private sector, particularly large corporations with their power and economic strength, have now been given their head, then should the private sector take much more responsibility for development than ever before? The paper will develop the argument that CSR provides a platform for corporations to be involved in economic development in ways that can be much more powerful than has been thought of hitherto. Economic development (also now transfigured somewhat curiously into sustainable development) means improving the well being of disadvantaged people wherever they may be.
Michael Hopkins
Knowledge Creation and Transfer Effects on Decision Making
Our economy has been moving towards an Information Age that relies upon intangible assets utilization that has not been fully captured in the financial statements of organizations. Between 1978 and the present, the non-book or intangible assets value of all companies rose approximately 70 % of market value (Rodgers, J Intellect Cap 8:205–215, 2007). Hence, today tangible asset value for companies in general reflects less than 30 % of market value. In this information/knowledge dominated environment, evidence on the employment of intangible or knowledge assets is becoming quite apparent. With the move of sophisticated economies from a resource-based to a knowledge-based production, many national governments have progressively more recognized “knowledge” and “innovation” as momentous driving forces of economic growth, social development, and job creation. In this context the elevation of ‘knowledge transfer’ has increasingly become a theme of public and economic policy. Our economy has been moving towards an Information Age that relies upon intangible assets utilization that has not been fully captured in the financial statements of organizations.
Waymond Rodgers, Arne Söderbom
A Social Capital Approach Towards Social Innovation
This chapter explores the concept of social innovation linking the research on social capital to innovation in general and where possible to social innovation in particular. Based on an Ostromian definition of social capital, the relationships between social capital and social innovation are presented at three different levels. At a micro or individual level, the main focus is put on the role of the social innovator, at the meso or organizational level the role of social organizations as for example social enterprises are explored and at the macro level the idea of social capital is presented as a driver of social innovation in the experience of community development programs. This chapter evidence that academic literature addressing the mutual relationships between social capital and social innovation is scanty and therefore concludes offering some considerations for a future research agenda.
André Habisch, Cristian R. Loza Adaui

Related Business Concepts to Social Innovation

The Interdependence of CSR and Social Innovation
This chapter aims to explore the interdependence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social Innovation and identify the extent to which, if any, CSR has been driving business to become pioneers in social innovation.
Stefan Crets, James Celer
Leading with Innovation: Transforming Corporate Social Responsibility
Over the past several decades Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has matured as a function within business adding increased value by moving through stages of compliance, integration, strategy and value creation (Googins et al. Beyond “good company”: next generation corporate citizenship, Palgrave-McMillan, New York, 2007; World Business Council for Sustainable Development, From challenge to opportunity: the role of business in tomorrow’s society, 2006). In earlier stages, CSR took the form of philanthropy and compliance along the good citizen route. More recently reporting, cause marketing, and sustainability initiatives reflected a greater responsiveness to emerging stakeholder activism and the perceived tie in to brand and reputation (Hatch and Mirvis, Positive design and appreciative construction: from sustainable development to sustainable value. Emerald, New York, 2010). More recent iterations sought greater legitimacy and strategic value for CSR which in turn led to a search for the business case, strategic philanthropy, new models of value creation, and widely adopted frameworks of win-win propositions and shared value (Porter and Kramer, Harv Bus Rev 1–17, 2011). This developmental journey reflects a heightened set of expectations and demands of an environment in which social and environmental issues have become blended into the business model itself (Matten and Crane, Acad Manage Rev 30(1):166–179, 2005).
Bradley Googins
Inclusive Business Models as a Key Driver for Social Innovation
In 2005 Anant Kumar was travelling to hospitals around India, conducting market research for his employer, Hindustan Latex Limited (currently HLL Lifecare), a top global manufacturer of condoms (BCTA, LifeSpring Hospitals: providing affordable, quality health care. Case study. Business call to action, 2010). As his research progressed, Kumar began to recognise some disconcerting trends. The women he spoke with were dissatisfied with the lack of transparency, quality, and service experienced at the free public hospitals, yet private hospitals were largely unaffordable. A significant portion of women were so frustrated that they opted to sell assets or take out loans to finance visits to private hospitals. Recognising a clear social need and a market gap, Kumar convinced HLL to finance a maternity clinic aimed at providing high-quality yet affordable healthcare to low-income mothers and children in Hyderabad’s urban slums. By cutting costs through specialisation and innovative processes, LifeSprings Hospitals, with Kumar as CEO, began successfully applying its business acumen to an underserviced area of health care in India.
Jessica Scholl
Social Entrepreneurs as Main Drivers of Social Innovation
Social entrepreneurship has been defined and redefined, but the most widespread definitions prominently embed the notion of innovation in their definition. For many, social innovation and social entrepreneurship is largely the same. Social innovation only became a popular term a decade later. Social innovation describes the mechanism, the actual innovation, such as microfinance, micro-insurance or off-grid energy solutions. Social entrepreneur and the social enterprise are the actors driving social change through innovation. The fact that the expression “social innovation” made a popular entry on the scene and has pushed back the use of social entrepreneurship to some degree reflects the recognition that social entrepreneurs are not the only actors bringing about social innovation. Governments, businesses and large NGOs are discovering the potential for driving social change through innovative approaches either by themselves or in cooperation with social entrepreneurs.
Mirjam Schöning
Institutional Theory as a Framework for Practitioners of Social Entrepreneurship
The chapter proposes institutional theory as a framework for reflecting on social entrepreneurship. We advocate institutional theory as a tool for practitioners to reflect upon the legitimacy, survivability and scalability of social enterprises because institutional theory frameworks can reduce risks associated with emerging fields such as social entrepreneurship. In order to illustrate our claim, we present four cases of social entrepreneurship and reflect on them through different institutional theory frameworks. At the end of the chapter, we propose a future agenda for practitioners interested in social entrepreneurship from an institutional theory perspective.
Anirudh Agrawal, Kai Hockerts
Design Strategy for the Bottom of the Pyramid
The (Bottom of the Pyramid) BOP was a term referring to the roughly four billion people around the world who live on less than $2/day in PPP terms and remain largely invisible to MNCs as consumers. There are several premises to the BOP theory. The first is that for-profit models are a necessary tool in alleviating poverty and more sustainable than aid. Second, the innovations needed to serve the poor profitably have the potential to make firms more competitive while accelerating economic development. Third, engaging the BOP as consumers demands that companies understand the real needs and aspirations of the poor, build trust and collaborate with them (and often NGOs) as partners. Fourth, many successful innovations for the BOP will have global relevance (Prahalad, BOP).
Deepa Prahalad

Instruments and Applications

The Importance of Marketing for Social Innovation
Nobody can deny that innovation is key to business success and growth. At first glance, one usually thinks about economic success as the sole fruit of innovation. However, innovation driven by the intent to benefit society, also known as social innovation, has recently garnered much attention. Mounting evidence that a company can do well and good at the same time (Bhattacharya et al. Leveraging corporate responsibility: the stakeholder route to maximizing business and social value. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2011) has spurred that development to a great extent.
CB Bhattacharya
Accounting for Social Innovations: Measuring the Impact of an Emerging Intangible Category
Following the definition of the Center for Social Innovation of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Social innovation, 2009), “a social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.” This definition focuses on the result, i.e. the outcome of the innovation. In order to judge whether a solution is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just, it is indispensable to measure the impact of social innovations along those four lines. Moreover, the value created has to be allocated to the society and to private individuals. Between society and private individuals, organizations, both for-profit as well as non-profit organizations, act as socio-mechanical systems combining technical and organizational solutions (such as machines, buildings, or processes) with human beings as part of a social system in terms of internal (i.e. workforce) or external stakeholders (e.g. customers) of the organization.
Edeltraud Guenther, Thomas Guenther
Social Innovation Education
Universities around the world have started to create a learning environment that allows students not only to acquire knowledge and skills needed in their respective subject areas, but also the necessary tools to make a difference in the world. For example, course offerings and programs focusing on social entrepreneurship (Brock and Steiner, 2008) are on the rise and attract students who are interested in following mission-driven career options. This development seems to be in line with a shift in mentality among members of the younger generation who have a strong desire for contributing to society and do meaningful work (Allen, 2004; Eisner, 2005). Also, companies recognize that acting as a social innovator provides them with the option to mitigate or solve social problems and, while doing so, creating future markets. This rising interest in the topic increases the demand for programs specifically designed to meet the needs of (future) social innovators.
Peter Russo, Susan Mueller
The Life Cycle of Social Innovations
All over the world there are millions of social entrepreneurs that come up with potential social innovations. Some never get implemented in practice. Others are implemented, but then the passion fades or the solution does not reveal itself as promising for creating social impact. In some cases, the lack of sustainability or management capacity prevents a successful scaling up process. Despite all these potential obstacles, there are social innovations that go from promising ideas to becoming mainstream solutions, leading to new markets, industries, or social movements, such as Microfinance or Wikipedia. An in-depth look at main obstacles facing social innovators and the leadership skills required to overcome them is a meaningful contribution to the field of social innovation. The goal of this chapter is to propose such a contribution through an in-depth exploration of the life cycle of social innovation. The term “life cycle” implies a sequence of stages in the evolution of new ventures (Parker 2007).
Filipe Santos, João Cotter Salvado, Isabel Lopo de Carvalho, Uwe G. Schulte
Innovation Through Corporate Social Responsibility?
When reflecting on economy, society and environment and being aware of the numerous challenges we face one could get despaired. Climate change, erosion, water scarcity or decreasing biodiversity, among others, are not just posing risks to our natural ambience but also to society – i.e. societal stability and cohesion. As if this were not sufficiently challenging we experience an ongoing uncertain financial and economic situation. Experiencing the impacts of the financial and economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 some thought to see positive aspects in the negative headlines: all these adverse developments seemed to show the necessity for fundamental change in the financial and economic system. So we assume that relevant actors in economy and politics as well as citizens are aware of the need for change and ready for it. But what do we see some years after the emergence of the first wave of crisis? One could call it modest progress: No big steps were taken at Rio + 20 in June 2012 and approaches in dealing with the financial crisis are only still in discussion.
Eva Grieshuber

Best Practices in Social Innovation

Education as Social Innovation
Education is an area where public and private sectors increasingly collaborate. The so-called ‘third sector’, which represents non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Development Agencies (DAs), also plays a part, when collaborations take the form of a multi-stakeholder project. A 2012 research by the Foundation Strategy Group shows that successful and sustainable models contribute to both citizenship and business growth (Porter 2011, 2012). In fact, we may even go as far as saying that the combination of citizenship and business growth is the new definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Issues in Education are wide and complex, social and even economic by nature. Businesses can play a positive role to foster innovation in Education and contribute to better learning. In this chapter, we want to analyse possible motives, scenarios and benefits of collaborative projects in education.
Shelly Esque, Martina Roth, Danny Arati
Entrepreneurship and Youth Unemployment
The welfare of a community depends on the employability of its young people. The primary objective of an education system is to prepare youth to participate in society and the economy. But in too many European countries, youth unemployment rates have skyrocketed to more than double the national average. Young people are among the most vulnerable in an economic crisis—unlikely to get hired and the first to be let go. Our school systems are struggling to adapt to the pace of change in skills and jobs, and crisis conditions have increased the pressure. Designed to educate people for a mass labor market, our schools must now also prepare students to create opportunities of their own, become entrepreneurs and more proactive participants in job creation. Both policy makers and the private sector are looking for solutions that will speed up the process of changing mindsets to embrace entrepreneurship more. Education systems are naturally slow-movers and Europe’s start-up rates remain stubbornly low.
Caroline Jenner
Responsible Investing as Social Innovation
The 2008 financial crisis led to an enormous loss of financial assets. Exuberant profits in the private sector before the crisis were followed by immense public costs, caused in particular by a rise in unemployment. Apart from this, the precrisis financial system can generally be characterized by high private incomes, on the one hand, and immense negative externalities, on the other hand. Responsible investing (RI) attempts to reduce this burden and decrease negative externalities. Initiated mainly by entrepreneurs from outside the financial sector, it can be considered an innovation responding to a pressing societal problem, a social innovation. The main idea of RI is quite easy, to broaden the perspective of investors from a narrow focus on purely financial indicators to a broader focus which integrates nonfinancial aspects, such as social, ecological, or ethical ones into the investment process. RI aims to develop tools that financial firms use to recognize, assess, and implement these non-financial concerns into their investment processes.
Stefanie Hiss
Social Innovation by Giving a Voice
Social innovations are human innovations, made by humans, for humans, in interaction with humans, based on human and ethical values, in a human scale. Social innovations can never be made isolated from humans. But this often happens. Politicians, managers or other leading people are saying: “We know what is right for you, the community/society! – You have to change this or that; Your behavior should look like this; Your responsibility is that …”. This is not an innovation. – This is a manipulation! To get able to come from manipulations to social innovations we need methodologies to get able to give humans a voice. Social innovations are always based on the voice of the society/community/people/stakeholders. This is not as easy as it sounds. We have to re-learn to listen to the people. What are they talking about? What are the values behind? What are the grown values of a community and – very important – what are their future values? – To get able to listen to communities the right questions have to be pronounced.
Thomas Walker, Florian Beranek
Technology for the Environment to Drive Social Innovation
Climate change is one of the top three global concerns for people around the world. Studies indicate that climate change will cause weather patterns to shift, resulting in severe drought, wildfires, and water scarcity in some areas, and excessive rainfall and flooding in others. These shifts can be expected to affect the productivity of farms, forests, and fisheries as well as the geography of disease. Meanwhile, experts estimate that the world’s population will grow from seven billion today to somewhere from 9 to 11 billion by 2050. The economies of countries such as China and India continue to expand at a significant rate, increasing the demand for products, energy, and other resources. Combined, these factors place severe stress on our planet’s resources. Observation shows that climate change can have serious ramifications—from economic losses to natural disasters to social strife. Faced with the challenge of inadequate ecosystem management as climate change occurs, governments, development agencies, and private industry are investing in task forces around the globe to plan for and take action at the country, regional, state, and local level.
Raluca Oltean, Thomas Osburg, Lorie Wigle
Social Innovation for Decarbonisation: The Atlas School Project
The Atlas Project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a targeted Green House Gas (GHG) reduction in the built environment and in particular the value of looking at a specific subset of buildings (schools). The project seeks to reduce the carbon footprints and energy bills of schools, while also boosting the use of low carbon products and services, creating jobs and growth. The Atlas low carbon toolkit, developed by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, The Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and a variety businesses, helps schools to define their holistic carbon footprint, covering energy, travel, products and services. It therefore goes some way beyond more traditional calculator tools, which tend to be focussed purely on energy consumption. The results of the toolkit help the schools to create an action plan to reduce their carbon footprint. When implementing their action plans, the Atlas project plays a crucial role in linking schools and local authorities in implementing low carbon solutions.
Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Helen Spence-Jackson
Social Innovation and the Power of Technology
Ubiquitous technology has changed the way people work, live and play. In contemporary society, people use information and communication technology (ICT) to search for information, make purchases, apply for jobs, share opinions, and stay in touch with friends and relatives. In business, people use technology to work in teams, to create new ideas, products, and services and share these with colleagues, customers, or a larger audience. At the same time, contemporary society faces myriad problems that must be addressed: persistent poverty, HIV/AIDS, food security, energy shortage, global climate change, and environmental degradation. In this context, it is crucial to respond flexibly to complex problems, to communicate effectively, to manage information dynamically, to work and create solutions in teams, to use technology effectively, and to produce new knowledge, continuously (Kozma and Roth, Assessment and teaching of twenty-first century skills. Springer, 2012). Creating content, solutions, use models of socio-economic relevance, of great user experience and impact – that’s what makes the difference.
Peter A. Bruck, Martina A. Roth

Looking Ahead on Social Innovation

The Role of Business in Society
When thinking about the role of business in society we find ourselves already confined by certain implicit assumptions. We tend to assume that business exists as separate from society. However, in fact, as one of the most important human institutions, business is central to the way in which we constitute a society and how we live within society. Business therefore helps define society as such. By the same token, our views about ‘society’ ought to give shape to what is perceived as ‘business’. When one conceives of the relationship between business and society as one of codetermination, a lot is at stake. It is in and through this relationship, amongst some others, that we define who we are and how we want to live.
Mollie Painter-Morland
Interview: Social Innovation from the Perspective of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
R.S. What is the European commission’s perspective on Social Innovation (SI) and what are the current discussions in the field of SI?
S.B. I deal with corporate social responsibility, and as far as that is concerned in relation to social innovation, we are looking, for example, at innovations in products and processes which have social goals. I am thinking of companies who are making devices for disabled or blind people and they bring about innovations in those processes, which enable disabled people or blind people to have a better quality of life. More broadly SI for me is also a softer concept, about companies innovating in information and communication processes, in the obtaining of knowledge and in the use of that knowledge to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their employees. Diversity is another field of social Innovation: how you maintain efficiency and effectiveness with a diversified work force is a challenge. To ensure companies still remain cost effective at the same time as diversifying their ways of doing things to cope with the complexities of market forces is, for me, to do with community, with people management, with identities, with culture, with interaction, and with networking in the workplace. It is about having and using new ideas and ways of doing things to make the best and most productive use of a work force.
Sue Bird
Sustainable Development: Social Innovation at the Interface of Business, Society and Ecology
Social innovation has attracted much recent attention from academics, policy makers and practitioners during the past 10 years, although examples of social innovation can be traced far back to the early nineteenth century, see for example the pioneering reformer Robert Owen at the New Lanark Woolen Mill (Owen http://​www.​robert-owen.​com/​, 2012). The main argument about social innovation is that it has the potential to effect change in conventional sectors of the economy and society. These sectors include government and the public sector, not-for-profits, as well as the for-profit sector. Social innovation can also include more loosely organized actors within a community or engaged in a community venture. At the same time, by its very nature, social innovation does not conform to the neat boxes of sectors instead it often intersects and overlaps sectors. This chapter focuses on the link between sustainable development and social innovation. It takes the position that the call for sustainable development is the greatest challenge to humanity of our time.
Nigel John Roome
Sustainability and Social Innovation
Since the publication of Our Common Future by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 and Elkington’s (1997) Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of Twenty-First Century Business 10 years later, it is widely accepted that sustainability has three dimensions: an economic, an environmental, and a social one. Out of these three dimensions or pillars, as they are sometimes known, the social one has received the least interest, also when it comes to reporting (Fifka and Drabble 2012). While the economic dimension seems to be the overriding pillar, the ecological one has also been given considerable attention, especially with regard to the development of new environmentally friendly technologies. Thus, in this regard, a mutual interdependency between sustainability and its ecological dimension can be observed. On the one hand side, ecology can be regarded as one vital element of sustainability. Out of these three dimensions or pillars, as they are sometimes known, the social one has received the least interest, also when it comes to reporting (Fifka and Drabble 2012).
Matthias S. Fifka, Samuel O. Idowu
Social Innovation: Quo Vadis?
The broad range of contributions by the authors in this publication shows clearly that a new paradigm Sustainability is emerging and that academia as well as business is setting a new course for achieving a common sustainable future. Business, Politics and NGOs are now in the process of reshaping our societies in terms of economic, political as well as academic thinking. The relations between the different sectors are changing and the linkages have to be proactively managed. This requires novel management approaches as well as a broad variety of expertise and most important a lot of respect for the mutual efforts in order to make our world more sustainable. Every new concept is a chance to find new answers but also to raise the dynamic of thinking for our future – so is the discussion about Social Innovation. Social Innovation is a concept emerging within this background. It gets a lot of attention these days and at a first glance there seems to be still many different understandings about the concept. Is it the next CSR or a new label for existing concepts?
Thomas Osburg, René Schmidpeter
Social Innovation
herausgegeben von
Thomas Osburg
René Schmidpeter
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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