Social innovation, also known as social intrapreneurship, emerged in the past couple of decades to increase employee engagement in handling corporate social responsibility. Organizations need to work on CSR initiatives to build a reputation that favors their business and corporate image. When an organization can involve its employees in CSR activities, it can convey the relevance of social innovation to the audience more effectively.
Social innovation occurs at the intersection of social entrepreneurship. Both these strategies go hand in hand but are slightly different from each other. In social entrepreneurship, an organization addresses social issues, while in social intrapreneurship, the organization’s staff contributes to the innovation and evolution of products and services.
In this technologically advanced world, we see examples of social innovation all around us, especially in the corporate world. For example, a leading bank in Australia called Westpac encourages its employees to select their targets and strive to achieve them. These targets are focused on corporate giving and volunteering. This empowers the employees and brings up their morale to contribute more effectively. In 2017,
Despite the numerous benefits of social innovation and the competitive edge to companies, many businesses are still struggling to incorporate this concept into their business. In a recent survey conducted by McKinsey with 1,000 employees from different US companies, 82% of the participants claimed that it is essential for companies to clarify their purpose of existence. When the companies disclosed their purpose and objectives, only 42% mentioned something that included the relevance of social innovation. To effectively implement social innovation initiatives, companies need to make sure that the employees are involved in the creative activities. This boosts the overall environment towards higher productivity and opens doors to new projects that are beneficial for the organization.
Social innovation is the process of developing effective solutions to challenge the environmental issues that we see around us. The method includes deploying these solutions through teamwork conducted within the internet environment of an organization. The drive to implement social change can only be fueled by the active collaboration of constituents across businesses, non-profit organizations, and the government. This is why social innovation should be part of every business striving for growth and success.
Some define social innovation as the new social practices conducted to meet social needs more efficiently than the existing scenarios. When the current working conditions, education institutions, community health and development, and other sectors are not favoring the community as a whole in the way it should, action needs to be taken to improve the circumstances. This is why social innovation is so important.
It includes the broader criteria involved in social interaction, social objectives, and social outputs. As we move towards a more digitized and competitive world, companies are becoming more aware of the relevance of social innovation in day-to-day business operations.
Several Multifaceted Benefits of Social Innovation
Individuals and organizations on the path to implementing social innovation often begin as lone wolves, struggling and fighting for social causes. They have excellent leadership skills and can gradually build a crowd around them. Some can make an even more significant impact by creating industry-wide environmental goals and persuading their followers to work on them as a team.
When an organization is determined to work on social innovation initiatives, the key stakeholders usually join together as they realize the value of such efforts. Even though the relevance of social innovation is more towards the impact than on the profit it brings, shareholders are also interested in collaborating in social causes to get long-term social benefits.
Social innovation initiatives differ in terms of the goals set and the position or authority of the main person behind the cause. When a company struggles for a social cause to improve the conditions of the community, it is said to be partaking in social entrepreneurship, which is different from business entrepreneurship. Business intrapreneurship is when initiatives occur within an organizational structure and focus on financial gains. On the other hand, business entrepreneurship occurs outside the organization but is still focused on making profits. When it comes to social innovation, the focus is not on the financial gains but on the social and environmental impact that the movement seeks. The team involved in social entrepreneurship struggles to create a positive impact in the community, regardless of whether it can make a profit or not as an outcome of the efforts.
Here are a few specific benefits of social innovation.
1. Opportunity to Create Inventive Solutions
Social innovation presents opportunities for businesses to introduce inventive solutions for the betterment of society. This makes society see the company as an expert and authority in the respective sector. It also creates an image of being innovative, which positively impacts the brand image. People like to buy products and services from companies with a good social image. They trust the quality of products and services offered by such businesses.
2. Opportunity for Employees to Utilize Their Skills
Working on social innovation initiatives gives opportunities to employees to utilize their skills, talent, and passion for the benefit of the community. Working to make money is one thing, but struggling to bring about a positive change in society gives a greater level of satisfaction. When employees of a company work together to strive for a social cause, they build better relationships with each other, which helps keep their productivity levels high in their daily work tasks.
As employees get involved in a new and unique level of engagement, they start finding their workplace as a fun place to be. This increases their loyalty towards the organizations and helps align their individual goals with the company. When people use their existing assets to address and solve market problems, they feel a sense of belonging to society. This, in turn, enables them to provide better quality service to the customers in the future.
3. Opportunity for Corporations to Partner With the Social Sector
Social innovation provides a fabulous opportunity for corporations to partner with the social sector and the community. This kind of partnership has a novel style and vibe attached to it. This is a means for the corporate leaders to see things from the general public’s perspective and sincerely try to solve their problems. It allows them to move beyond philanthropy and seek novel solutions to old community issues. This can even give rise to social enterprises whose sole objective is to fight for social causes. The collective impact that a single social innovation initiative can have on the community can be tremendous.
The Importance of Having a Website to Represent Your Social Innovation Efforts
As part of an organization’s social innovation efforts, it is essential to present them openly on the internet. The best way to do this is by creating a website that provides information about your social cause.
At Strikingly, we have a lot of users who are struggling for a social cause. Some of them are running non-profit organizations that have been developed to implement social entrepreneurship for the benefit of society. If you want to implement social innovation into your business, it is a great idea to write about it on your corporate website.
Don’t worry if you do not have a website to showcase your business yet! You can create a website in only a couple of hours by signing up for a free account on Strikingly and selecting from one of our ready-to-use website templates. Next, all you need to do is add your content. Your website will be up and running today.
When you talk about your thoughts on social innovation on your website, make sure you see things from your audience’s perspective. You would not want to offend your target customers by discussing sensitive or conspiring issues on a public forum. Once you can get some traction for your social cause on your site, you can build a separate online community to discuss the details. This way, you can build your brand awareness first and later engage your audience in the cause more personalized.
We at Strikingly also believe in social innovation. Our web development features are built to provide ease of use to our users. We want you to be tension-free regarding your website so that you can focus on the more productive aspects of your business. We work towards creating mutual benefits for your business as well as ours. By being sincere to our users for their business growth, we can grow our business and platform as well.