Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in new or improved goods or services offered to customers. Innovation helps companies grow, remain relevant and differentiate themselves from the competition. Innovation can also improve outcomes for other stakeholders orbiting the company through social innovation.

Social innovation is concerned with developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues. Whether these come from national policies or governmental/ non-governmental entities, such solutions should meet social needs better than before.

A truly prosperous society in our days consists of both economic prosperity and social prosperity.

Social innovation should have a long-term impact on a large scale. Traditionally pursued through the endeavours of non-profit organisations, the business community is now encouraged to address society’s challenges too.

“If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.”

Mario Andretti

Innovation advantages

Some of the key practical benefits of innovation are:

  • improved productivity

  • reduced costs

  • increased competitiveness

  • improved brand recognition and value

  • new partnerships and relationships

  • increased turnover and improved profitability

  • promote a higher quality of life

  • regenerate the environment

Why is social innovation relevant to business?

Restoring trust in business: Businesses that are able to enhance their net positive contributions to society are more likely to earn the trust of stakeholders and secure their licence to operate in society.

Adapting to resource scarcity and environmental concerns: There is heightened pressure on companies to invest in the resilience of their supply chains and a growing business case to assess their social and environmental footprint, ensure responsible practices and “internalise” negative external impacts. Companies that pursue business models and strategies that invest in the economic prosperity of key stakeholders in their supply chain, including small producers and local communities, are better poised for long-term competitiveness. 

Attracting and retaining talent: Tomorrow’s workforce views business success differently than their parent's generation and prioritises long-term sustainability over short-term profit maximisation. 

Changing performance metrics: A growing number of investors are including social and environmental considerations in their performance metrics and investment decisions.

Search for growth and inclusion at scale: Companies that turn societal challenges, such as unemployment and lack of healthcare services, into opportunities that enhance business growth and long-term competitiveness will be positioned for sustainable success.