Social Innovation and its relationship to Sustainable Entrepreneurship
new solutions that address societal challenges in a way that is contextual, targeted, and promotes common welfare” (European Business School (EBS) 2012). The INSEAD Social Innovation Centre defines Social Innovation as the “. introduction of new business models and market based mechanisms that deliver sustainable economic, environmental and social prosperity” (INSEAD 2012). The Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business defines social innovation as, “the process of inventing, securing support for, and implementing novel solutions to social needs and problems. ” They go ahead to further define social innovation as, “A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals”.
The link between social innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship can only be solid when there is a close focus on the core business and its sole objectives. Company policies and its leadership can serve as a determining factor for social innovation. Virtually every company or business has policies and by-laws governing them. It is the role of the managerial department to adhere to those policies. Doing so helps appropriately drive the focus of the company towards a beneficial social innovation with the objective of attaining a societal goal. For instance, the provision of vaccine and cheap medicines to African countries is one of the social innovations by WHO to help combat pandemic diseases. Through such innovations, developing countries have witnessed a rise in employment translating to improvement of social status of the beneficiaries of the innovations and improved living standards of individuals working for the organization.
Those countries have also seen an evident increase in their Gross Domestic Products (GDP). Health is wealth, and yes a healthy nation is a productive nation. It is clear to note that production is a process that comprises of different players. Social innovation aids in developing of new solutions to communication barriers so as to ensure smooth and timely conveying of relevant information to consumers of such information. Today, innovations in the telecommunication and technology sectors have eased access to information and introduction of new or improvement of consumable products and services. Currently, social media as a broad based effective communication platform/tool has helped boost knowledge and skills and also made it easy to access information regardless of one’s geographical location.
Ensuring information about a product or service reaches a wider population means a possibility of future increased sales thus resulting in maximized profits. In order to widen the market, a sustainable entrepreneurs focus on marketing and networking. A manufacturing industry/company for instance would have its operational license terminated if it continues to cause environmental pollution through gaseous emissions and improper waste management. Since environmental pollution directly affects the society, there is need for such companies to embark on social innovation. Upon finding an effective solution, the company survives license termination and retains its operational status. Additionally, it would be difficult to venture in agri-business in regions with unreliable and unpredictable rainfall patterns. A sustainable entrepreneur can identify the challenge and dedicate its resources in finding a long term alternative solution.
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