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Entries in Social Business (19)

Wednesday
Aug312016

Responsible Business Forum -- Watch the Videos

A wide selection of videos from the event are now available for viewing on our Events page. Enjoy them and join the conversation.

-- Bruno Roche

Thursday
Jun302016

Business-NGO partnerships and a call for a more systemic approach

Darian Stibbe, executive director of The Partnering Initiative, says the NGO-business collaborative model has already progressed from the transactional (fee-for-service) to the transformational. Using the example of drug maker GSK and the NGO Save the Children to illustrate the latter model, Stibbe notes that the partners combine capabilities, resources and influence over the long-term to increase value. However, he adds a transformational approach is limited in that scaling requires greater financial inputs, which may not be sustainable from a donor's point-of-view.

In a recent article for Business Fights Poverty, Stibbe contends a more systemic approach can increase the reach of business-NGO collaborations. In this model, the partners integrate with the governmental sectors that offer relevant infrastructure and local expertise (bearing in mind the introduction of more partners inevitably leads to greater complexity of the model, sometimes creating issues surrounding the process and accountability).

To avoid getting bogged down, Stibbe recommends collaborators choose soft ties (i.e., ongoing communication, sharing current and future activities and plans, exchanging knowledge and experience), which encourage organic, integrative activity, over hard ties (i.e., formal MoUs, clearly defined partnerships with specific goals). We're interested to know what you think about how partnerships can be most effective -- please share your thoughts!

-- Catalysts

Monday
Jun132016

Microsoft, social enterprise and last-mile innovation

Microsoft is providing seed capital for 12 social enterprises through its Affordable Access Initiative, a program that aims to leverage last-mile innovation in emerging markets.

According to initiative's director, Paul Garnett, the idea is to support low-cost, practical, high-impact, and scalable approaches by empowering local entrepreneurs with funding and access to peer resources. They're designed to increase connectivity for the 60% of humanity who are outside the digital loop. According to Garnett, local entrepreneurs not only understand local needs, they have the expertise to create new technologies and business models to meet market conditions.

Video source: Microsoft

-- Catalysts

Friday
Jun032016

Measuring economic, social and environmental impact 

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global organization consisting of members that support small and growing businesses (SGB) in emerging economies.

A central element of ANDE's work involves promoting the measurement of the impact that these businesses have across multiple dimensions -- economic, social and environmental -- and it has developed it's own core set of metrics to track the development of the SGB sector. ANDE also recommends that its members adopt IRIS, a catalog of social, environmental, and financial performance metrics for impact investors from the Global Impact Investing Network.

We are interested in ANDE's efforts to foster common, transparent measurement definitions, and share its belief that these can improve not just credibility but overall business performance as well. For a closer look at how ANDE and its partners are using metrics to support value creation, I encourage you to read this SSIR article that postulates:

"For metrics and evaluations to create value for us, individually and collectively, we must do two things:

  1. Integrate impact metrics with financial and operational ones. Integrated metrics can help organizations develop better products and services, improve resource allocation, and build more efficient and impactful businesses.
  2. Implement targeted, actionable evaluations that are useful to multiple stakeholders and fit with collective learning agendas. Such evaluations will build on existing knowledge; break down big questions into manageable, answerable pieces; and put the answers back together to inform strategic decision-making for enterprises and the sector at large."

Image source: ANDE

-- Clara Shen

Thursday
Jun022016

Responsible Business Forum -- Presentations and Case Studies

The forum we recently hosted with Oxford's Said Business School started with the question, "Can a company do well by doing good?" We were driven to approach this with discipline and real world data, supplemented by the experience and viewpoints of executives with responsibility for profit and sustainable performance.

We are pleased to make the case studies and presentations from that forum available, and hope this information can inspire new ideas and business models.

The Forum was based on a series of cases that describe specific examples of the ways in which companies have attempted to adopt responsible approaches to business. Responsible companies in this context satisfy two criteria: (a) they expound explicit purposes or values that reflect objectives beyond pure financial performance, and (b) they demonstrate a serious commitment to implementing them through their ownership, governance, leadership, and management practices. These cases were presented in three sessions:

 

 

 

  1. Driving purpose from the top down. In this session companies pursue value-driven work via a mandate from leadership, integrating social practices through the business from the top down.
  2. Purposeful finance. In this session the featured case studies are focused on building the business through increasing financial inclusivity and access to banking. The session also looks at ethical investing and how to use investment to improve the lives of those living in poverty.
  3. Driving purpose from the bottom up. The case studies in this session are experimenting with innovative social programmes via business piloting, feeding information back into the main business to influence change from the bottom up.

Images source: Said Business School

-- Catalysts