13
Dec

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Harvard Business Review has just published on their December issue two great articles together with an editorial and material which relates to Strategy and Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility and to Disruptive Innovation for Social Change. The first is authored by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer and the former by Clayton M. Christensen and others.
I sincerley recommend purchasing these articles or moreover, December’s issue of HBR; both CSR and social innovation are very well envisioned, together with an editorial and Michael Porter’s Mapping Social Opportunities, which helps you visualize how an organization can set a successful CSR agenda which maximizes social benefit while making business sense.
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Here’s an abstract of Strategy and Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility:
Governments, activists, and the media have become adept at holding companies to account for the social consequences of their actions. In response, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an inescapable priority for business leaders in every country. Frequently, though, CSR efforts are counterproductive, for two reasons. First, they pit business against society, when in reality the two are interdependent. Second, they pressure companies to think of corporate social responsibility in generic ways instead of in the way most appropriate to their individual strategies. The fact is, the prevailing approaches to CSR are so disconnected from strategy as to obscure many great opportunities for companies to benefit society. What a terrible waste. If corporations were to analyze their opportunities for social responsibility using the same frameworks that guide their core business choices, they would discover, as Whole Foods Market, Toyota, and Volvo have done, that CSR can be much more than a cost, a constraint, or a charitable deed—it can be a potent source of innovation and competitive advantage. In this article, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer propose a fundamentally new way to look at the relationship between business and society that does not treat corporate growth and social welfare as a zero-sum game. They introduce a framework that individual companies can use to identify the social consequences of their actions; to discover opportunities to benefit society and themselves by strengthening the competitive context in which they operate; to determine which CSR initiatives they should address; and to find the most effective ways of doing so. Perceiving social responsibility as an opportunity rather than as damage control or a PR campaign requires dramatically different thinking—a mind-set, the authors warn, that will become increasingly important to competitive success.
Purchase this article.
Here’s an abstract of Disruptive Innovation for Social Change:
Countries, organizations, and individuals around the globe spend aggressively to solve social problems, but these efforts often fail to deliver. Misdirected investment is the primary reason for that failure. Most of the money earmarked for social initiatives goes to organizations that are structured to support specific groups of recipients, often with sophisticated solutions. Such organizations rarely reach the broader populations that could be served by simpler alternatives. There is, however, an effective way to get to those underserved populations. The authors call it “catalytic innovation.” Based on Clayton Christensen’s disruptive-innovation model, catalytic innovations challenge organizational incumbents by offering simpler, good-enough solutions aimed at underserved groups. Unlike disruptive innovations, though, catalytic innovations are focused on creating social change. Catalytic innovators are defined by five distinct qualities. First, they create social change through scaling and replication. Second, they meet a need that is either overserved (that is, the existing solution is more complex than necessary for many people) or not served at all. Third, the products and services they offer are simpler and cheaper than alternatives, but recipients view them as good enough. Fourth, they bring in resources in ways that initially seem unattractive to incumbents. And fifth, they are often ignored, put down, or even discouraged by existing organizations, which don’t see the catalytic innovators’ solutions as viable. As the authors show through examples in health care, education, and economic development, both nonprofit and for-profit groups are finding ways to create catalytic innovation that drives social change.
Purchase this article.
Interested in this subject? You should also read The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy.

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