Part 1 of our new series with CSR Europe. Stay tuned!
By Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe
Last month, CSR Europe hosted its first ever Enterprise 2020 Conference in Brussels. The theme of the conference, ‘Social innovation: a lever for growth and sustainability,’ aimed to get companies thinking about how to develop new and more effective products and services that can contribute to solving societal problems.
To get our participants thinking, we invited a social entrepreneur to challenge everyone's mindsets on how social innovation can drive change and how to scale the impact.
Sue Riddlestone, Executive Director and Co-founder of BioRegional – a social enterprise which initiates and delivers practical sustainability solutions through partnerships around the world – is a pioneer in the social innovation sector and started her campaign well before today’s leading companies even started talking about sustainability.
From the very beginning, Riddlestone knew she had an uphill struggle ahead of her but a stubborn belief that it’s possible to make a difference helped her keep moving. Today, BioRegional is a successful company with global activities and provides much-needed encouragement for others who share her passion.
But Riddlestone cannot be an outlier.
I am convinced that in your own companies, you will find people who share her passion and creativity. These employees should not be overlooked – in fact, those who further away from the subject often have the best ideas and are better able to confront existing approaches and mindsets. Use their untapped creativity and innovation to leverage existing infrastructure and capabilities to deliver shared value. Know that if your organization does not provide room for intrapreneurship, this group of will quickly become disenchanted and walk away.
My advice: include corporate social entrepreneurship at the heart of your employee CSR engagement strategy. By doing so, you will create the right environment for innovative thinkers to come up with ideas that challenge the conventional attitudes and processes. Enabling such an environment will eventually lead to higher levels of innovation, productivity, financial reward and value for society at large.
So, have a think… how entrepreneurial is your company? Do you give your employees an opportunity to be creative?
Don’t waste an opportunity for growth by stifling your corporate social entrepreneur!
Follow me on twitter @Stefancrets. And join us for our Enterprise 2020 webinar on how to engage employees in your CSR activities on June 22, 2012.