Social Innovation as a Sustainable Business Model

Last week, we held the second in the Beyond Business As Usual events, Social Innovation as a Sustainable Business Model. Hosted by HK Polytech University, roughly 220 people showed up to learn about what social innovation was and how it is rolling out through organizations large and small.

For my part, I focused on the fact that as “Business as Usual” moves from a model where profit maximization is held out to be the role of the firm, towards one were a balanced sense of profit and responsibility takes place, the opportunities for firms with a social mission at its core will see their markets grow. Along with their profits.

Key points I was looking to make:

  1. Move away from “business as usual” will open more space in the market for “good”
  2. “Good” will no longer be a moral issue, that requires a strong story to sell.  It will be an opportunity and platform for building a profitable business based on a value proposition.
  3. To participate, organizations and people will need to understand root structures of the problem faced.  Businesses cannot scale on band-aids approaches to byproducts.
  4. To succeed, value propositions of products and services must be clear to buyers.
  5. Scale will be key to the value propositions as size and scale of problems themselves grow larger

In Asia, this is a trend that is already unfolding in many parts as fractures in the traditional economy have opened up opportunities in social and environmental sectors, and it is a trend that shall only continue as government regulations grow tighter, resources grow more scarce, and consumers expect more from firms.

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