As part of Business Fights Poverty’s continued focus on what it takes to scale corporate social innovation, we recently brought together over 150 intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, business experts and policy makers to explore what the future of business could look like if corporate employees were fully enabled to align profits with purpose.
The event took place on 10th April, the opening day of Skoll World Forum 2018, in Oxford UK and was hosted in partnership with the League of Intrapreneurs, and with the support of Barclays, Cemex and Pearson.
In our first session, Business Fights Poverty’s Zahid Torres-Rahman and The League of Intrapreneurs’ Maggie De Pree welcomed intrapreneur, turned author, Gib Bulloch, B Lab founder, Andrew Kassoy.
The session explore why businesses should innovate to deliver social and commercial value.
Maggie De Pree opened proceedings with a challenge, which was laid down by Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner: what if we create the social equivalent of science fiction; If we make the solutions follow the vision? Star Trek has inspired technological reality, so what reality could social fiction create?
Arguably, social intrapreneurs are already stepping up – imagining the solutions to societal problems that can be solved through their corporate businesses. But as Andrew Kassoy explained, only a short time ago, for a business to be diverting even a small portion of its resources to deliver societal impact was against the law in certain US states.
Systemic shifts to make business purposeful and impact focused are happening. There are now over 70,000 companies using B Corps’ impact assessment tool. However, explained Andrew, many of these users are not the C-suite leaders, but change makers from deep within businesses.
Gib agreed, ‘I don’t see this vision coming top down, by people who have already done well by maintaining the existing status quo, but instead from people who want that change to be delivered through their day jobs – bottom up.’
Watch the video above, and learn more about our Challenge on Corporate Social Innovation Systems here.
The second session brought together intrapreneur programme leaders: Emily Fry of Barclays; Caitlin Bristol of Johnson & Johnson and Teodora Berkova of Pearson to discuss the topic of corporate social innovation. Click here to watch the video.
The face-to-face event was followed by an open online discussion on the same topic.
“Intrapreneurs are prototyping the future of business. They are high impact employees finding ways to align profits with purpose. And, just like entrepreneurs, they need enabling environments to thrive. I’d encourage every leader in a company to ask: How am I creating a safe space for my employees to explore, generate ideas, collaborate and experiment with new approaches?”
Maggie De Pree, Co-founder, League of Intrapreneurs.