Doing good is fast becoming a strategic imperative for forward-thinking ambitious businesses.
For years, there have been stories in the media, questioning the values and ethics of businesses. CEO’s are being held to account for their actions, brand values are being tested and social impact is fast becoming an item of serious debate.
But are business, and corporates in particular, ready to receive the emerging benefits of bringing social impact into the heart of their business?
This was a key question on Friday 6th June 2014, when we held our 3rd Annual CSR Summit at Aston Business School, UK. Our theme was Social Innovation, looking at how businesses can use social impact as a disruptive tool for commercial growth and corporate venturing with small SME’s with niche capabilities.
From CEO’s to charities to social enterprises to public sector organisations to big businesses, the mix provoked healthy debate and the sharing of insight and experiences. Cultiv8 launched its preliminary Social Value Report which highlighted the first phase of research in conjunction with the CCEG, into we convert Social Impact into tangible financial metrics in £millions for companies – it was interesting to see the faces in the audiences, when we explained that disruptive innovation allows us to measure a companies social impact in £millions, without needing the companies permission AND its legal!
I would have loved to have seen MORE corporates there. We had a few but it got me thinking – are corporates REALLY AWARE of the opportunity that social impact provides them, their stakeholders and the future of their business?
Here are three key benefits that I believe are so often overlooked:
– Social connectivity can identify leadership potential: Social connectivity is about connecting hearts and minds together, which is an invaluable skill that corporate leaders need to have. Leading people is hard at the best of times, but connecting with others through a genuine appreciation of their values and their own external perspective, empowers that individual to embrace challenges more readily, therefore increasing productivity and, more importantly, sourcing positive solutions because they know you care about THEM.
– Niche businesses can fill the gaps that are leaking money from the business: System failure is often masked by ‘corporate arrogance’ and that arrogance, often results in missed opportunities. If more corporates were willing to embrace smaller companies who have the access, networks and niche experience on the ground, then many corporates could reserve the funds and resources that use to fix ‘burst pipes’ caused by old traditional and hierarchical thinking.
– The numbers tell you the story, if you believe the numbers make sense: Social impact is often regarded as the ‘kum-ba-yah’ of business; the warm and fluffy feeling that oozes through the company; the icing on the proverbial cake at the end of the financial year!
But if the numbers created by social impact are looked at through commercial eyes, how would that change the focus of the business? I believe so!
This is why we license software that gives companies their own Social Earnings Ratio score. Our software allows your company to:
- Measure and report your companies’ social impact in £’s figures
- Measure your social impact as a % of your companies’ overall net worth
- Benchmark your company against your competitors and across private, public and third sectors seamlessly
I think ambitious businesses need to think long and hard about what ‘being social responsible’ means to them – in their defence, many have been and are doing wonderful things for the good of society. But the time has come, for there to be a more commercial and strategic approach for investing into social impact.
If a company can articulate what social impact means to their bottom-line, then maybe they will decide to invest even more to meet growing social needs – would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Till the next time, J
Joel Blake AGP is the Founder of Cultiv8 Solutions – learn more about him here.
Cultiv8 Solutions is an award-winning social impact consultancy based in the Colmore Business District, Birmingham UK.
They believe that Banking and Finance companies (or any corporate) have the greatest opportunity to create impact for their shareholders. But more importantly, for their communities.
They help these companies convert doing good, into a tool for growth and meeting social needs sustainably.
To learn more about how they can help your company:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org