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Investing in Social Innovation - Nelson & Jenkins

Investing in Social Innovation - Nelson & Jenkins

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05/05/2012

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 Jane Nelson
 Senior Fellow and Director, CSR InitiativeJohn F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
 Beth Jenkins
Senior ConsultantBooz Allen HamiltonMarch 2006
 
Working Paper No. 20
 
A Working Paper of the:
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
A Cooperative Project among:
The Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and GovernmentThe Center for Public LeadershipThe Hauser Center for Nonprofit OrganizationsThe Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy
Investing in Social Innovation
Harnessing the Potential of Partnership BetweenCorporations and Social Entrepreneurs
 
Citation
This paper may be cited as: Nelson, Jane and Beth Jenkins. 2006. “Investing in SocialInnovation: Harnessing the Potential of Partnership between Corporations and SocialEntrepreneurs.” Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Working Paper No. 20.Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.Comments may be directed to the authors.
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative
The Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government is amulti-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder program that seeks to study and enhance thepublic role of the private enterprise. It explores the intersection of corporateresponsibility, corporate governance and strategy, public policy, and the media. Itbridges theory and practice, builds leadership skills, and supports constructive dialogueand collaboration among different sectors. It was founded in 2004 with the support of Walter H. Shorenstein, Chevron Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company, and GeneralMotors.The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not imply endorsementby the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, or Harvard University.
For Further Information
Further information on the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative can be obtainedfrom the Program Coordinator, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government,John F. Kennedy School of Government, 79 JKF Street, Cambridge, MA 02138,telephone (617) 495-1446, telefax (617) 496-0063, email CSRI@ksg.harvard.edu.The homepage for the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative can be found at:http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg/csri/home.htm
 
INVESTING IN SOCIAL INNOVATION:
Harnessing the potential for partnership between corporations andsocial entrepreneurs
Jane Nelson and Beth Jenkins
One of the key leadership challenges of our time is to find new ways to harness theinnovation, technology, networks and problem-solving skills of the private sector, in partnership with others, to support international development goals. And to do so in amanner that makes sound business sense, and does not replace or undermine the role of government. Business leaders have a growing interest, both in terms of risk management and harnessing new opportunities, to get engaged.
Partnering for Success: Business perspectives on multi-stakeholder partnerships”The World Economic Forum, the International Business Leaders Forum, and the CSR Initiative,Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, January 2005.
1
 1. INTRODUCTION
The growth in corporate responsibility and social entrepreneurship represents two of themost exciting social trends of the past decade. Around the world there is increasedawareness of the potential to harness the core competencies, assets and resources of corporations in helping to find new solutions to complex social and environmentalproblems. At the same time, there has been a dramatic growth in awareness of, and supportfor the crucial leadership role played by social entrepreneurs – individuals who applyinnovative, entrepreneurial, performance-driven, and scalable approaches to solving societalproblems, and who often act as bridge-builders between different sectors, communities,institutions and/or cultures.Yet, with a few notable exceptions, relatively little analysis has been done on the linkagesbetween these two trends and between the corporate leaders and social entrepreneurs thatdrive them. This is especially the case in developing countries where there are bothenormous development needs and great opportunities for increasing engagement betweencorporations and social entrepreneurs.This chapter looks at some of the innovative alliances that already exist in both developedand developing countries. It suggests a conceptual framework for thinking about thedifferent ways through which companies can support social entrepreneurship focusing on:a company’s core business operations in the workplace, marketplace and along the valuechain; its social investment and strategic philanthropy activities; and its engagement inpublic policy dialogue, advocacy and institution building. The chapter outlines the‘business case’ for how such alliances can help companies meet their business goals andsupport their corporate values. And it offers a set of recommendations for business1

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