Sustainable Innovation through the lenses of Large Corporations partnerships with Social Entrepreneurs

Проект: исполнение гранта/договораисполнение гранта/договора в целом

Сведения о проекте


Social entrepreneurship, as part of the wider field of Corporate Social Responsibility can be defined broadly to include the use of market principles and economic value thinking to social problems (Driver, 2012, pp423). Social entrepreneurship has a continuum of definitions (Peredo & McLean, 2006). Some define it more as limited to the not-for-profit sector, NGOs for example, using entrepreneurial models, and others define it at the other end of the spectrum as businesses doing philanthropy and CSR. Then there are definitions in the middle that say it is really both economic and social value creation (Driver, 2012, pp425)

We consider Social entrepreneurship, especially in emerging markets, as the most challenging form of entrepreneurship. It is deemed that the ability to be a social entrepreneur in emerging markets allows you to prepare to be an entrepreneur in any other context. The challenges of setting up a social enterprise, develop it in financially viable manner within emerging market complexities makes it a herculean feat. Overcoming these challenges is in itself an innovation process requiring the creation of a new business model. For this reason, social entrepreneurship is directly connected with sustainable innovation. However, sustainability is not only connected with the green and ethical perspective but also with the financial perspective in the long run. Delivering societal value and not aiming to profitability can heavily compromise the longevity of any social entrepreneurship project. At the same time, if there is a clear aim on profitability it is not regarded as a social project.

Looking deeper in the element of innovation, this term is often distinguished from an invention by the additional condition of successful market introduction, the actual way through which firms succeed in bringing an invention to the market is relatively unexplored (e.g., Teece, 2006; Chesbrough, 2007a). While this issue is gaining increasing attention in the “mainstream” literature (Baden-Fuller et al., 2010), it is still underexplored in the field of sustainable innovation (Charter et al., 2008; Schaltegger et al., 2012; Tukker and Tischner, 2006; Wells, 2008). The literature on sustainable innovation and identifies three relevant levels of analysis: the organizational, interorganizational and societal level. In this study we will adopt all three levels since we will look into sustainable innovation both from SEs and LCs, though their partnerships lenses and its social impact. We deem it important to investigate the nature and impact of these dimensions since they are directly connected to the future, circular and sustainable economy.

We should build our understanding of social entrepreneurship on this strong tradition of entrepreneurship theory and research. Social entrepreneurs are one species in the genus entrepreneur. They are entrepreneurs with a social mission. However, because of this mission, they face some distinctive challenges and any definition ought to reflect this. For social entrepreneurs, the social mission is
explicit and central. This obviously affects how social entrepreneurs perceive and assess opportunities (Dees, 2001).

Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by:
• Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value),
• Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,
• Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning,
• Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and
• Exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created.

On another perspective LCs have been aiming for profit as has been defined by Milton Friedman. To simply maximize profits. However, his approach has been heavily distorted the past 20 years due to a turn of interests towards more ethical business practices towards society and nature. A new economy is rising aiming towards a more respectful treatment to nature and societies in return for a more sustainable future. Global citizenship of diversity, respect, and inclusivity along with the green and circular economy are in the core of the agendas of top corporations and governments. Still the paradigm has not been shifted yet and many pundits and scientists are joining their voices towards a radical change.

We believe that partnering of SE with LCs is spearheading this change. It is acting both as a beacon and a catalyst by proving that societal and financial value can harmonize and coexist in a sustainable and innovative perspective. However, this is still an under-investigated area where dearth of data overshadows its potential. Shedding fresh light in these partnerships and mutual benefits of connecting SEs and LCs can lead the transformation of our businesses and economies (Geissdoerfer et al., 2016).

The core value of the particular investigation is based also on its interdisciplinary and cross-industry nature. We connect the fields of social entrepreneurship/sustainable innovation with strategic management and core competences. The goal is not only to identify and record the processes and challenges of sustainable innovation but also aim to design a framework of strategic advice and business capabilities that create and develop it, i.e. aim to formulate an sustainable business model of innovation that balances societal and monetary value (Yang et al., 2016).

Realization of the tasks is possible due to the availability of scientific research and recognition of professional experience in the field of the project obtained by project participants, as well as to the availability of primary data sources. The research methodological base includes methods of scientific generalization, system analysis, problem-oriented analysis, classification methods, case analysis method. The theoretical basis of the study is the stakeholder theory, institutional theory, strategic management theory, CSR and innovation as well as agency theory.

In specific our research aims are:

1. Explore the different forms of partnerships
2. Identify the mutual benefits a) How SE overcome institutional barriers to scale up and b) How LC innovate/change their business model into Strategic SCR /Sustainable business that can be profitable at the same time.
3. Identify the strategic capabilities/core competencies needed to develop a sustainable business model for LCs.
4. Identify the strategic capabilities/core competencies for SEs in developing both societal and financial value in attracting partnerships.
5. Develop a new definition of sustainable business innovation model that balances both the SE and LCs perspective, thus allowing for more partnerships and space for synergies.
6. Develop a process/advice for key stakeholders on creating an circular ecosystem of partnerships between SEs and LCs.
Короткий заголовокSustainability
СтатусНе запущено
Действительная дата начала/окончания15/06/211/06/22

Ключевые слова

  • Sustainable innovations, Social entrepreneurship, Large corporations, sustainability, partnerships, strategic capabilities, sustainable business model