First-Movers Engage, Innovate and Co-Create with CSR 2.0
This article is contributed by Tania Ellis, author of The New Pioneers.
The transformation of the internet through new social technologies is changing the face of CSR. With Web 2.o comes CSR 2.o with new possibilities for social interaction, involvement and participation in finding innovative ways to tackle everything from individual business challenges to global problems.
Front-running companies are using the new technologies to engage stakeholders, innovate business and co-create new ideas and products in collaboration with the outside world.
Engaging stakeholders is made easy with, for example, the online ethical market place Ethical Economy, where companies get tools to live their values and build ethically significant stakeholder relations. Any company or organisation can invite friends, colleagues, suppliers or customers to give their endorsements or suggest ways to improve ethical performance.
Online innovation is the name of the game at PepsiCo’s Refresh project, Refresheverything.com, where people, businesses, and non-profits can contribute with ideas that will have a positive impact. Ideas range from health improvements, arts & culture, food & shelter to neighbourhoods, education and the planet. Everyone can vote on their favourite ideas, and the best are funded by Pepsi who gain positive branding value.
Co-creation is king at InnoCentive.com, where companies, institutions and organisations pay a participation fee to post their challenges. The challenge solvers are ordinary internet users, who sign up for free to deliver a potential solution. The challenge solvers who come up with the most innovative ideas receive financial awards ranging from 10.000 dollars to 1.000,000 dollars per solution – and it works: More than 50% of the problems posted on the site are solved!
These three examples showcase the new technological potential for practicing CSR 2.0 while building a better bottom line. A new survey from McKinsey & Co. confirms that companies intensively using the online social technologies gain greater market shares and higher margins.
Web 2.0 has blurred the once clear borders between business and society and paved the way for CSR 2.0, which is shifting focus from communication and information to dialogue and relations. And dialogue, which used to be a controlled process, is now on-going and out of corporate hands. All this is catalytic for new business innovation opportunities, problem-solving capacities and disruptive changes in the way companies act and interact socially and ethically. It calls for socially innovative as well as responsible business conduct.
Source: The New Pioneers
About Tania Ellis
Her internationally acclaimed book The New Pioneers was in 2010 listed on Cambridge’s Top 40 Sustainability Books, and has cemented her status as a global trend-spotter and thought-leader. Tania Ellis’ expertise and hands-on involvement in blending economic and social value with business strategy and innovation has made her a popular inspirational speaker and strategic advisor with clients ranging from entrepreneurial companies to large international corporate brands.