All over the world Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is looked upon as a critical sector. Organisations are increasingly realising that authentic and continued impact can be created through well-managed strategic CSR and sustainability programmes.
More and more businesses are turning to CSR to become ethical, environment-friendly and deferential to the society and communities.
Recent trends in the CSR initiatives by businesses show a shift towards innovative ways for the society’s inclusive growth.
Entrepreneur India’s exclusive interviews with two organisations boldly implementing innovation in CSR revealed the efficacy of this shift.
Vinaya Varma, CEO of mjunction, suggested that social innovation has and will always play an important role in the betterment of the society.
Founded in 2001, Mjunction Services Limited is India’s largest B2B e-commerce company and a joint venture between TATA Steel and SAIL. It has launched two flagship programmes ‘School Integration Program’ and ‘EnglishLab’ in the remote villages of West Bengal.
“Since social development is all about creating a meaningful difference to those segments of the society that are less privileged, innovation plays a bigger role. At mjunction, the employee volunteering model that we follow is a unique way of every employee giving back to society,” he added.
Consider Socio-economic Impact
Varma opined that it is critical for an entrepreneur to always consider the socio-economic impact of his strategy while planning for an innovation. “A strategy should be designed in such a way that it is able to make a difference to the company’s target sector. An innovation should focus on an organization’s present capabilities and deficiencies, which it needs to overcome,” he stated.
“It should be adaptable to change as and when required. Social innovation is all about collaboration to create value. The area of impact should be one which has a strong requirement. The number of targeted beneficiaries should be large and the solution should not be too costly,” he said.
Innovation as the Roadmap
“Social innovation deals with subjects like open-sourcing, crowd-sourcing, volunteering, micro-credit and various forms of activism. It involves people to think of something new and effective,” stated Varma.
“In a country like India where humungous work is required to make an impact in areas like women and child empowerment, climate control, water and sanitation, education, skill development and training, social innovation will most certainly play a pivotal role for overall development as it is an inclusive and organic movement,” he espoused.
For Ashish Mehta, President Sales and Marketing at Orient Bell Limited (OBL), in a growing country like India, innovation is a guide map to development. Established in the 1970s OBL is one of the largest manufacturers of ceramic and vitrified tiles as well as the first to manufacture ultra-vitrified tiles in India. To make learning more interesting, OBL has incorporated visual aids in study materials by using a series of interactive and educational school tiles.
Innovate and Upgrade to Meet Desired Impact
“Innovation constantly pushes us to compete with other developing nations and forces us to bring out the best in ourselves. We, at Orient Bell, believe in constantly innovating and upgrading ourselves to deliver the best and match up to the lifestyle of an urban Indian,” Mehta said.
“Necessity is the mother of invention. Every entrepreneur, big or small, should identify the needs of his or her end users and constantly innovate and upgrade to meet the expectations of his or her audience,” he asserted.