The corporate social innovation conundrum: need for a paradigm shift
A fundamental change in the way the corporates approach and implement the practice of making social contributions may serve as a seed of goodness, with the potential of holistically serving the society and making their existence benign and purposeful.
The business communiqué, today, abounds with a sheer number of social contributions by organizations, centered specifically on social innovations. While it is great to see the corporates’ rising concern for the society in addition to mere profitability, somewhere we are intrigued as to how much they have been considerate about their social innovations? Are these innovations rooted to the deepest level of their culture, or are these innovations restricted to their PR (Public Relations), Finance, and BoD (Board of Directors) group?
When we excavate into the corporate world’s existing dynamics, unfortunately, we see that most corporate social innovations are restricted to the organizations’ PR and Finance departments. For the employees, they are nothing more than email circulation or a social media promotion. This leads us to the inextricable Corporate Social Innovation conundrum: Why is social innovation not penetrating as a cultural change and mandatory requirement in the corporates? Why is the feeling of social contribution not developing beyond their PR and financial activities?
Imagine we are hired by a corporate where we are awarded the freedom to deliver as per our comfort and wish instead of aligning our work deliveries to the organizational goals and strategies; Also no quantitative monitoring mechanisms (such as appraisal, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and so on), which in general case help to measure deliveries are deployed. In such a weird scenario, how much will we be focused on catering to customer satisfaction and the organizational requirements?
Of course, the result will not be so positive because we are asked to deliver what we can instead of what is required. Precisely to avoid this situation, we have been bounded with quantitative measurements of KPIs and appraisals, so that each employee, team, or department is in complete harmony with the CSF (Critical Success Factors) of the organization.
Akin to this, surprisingly, why social contributions or social innovations have not been part of the individual employee KRA (Key Result Areas) or goal setting? Why are they not measured quantitatively as part of the individual appraisal? If they are not infused into the culture of a corporation so that employees feel that social contributions are well acknowledged, evaluated and appraised, how can we expect the culture of social deliveries to expand naturally above the PR and finance activities?
Now let's assume an organization decides and declares from this fiscal year: 15% of the appraisal rating will be based on the social contributions made individually or as a group. Will the focus of each employee change from today's thinking of social deliveries or not?
A big yes! When all the employees think religiously that they need to contribute positively to society so that they can survive in that organization, the entire culture of the organization or the mental approach of each individual starts taking a paradigm shift towards social contributions. Once this practice continues for years, the habit instilled slowly to the character of each individual working for that corporation indeed becomes a natural one. This habit, whether they remain within that organization or not, will keep following them as a trait. Imagine the chain of such traits developing across the country; How big the penetration towards social welfare as a nation is going to be!
So, to ensure that social responsibility awareness, contributions, and innovations are not restricted just to a PR or financial activity of an organization, each corporation must make a paradigm shift in its approach towards these. This kaizen process will further help the nation eradicate social exclusion to a greater extent.
Let us hope the days of impactful social contributions are not so far, even though we are far away from such a day, today.