Innovating for Social Good

innovating-for-social-goodMany employees desire purpose in their work beyond earning a paycheck. And many businesses want to make a difference as well. When you innovate for social good, you not only create an external impact, but you help your employees fulfill their desire for meaningful work.

What is Social Good?

Social good is defined as “a good or service that affects the largest number of people in the largest possible way.” When companies focus only on shareholders, they affect a small number of people relative to society. Consequently, this type of company is not necessarily engaged in doing social good. However, by shifting the focus beyond shareholders and profitability, your company can have an impact that extends beyond the walls of your organization.

There are many ways that your company can create social good. Helping provide clean water, building schools, or helping to create clean air in large regions are just a few examples. Social good goes beyond just raising money. It’s about having a social impact that enhances people’s lives in a real way.

Standard Bank’s Water4Africa Challenge is a great example of crowdsourcing for social good. They received hundreds of entries during the challenge and selected winners that met their six criteria.

How Does Social Good Relate to Social Responsibility?

Social responsibility is closely related to social good, but they are not the same thing. Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance, making a profit with activities that benefit society. For example, having a program where you encourage employees to volunteer is a way to practice social responsibility, but it’s not the same as creating social good as part of your company’s operation.

However, there are places where social responsibility and social good overlap. Organizations that have giveback programs that help humanitarian agencies generate social good are an example of how they overlap. A company that commits itself to “running green” to help the environment, and encourages others within the industry to follow suit, is doing so as well.

Innovating For Social Good with Crowdsourcing

If you’re looking for the best way for your company to participate in producing social good, what better process is there than asking society at large? Crowdsourcing allows you to ask your community – or even the global society – to suggest innovative ideas that your company could implement to affect a large number of people in the best, and largest possible way.

Crowdsourcing requires some planning. Here are some important tips to make crowdsourcing work for your organization:

  • Use the Right Technology. Having a system that allows you one single place to gather ideas, evaluate them, and determine how best to execute them is vital. IdeaScale is one platform that gives you that capability.
  • Pick the Right Rewards. People love to compete and win. To encourage contributions, pick rewards that appeal to your crowdsourcing base. This doesn’t have to be monetary. It could be an impactful donation to an organization of their choice, for instance. In IdeaBuzz, participants get rewarded with donations to their favorite charity in exchange for participating.
  • Follow Up With Action. Nothing is more frustrating to a group excited about making a difference than to see no action taken on great ideas. If you do this, you’ll hurt morale both within your organization and within your idea community. Be prepared to implement!

Mobilizing the Masses

If you want to make a big impact on the world, you often need a large group of people to do it. Don’t limit the ideas to your own leadership or staff.  Instead, look to the community around you, and the community around the world for ideas on innovating for social good.

Take some time to think of ways your organization can help make a big difference to a large number of people. To discover how others are innovating for social good, download the DREAMS Innovation Challenge case study today.

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