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The Practitioner's Guide: Steps to Corporate Investment, Innovation and Collaboration

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All corporations seek to differentiate themselves and look for new ways to create value. But when many traditional routes have been exhausted, how does an organisation change the way it does business?

We believe there are people within companies with the foresight, courage, ingenuity and compassion needed to step up to the challenge of creating long-term business value, while serving the needs of society and the environment.

These are no longer binary objectives. Profit and impact are no longer on opposite ends of a spectrum, requiring a trade-off of one for the other. Profit and positive outcomes are not mutually exclusive, requiring a trade-off of one for the other. This creates a virtuous cycle where more positive outcomes can lead to more value for the company, which leads to the generation of even greater positive outcomes and organisational resilience.

Building this type of resilience is not easy and requires new ways of thinking within the corporation. This can be supported and encouraged through the relationships that a corporation creates externally and through the activities it undertakes to create value for all stakeholders. Together these actions will sustain the behaviours needed to act in accordance with the new way of thinking and can form part of a wider corporate change initiative.

This guide brings together a practical set of tools for those with an ability to unlock corporate resources – human, financial, technical and social – to invest in areas where they can create the greatest value. In doing so, these resources will create a range of positive outcomes for the business and the society it serves. By leveraging financial and non-financial corporate support, innovation within corporations can better serve their core business purpose; innovative enterprises outside of corporations will have access to scalable knowledge and capacity; and more financial capital will flow into businesses and strategies that create positive outcomes.

The race to the top is wide open

Pioneering work is already underway by social investors, governments, foundations, venture philanthropists and development banks, such as IDBG/MIF, and funds of funds such as Big Society Capital. There has never been a better time for corporations to step in and learn from those already exploring and experimenting with new models of innovation and investment. And there are willing partners ready to work with you to make this happen.

The audience

This guide has been written for those individuals in businesses who are seeking a different way to operate. Whether you are in a corporate venturing unit, run a strategy department, manage a corporate sustainability or CSR team, or are interested in product & service development – we hope this guide will provide you with more fuel for your efforts. 

Last updated | 
23 May 2016