Social thinking in the core business? Create the passion first, the rest will follow!

It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone
Change starts with our thoughts 

Innovation and change need people who think differently. 

Including social thinking in the daily Business? Social and business approaches in one rush, in a co-creative way?

What do business managers and CSR managers say, when you ask them about to think social in business/ think business in social?

It’s not a scientific research, but let me share some answers I collected in the past months:
That’s what business people told me

  • Difficult to realize. These are two different worlds
  • Innovation is mostly a technical, not a social driven task

Business and Csr are two separated parts of an enterprise. 

There are no real projects for combining business and social activities on the general core business agenda.

 Interesting, the social entrepreneurial approach, great ideas what social enterprises do – but not mainstream yet. And how to combine it with the business requirements in a huge company?

Social thinking in business? KPIs and measurements that are not always tangible? Well, that’s not strong enough for business as the processes, requirements and activities do not support such kind of doing.

These replies are a few and valid statements by business managers I met in the past. No doubt, there are “gaps when it comes to social thinking within business”, too many soft factors that do not seem to fit – social and business thinking have been separated for many years. Businesses have participated by giving donations. And caring about environmental issues. But now integrating social thinking, too? How? And why? Where is the ROI? And so far social workers tried to solve problems of human needs, why to change it?

The world problems are growing

Well, if we just have a look at the world outside we have to accept that neither all social engagements nor the traditional business of the past fifty years have really be able to solve the big problems of the world. Hard to accept – but those really important issues have become even worse: poverty, migrations, gender issues, climate, environment, food, water issues, wars…

With the concept of recombining the two worlds and to make social entrepreneurial/intrepreneurial thinking a part of the business world a real innovation is on its way – and the hope to make the world a little better: together.

But how?

Social and entrepreneurial thinking have been seen always as two different, even contradictory things.

How to overcone traditional business thinking, proved assumptions and processes that define business success? In the universities a first generation of students only is confronted with social entrepreneurship. There are not many classical business books explaining how it could work. The number of examples how some big companies run and integrate  social entrepreneurial thinking in the core business successfully is still low, very low. Some insighters know a little more. That’s it.

And: business people have not many opportunities to experience social environments and to develop ideas on how to start. Social entrepreneurship- it is simply to far away.

Social entrepreneurship needs crazy business people and passion first

So, social entrepreneurial thinking means a real disruptive innovation. Front runners are needed, risk takers, crazy people who believe in it, take the initiative, simply start by doing.

But there is hope. Because all big innovators started often with crazy ideas – in a garage, and against all odds (if they had listened to the market trends). But they simply ignored and continued to explore what they had in mind. Or better: they followed a passion and a personal willingness to go a way that did not exist yet. Across all borders, and simply starting by doing.

So what?

Social entrepreneurial thinking and doing  in a classical business environment need most of all passion, and secondly people from the business who believe in it and are strong enough to overcome a lot challenges. Networkers, risk takers, explorers. And people who look for a purpose of what they do.

I had some good experiences this year how to start a rethinking process within business. A small experience, I admit. Still at a very early stage. But it worked. And it worked much more than any poster campaign or one time meeting between a business man/woman and a social entrepreneur. It happened all during a one week travel to India. With managers to rural and tribal areas. The success factors?

1. Tangibility

Business people need an opportunity to get into touch with the social world. For years they have lived in their business world only. They need an opportunity to go  Out of the comfort zone, and some time to see and feel a different environment.  Passion does not take its energy from books or theoretical teaching. It’s all about an emotional buy-in first.

2. Avoid idea killers

We need to see where the traditional idea killers are. And to avoid them actively. Why accepting that things that have been always done like that are not changeable?

Why are things too expensive, not business like enough, do not work because there is no clear KOI or market for it?

Just because these killers are cited often, they are not always true.

3. Simply start doing it.

Start small, think big. Bring your business know how with you. But don’t follow it because that’s the way how to do. You need to to things differently, if the outcome should be a different one. A cocreative competition among the managers to solve a social issue can lead to incredible results.

If you want do know more about the Indian experience, check this post and/or feel free to contact.

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