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Make Corporate Social Entrepreneurship happen!

At Outside Inc. we believe Corporate Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) is the next step to take after CSR. We have developed a CSE toolkit to build an enabling ecosystem in which your social intrapreneurs can thrive and bring new products, services, business models and initiatives forward. During the CSE Lab on May 21st, in three steps you will be challenged to put the CSE toolkit into practice for your organization. In this newsletter you will be given a sneak preview of the three main steps to move from CSR to CSE. 

 flesje-paars 1) Define your call to action
One of the first questions which is often asked is how social intrapreneurship is different from “regular entrepreneurship”. Maybe in the core it is not truly different, since it is about an entrepreneurial approach to bring solutions forward. However, since the starting point is different, (to solve a societal issue) it does not only appeal to a different driver and skillset of your “intrapreneurs”, but moreover it provides you with a new stance towards the world, your company and the market. Taking this “new” perspective as a starting point, will bring more transformational innovations forward. Allowing you to lead instead of follow and build a future proof organization which creates value on different levels. The first step in building an ecosystem in which CSE can thrive is to take an outside in approach.

What is happening in the world? Which trends and developments are relevant to my organization? Which societal challenges will impact my organization? It is about understanding the world around you and to select the most relevant issues and developments. Such challenges can be around social or environmental issues: such as mobility, energy consumption or internet access. Here it is not only about the issues which are relevant to you, but more importantly it is about the issues which your organization can support to solve. Here it is about the key resources, skills and assets of your organization: what are you good at and how can you put this to work in a better or new way? It is about your core business (not something on the side) and making use of this in an innovative way. Setting a clear mission and vision of your organization and its place in the world, is your starting point to get started with CSE. In order to make this actionable for your intrapreneurs (but also your stakeholders, suppliers, entrepreneurs from outside) the first step is to define a “Call to Action”. With a clear goal you will not only be able to engage and inspire, but moreover you will be able to unleash creativity and entrepreneurship to bring worldchanging innovations forward.

flesje-roze2) Create the right breeding ground
After you have set a clear direction for your organization, it is important to put the right things into place to create an enabling environment which sparks social intrapreneurship. How can innovation and impact driven entrepreneurship florish in your organization? When we look specifically at CSE there are four pre-conditions which are important (Kuratko et al 2012): stakeholder salience(understanding the roles and maintaining multiple relations to pro-actively create new opportunities), social pro-activeness (search for ways to be a leader with regards to relevant issues, instead of reactive responses), governance (mechanisms to assure managers strive to achieve outcomes that coincide corporate social entrepreneurship goals) and transparency (disclosure of performance on environmental, social and economic levels).

Here we see that when we look specifically at corporate social entrepreneurship a more open perspective is necessary, we cannot make a change alone and we need to engage with others in order to bring solutions forward. There is much value in taking this approach as it also creates new collaborations  and allows you to tab into new networks and target groups. Besides that, it is important to show that it is something the organization as a whole is committed to by setting clear and ambitious goals, to measure them and to be transparant about your accomplishments. This means to share what goes well, but also what doesn’t go well or has not been accomplished yet. It is crucial to learn, to share in order to reach your goals in order to engage others on this road with you. Besides these four pillars for social intrapreneurship, your basis is an entrepreneurial mindset and environment which allows for ideas and intrapreneurs to sprout. Here it is important to have (visible) top management support, create room to experiment and fail, put rewards into place and to create resource and time availability. You cannot call for action if there is no room to take action. During the CSE Lab we will support you to create an organizational blueprint to get started.

flesje-blauw3) Enable your social intrapreneurs
Once you have build an environment where business ideas and concepts can sprout, it is important that your intrapreneurs are able to bring their plans into reality. In the end, the main aim of CSE is to bring innovations forward, such as new products and services, new business models or even new ventures. Your starting point are your intrapreneurs and knowing who they are and how to activate them. In our last newsletter we already talked about the profile of social intrapreneurs. When you know who they are, allowing them to come up with new ideas and to activate them to take them forward is the next step. At Outside Inc. we have developed a process which allows to take action step by step (spark, scout, sprout, spin and scale).

During each step different activities, stage gates and milestones will guide your intrapreneurs and your organization to move forward. A strong program with supporting events and the right communication means are of great value to not only activate and engage but offer the right support to bring ideas forward. During the first phases it is all about creativity, connecting to new networks and offering inspiration to generate innovative solutions. During later stages it is about building strong teams, growing internal support and offering business development tools to bring innovations forward. Here we connect to outside entrepreneurs and challenge intrapreneurs to do early validation and customer development. It is about building a strong internal and external community who will work together to realize results. Ideas, inspiration and support might come from unexpected places within your organization. With a strong process, clear criteria and the rights tools you allow people to connect and make things happen. Building on experiences of earlier programs such as Our Oceans Challenge and recently at the Legal and General Leflab we have developed the basis of an action plan to get started with CSE in your organization. During the CSE Lab we will support you to set the basis of this action plan.

visual csr to cse

Sign up for the CSE Lab
Do you want to learn more and would you like to get started in your organization? Then join our Corporate Social Entrepreneurship Lab on May 21st (in the morning of Social Enterprise Day 2015). During the CSE Lab we will work on the three steps in three different Lab sessions. Here you will work with the CSE toolkit we have developed in cooperation with Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University, TU Delft and Cambridge University. Together with a talk of Interface (winner Social Enterprise Transformation Award 2014) you will not only gain insights in a CSE best practice, but moreover you will learn how you can take CSE forward within your company. We offer you a combination ticket for both the seminar (morning) and the Social Enterprise Day (afternoon) for €375,-. Are you ready to participate? There is only a limited amount of tickets, be sure one of them is yours. Sign up here or contact Isabelle Coppens.