Messages from the Directors

Jasjit Singh

(India)


Associate Professor of Strategy

 

The Shell Fellow in Business and the Environment

 

Academic Director, INSEAD Social Impact Initiative

 

Co- Director, Social Entrepreneurship Programme (ISEP)

Employing Business as a Force for Good

The mandate of INSEAD Social Impact Initiative is to generate knowledge and increase awareness on how business and management tools can best serve as a means for achieving societal progress. Market-driven economic growth has raised living standards worldwide, including lifting over one billion people out of extreme poverty in recent decades. At the same time, humanity continues to grapple with critical issues like environmental degradation and a perception of rising inequality. Resolving such concerns has in the past been a task for non-profits, development agencies or governments. We strive to broaden these conversations and explore how businesses can proactively seek a positive impact and participate in coming up with solutions to these issues.

Goals related to social or environmental impact do not have to be an after-thought: they could be built into strategy formulation and implementation right from the start. For people working in a for-profit company or a social enterprise, adopting this mindset can help better align commercial and societal agenda to achieve more significant and sustainable impact. Even for people working in a non-profit, government organization or development agency, this way of thinking can bring business-like discipline and efficiency in realizing social objectives. Either way, moving beyond just good intentions to thinking rigorously about impact is necessary for us to carve out a unique path for each of us to contribute to society within the opportunities and constraints our respective contexts offer.

Business alone is not going to fix all societal problems, and is best seen as a complement to other sectors. Emerging hybrid organizational forms – such as different kinds of social enterprises - have a particularly critical role to play in bridging the conversations between doing well and doing good. These are exciting times, with new areas like “impact-driven business”, “impact investing” and “impact evaluation” placing social impact at the center of conversations about what business ought to strive towards in overcoming challenges capitalism is struggling with. We are making progress towards a new global ecosystem where individuals and organizations would find it easier to blend their financial and social goals. It is important for all of us to break silos and engage in collaboration to actively define a new form of capitalism we will be proud to leave behind for future generations.

Hans Wahl

(America/Austria)

 

Senior Associate Director, INSEAD Social Impact Initiative

 

Co-Director, Social Entrepreneurship Programme (ISEP)


INSEAD and Social Entrepreneurship

Behind this web site is a thriving network creating dynamic change in communities around the world, a rich leading-edge educational programme and an expanding body of research. This site is designed to provide access to those resources, link those involved to each other and inspire innovation as challenges ideas and solutions are shared across this platform. This past year, the programme’s flagship executive education programmes, ISEP, has completed its fourth very successful, year. Now with programmes in both Fontainebleau and Singapore, participants from 36 countries and network members in nearly 50 on five continents, it has truly become a global in its reach.

The programme continues to draw some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs for an intensive week designed to deliver high-level business management and strategy tools. The alumni of years programmes have established a vibrant community which carries on the collaboration that started when they participated at ISEP.

ISEP itself is complemented by a variety of courses, research, and alumni initiatives that reflect INSEAD’s commitment to social entrepreneurship as a powerful tool addressing the compelling social needs that face our communities and the world today. An innovative “International Development Field Project” elective for INSEAD’s MBAs brings the high-level business skills of our students with the real-world business challenges faced by our social entrepreneurs. Custom programmes are being developed with partner organisations, including several venture philanthropy firms to bring the growing body of research and analytical tools to practitioners both in Europe and around the world.

It is also housed within INSEAD’s Social Innovation Centre that serves as a home for work on critical issues including health, ethics, humanitarian assistance, sustainable business practices, ethics and corporate social responsibility, the environment and a targeted initiative on Africa.

This website will continue to serve as a platform to present the work of INSEAD, our alumni, and our partners. Over the coming weeks and months, new features and content will be added that will allow for greater interaction, exchange and collaboration. Meanwhile, we look forward to your comments, your ideas and your suggestions to make this a more effective vehicle for promoting social entrepreneurship.