Tuesday, November 14th– Despite the cold and brisky weather, the atmosphere prior to the start of our 8thMBA Speaker Series inside the Coffee House at Guanghua School of Management was filled with warmth and excitement. And it was definitely worth being excited for, as we invited Professor Chris Marquis, who is a Visiting Professor of Social Innovation and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Samuel C. Johnson Professor in Global Sustainable Enterprise at Cornell University, as well as the Visiting Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Guanghua MBA, to discuss about social innovation and the impact of social businesses on the global stage.
Social innovation, according to Prof Marquis, aims to offer new, more effective, more efficient and more readily scalable solutions for a wide range of social challenges. Social innovation has been increasingly employed and implemented by not only entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and governments, but also from startup companies with social missions to innovative NGOs.
Social innovations can be classified into four categories: products, practices, people, and public. Products refer to the selling of goods and services whose value extends beyond profit; practices are the means to ensure sustainability and responsibility; people emphasizes on creating a more just and rewarding atmosphere; and public is the building of a community whose impact reaches beyond the walls of the institution.
Ultimately, the aim is not to maximize financial returns for shareholders per se, but to focus on delivering social benefits and to grow the social venture by reinvestment in order to reach and serve more people as well as to drive transformational social and/or environmental change.
Judging by the number of questions posed to Prof Marquis during, and after, the keynote presentation, social innovation and social business is definitely a topic of significant relevance today. Our fully-packed audience members were certainly eager to get the most out of what Prof Marquis has to offer on the topic, and he definitely did not disappoint. We would like to thank Prof Marquis for his brilliant insights as well as our audience members for proactively engaging in quality discussions.
Stay tuned and see you all at our next event!