The Annual Conference is a meeting point for different stakeholders: NGOs, for and not-for-profit companies, social entrepreneurs, public administrations and scholars. The aim is to jointly reflect and debate on some of the key issues in the social innovation, CSR, social entrepreneurship and not-for-profit fields.
We examine new social innovation paradigms from numerous perspectives to determine what benefits they can provide today’s society and the opportunities they represent for organisations, in addition to meeting the constantly changing needs in their day-to-day realities.
We count on numerous nationally and internationally prestigious speakers who share their valuable personal and professional experience with us.
People from all sectors with similar or complementary social objectives take part in the Annual Conference, representing a unique opportunity to explore possible synergies and establish alliances and/or reach collaboration agreements. As the saying goes, “a bundle of sticks can’t be broken”.
All those individuals and organisations that want to improve society through social innovation.
NGOs and other not-for-profits: if you’re a member of a third-sector organisation, whether a volunteer, a member of its staff or executive body and you want to help to achieve its social objectives from different perspectives.
Traditional companies: if you work for a company that wants to include social innovation in its activity or it wants to use the power of its business to generate some type of benefit for society.
Social enterprises: if you’ve created a company whose mission is to have social impact.
Entrepreneurs: if you have good ideas that can translate into solutions to overcome social challenges.
Public administrations: if you work for a public administration and feel that social innovation is key to create alliances between the administration and citizens.
Academic: whether a researcher, faculty member or student, if you are researching or studying topics related to social innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility, social entrepreneurship and the third sector.
11th Annual Conference
Social innovation to foment the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: A focus on replicability and scalability
The focus of the 11th Annual Conference held on April 17th, 2018, on ESADE’s Barcelona campus was social innovation as a key element to address the different UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) scenarios. The various speeches and workshops explored how to further today’s global SDG movement. They also examined how companies, NGOs, public administrations and social entrepreneurs were addressing these objectives to overcome our world’s challenges through innovative and effective alliances, tools and initiatives.
How can the Sustainable Development Goals contribute to scale our own initiatives? How can organisations promote the SDGs? How does social innovation contribute to SDG fulfilment?
Though social innovation has been shown to successfully advance in terms of achieving SDGs, several questions regarding its replicability and scalability may be hindering its growth. This conference identified ways to increase our actions’ impact and how every organisation is key for our future.
What role does social innovation play in surmounting social problems? What characteristics do environments leading to social innovation share? Do today’s new technologies serve as a means to accelerate and create a sustainable future?
If we fail to change our focus on how we address social problems, innovating and responding with better solutions will be difficult. Social innovation stems from the exchange of ideas between players in different fields, including the public and private sectors, not-for-profits and entrepreneurs. The sum of all the their experience and learning will help us fulfil our objective: innovate to achieve a better social model.
The aim of the IIS’ 10th Annual Conference, with support from Fundació EY, was for national and international speakers to share their knowledge and opinions regarding the different topics addressed at this event, topics which ranged from the role new technologies play to the spaces and methodologies that favour social innovation. The ultimate aim was to further explore how organisations, companies and social enterprises have to contribute to social transformation from different perspectives.
How can social innovation help to reduce inequalities? What role does social innovation play in building inclusive societies? How can we face and overcome future challenges?
Our societies face extraordinary challenges: an increase in inequality, poverty and unemployment amongst youth, in addition to climate change and other problems. Never before has finding a new way to think been more urgent than it is today. This implies finding alternatives which lead to an in-depth social transformation and resolve today’s problems. Society demands creative and innovative solutions that ensure sustainable and inclusive growth at the global level.
These challenges are enormous, without doubt, but they also represent an opportunity to face continuous challenges in a different way, allowing social innovation to emerge. In most cases, we tend to ignore the significant social component when we talk about innovation.
On April 14th, 2016, in Barcelona during our Annual Conference, various experts shared their knowledge with us on the key social innovation trends.
“Co-innovation”, “collaboration”, “peer-to-peer” and “citizen-consumer” are ever-present concepts in this new economic and social era. Internet is full of organisations with an impact on our society, representing a new way of interacting and experimenting with collaboration models based on shared resources. This new paradigm has emerged with the economic crisis and the lack of fiscal incentives, forcing us to re-think traditional management models and seek out disruptive models to help NGOs, companies and organisations with a social impact move forward within this new paradigm.
The “ownership” concept has been displaced in favour of “collaboration”. The last edition of the Annual Conference held on February 26th, 2015, at ESADEFORUM in Barcelona served to analyse how models based on shared resources can help us be more efficient in certain situations than traditional resource-based models. Experts analysed this new paradigm from different perspectives to identify the benefits that collaborative social innovation can provide today’s society and the opportunities available for organisations with a social impact.
Numerous experts and individuals experimenting with and implementing collaborative social innovation initiatives in their organisations took part in the conference.
Organisations with social impact: Strengthening intra-entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship
The 7th Annual Conference, entitled “Organisations with social impact: Strengthening intra-entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship” was held on April 4th, 2014. It served to bring together international experts who have experimented with social intra-entrepreneurship in their organisations. The aim of the conference was to learn about the leadership processes they had adopted to challenge the status quo and achieve a better future.
Ignasi Carreras, Director of the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation, highlighted the willingness to “strengthen the impact of social enterprises, whether in the initial startup phase or already consolidated firms, as well as NGOs, socially responsible companies and public administrations so that they can become more entrepreneurial in favour of social causes.” In this sense, he explained that intra-entrepreneurship by individuals with entrepreneurial initiative is vital, favouring innovation and the search for new business models within the company itself. “We wager on the talent of these intra-entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs,” he indicated.
Pamela Hartigan, Executive Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Said Business School (University of Oxford) explained that "we have to change today’s model in which only a few become rich at the expense of everyone else and in which the planet’s resources are overexploited.” In a speech dedicated to exploring if social entrepreneurship was a transformative or a palliative movement, Hartigan underscored that “the future implies seeking out new models which combine social innovation and financial sustainability.”
Collaborating and promoting social innovation to address the financial crisis was one of the key topics at the Institute for Social Innovation’s 6th Annual Conference held at ESADE’s Barcelona campus on February 20th, 2013.
Collaboration between companies and not-for-profits has increasingly become one of the key avenues to achieve social innovation. In this edition of its Annual Conference, the IIS shared its own experiences and reflected on a wide range of structures and degrees of collaboration capable of having a social impact, both on society as well as on the participating organisations themselves. The complexity of today’s challenges demands, without doubt, a joint response which, from a social innovation perspective, implies the interaction between different players, knowledge, processes and resources.
Ignasi Carreras’ inaugural address signalled that organisations in Spain are not “excessively innovative” in most sectors: public, private and NGOs. However, he argued that one of the ways to have social impact is by adopting a collaborative focus. In addition, he ensured that the greater the number of different players, with shared objectives and compatible values, “innovation is much stronger”. Carreras shared his own personal experience and explained that we have to address the crisis by being original, being less conventional, re-thinking what we can do and not trying to repair the damage but, rather, transform it.
The conference also included speakers such as Jem Bendell, Director of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS, University of Cumbria). His speech was entitled "Unleashing abundance: Collaborative disruption for social innovation". According to Bendell, there are opportunities within crises, thus proposing a collaborative model based on the most solidarity-minded elements such as crowdfunding, housing exchange platforms such as couch-surfing and other new ways to exchange things without requiring money. “We are the wealth, not money,” he indicated, launching a positive message to encourage people to face economic problems and unleash abundance.
Another keynote speaker was Susanne Stormer, Vice President of Global Triple-Bottom-Line Management at Novo Nordisk. In her speech entitled "Changing the future health", she presented a Novo Nordisk project focused on mitigating the effects of diabetes, an example of public-private collaboration between her company and the Malaysian Ministry of Health. Stormer thus demonstrated the type of social innovation carried out from a corporate point of view and signalled the importance of being innovative to be sustainable.
Other discussions and parallel sessions throughout the conference included participation by experts in the field.
The theme of the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation’s 5th Annual Conference held in Barcelona on February 16th, 2012, was “Connecting sustainability and innovation. Promoting innovation to address social and environmental challenges”. The conference successfully brought together more than 350 participants..
The 5th Annual Conference served to jointly debate on how organisations can incorporate innovation and sustainability as part of their organisational identity and culture. Based on the conviction that this integration process can be a source of value-creation for both the organisation and society at large, conference participants debated on questions such as the role companies and NGOs should play in developing social innovation and the strategic planning tools which can help to find innovative and sustainable solutions, amongst many other issues.
Responsible leadership: Is CSR a leadership challenge?
“In times of crisis, responsible leadership is decisive, and CSR is, in particular, a leadership challenge”. With these words Ignasi Carreras, Director of ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation inaugurated the institute’s 3rd Annual Conference held in November 2009.
"Responsible leadership not only consists of maximising profits but, also, creating social and environmental value. In the global competition to find clients and talent, responsible leadership is about generating trust and building responsible relations with different stakeholders in the business community and in society."
Ignasi Carreras argued that this responsible leadership was essential to avoid repeating the types of practices which had led to the current crisis. On the one hand, the most visible side of responsible leadership implies being committed to society, with actions through NGOs, etc. But, in addition to these, responsible leaders are those that want to go even further, talking about responsibility as a different way of leading their companies. These are clearly transformative leaders.
This edition of the Annual Conference was held in Madrid and in Barcelona, on November 19th and 26th, respectively. Their structure was the same, featuring a keynote speaker and a roundtable discussion with distinguished experts in the field.