On 16th February, ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation hosted its 5th Annual Conference – without a doubt, an event of the utmost importance. The conference brought together hundreds of internationally recognised innovation experts to discuss how innovation and sustainability can be promoted in companies and organisations in order to address social and environmental challenges.
Consumers, interest groups and society at large are increasingly calling upon organisations for help in addressing social and environmental problems. As more and more companies and organisations have become aware of this, they are looking to CSR as a tool for reputation enhancement. The experts who spoke at the conference agreed that investment in innovation and social responsibility policies should not be seen as a cost but rather as a profitable investment in competitive differentiation. According to the experts, companies that promote sustainability and are not afraid to innovate will have greater chances of success in the 21st century. This is an encouraging thought, because it implies that being sustainable is not a purely altruistic act, but instead one that can become a key driver of growth to develop strategic business competencies.
As Ignasi Carreras observed at the conference: “If you do not take risks, you will never be innovative.” Companies, organisations and new entrepreneurs must learn to reinvent themselves. Our society needs more innovative leaders and pioneering initiatives capable of combining efficiency with a response to social and environmental challenges. If, as the experts said, sustainability is profitable, then this incentive could certainly drive change in order to build a fairer and more balanced world.
Events such as the Annual Conference of ESADE’s Institute for Social Innovation are highly important to society, because they shape the debate surrounding innovation – a key factor in ending the economic crisis and achieving sustainability, and a key driver to improve society and build a better world. Such events are also important because they promote inspirational ideas from theoretical as well as practical standpoints. What’s more, they help ESADE to fulfil its mission: inspiring and educating individuals and organisations to promote innovative, socially responsible forms of leadership in order to build a better future.