Creating Social Value Blog / Corporate Social Relevance

Corporate Social Relevance in Action

At The Lewis Institute we talk about Corporate Social Responsibility differently and believe we take it one step further. We talk about Corporate Social Relevance because to us it directly leads to authentic and powerful social innovation inside companies and outside within our communities and society as a whole. To us this is more than just a shift in language, it is a different pathway for success. Corporate Social Relevance is not just about traditional models of philanthropy, or “giving back”, or even legal or social compliance. It is about a very different intention: to be relevant to every single stakeholder. Because when you are relevant to every stakeholder, you are actually more responsible. This fall, I am so pleased to announce we have a day-long conference coming to Babson showcasing business leaders championing and successfully integrating this way of thinking into their business framework.

The conference, the Global Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit (the “GEL Summit”) on September 24th, is organized by the UK-based WildHearts Group. It’s their third year of hosting the summit and the first time it is in the U.S. (Read about my experience at the 2013 conference here and here, and the 2014 conference here.) They are a truly successful business that provides a great model of moving from CSR to CSRelevance.

Not only does WildHearts provide products and services people and companies need to do their day-to-day job through their core business WildHearts Office Supplies, Print and Merchandise, they’re also using the profits to continuously provide pathways for societal improvement through social innovation. As they summarize: “In the UK and North America we stimulate entrepreneurship, deliver enterprise education and create employment opportunities for young people via our Micro-Tyco program, our Master Class events and the WildHearts Global Entrepreneurial Leaders Summit.” Put Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (“ET&A”) in the hands of people who desire to do well by doing good, you get amazing outcomes. It’s a CSRelevance program built on their belief that “Even a bad day at the office saves lives.” Corporate social innovation never looked so good.

What makes the GEL Summit so different from anything I have seen in my time attending and convening summits around CSR is that the conference in itself is Corporate Social Relevance in action. As the WildHearts group brings together a community of business leaders and innovators who see the implicit connection between social and economic value, they are amplifying the work of all of us who believe in the transformative potential of social innovation. And trust me, the energy and vision of WildHearts Founder Mick Jackson is infectious. It’s an event I look forward to each year, and can’t wait to share with the Babson community.