Deloitte UK Responsible Business: Social Innovation
Taking up the role of Relationship Manager for the Social Innovation Pioneers programme has been one of the most inspirational and developmental activities I have ever undertaken at Deloitte.
In this role, my goal was to support my Pioneer to go to scale. This involved working closely for a year with The Brightside Trust, a social enterprise which provides a unique e-mentoring portal to universities, businesses and other charities, helping young people achieve their full potential through education, employment and self-employment.
I am an experienced management consultant and a certified Executive Coach. Executive coaching is a facilitative one-to-one, mutually designed relationship between a professional coach and a key contributor who has a powerful position in an organisation. My skills and knowledge came together perfectly and over the course of the year, I was able to provide sustained guidance, support and challenge that allowed Brightside to put in place strategies to develop and grow their business. On reflection, I believe the role empowered me to become a Business Coach to my Pioneer.
In my view, like a consultant, a good business coach should have the acumen to diagnose specific areas for development or change in a business but added to this, they should have the strength to support that business to deliver on the solution rather than jumping in and doing it for them. As their business coach I became a trusted advisor to key individuals as well as the business as a whole and as their Relationship Manager I provided access to a unique package of structured support offered by Deloitte. It has been a real privilege to become an extended member of the Brightside team and to share their journey to success.
The Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DIIE) is an exclusive ten year partnership with the London Business School, which through its research, teaching and outreach activities, will enable our clients, people and wider society to access the latest Insights and tools needed to lead innovation within complex environments.The Deloitte Institute holds an annual programme of executive roundtable events in order to showcase the research arising from the Institute and to disseminate that research and its findings to a high level corporate audience.
An executive roundtable was held on January 30th led by Prof. Ioannis Ioannou and featuring Heather Hancock, Deloitte Managing Partner for Talent and Brand. The event was hosted by Sir Andrew Likierman and was attended by senior executives from major corporations and non-profits. In the video below, Ioannis and Heather summarise the roundtable discussion with Ioannis sharing some of his latest research on the drivers of corporate social innovation.
“In this project we explore which organizations engage in social innovation and why they do so. Social innovation refers to those product, process or business model innovations that are specifically designed to synergistically generate economic as well as environmental and social good. Social innovation is powerful because it harnesses the full power of profit-seeking businesses to invest in opportunities that tackle the world’s most acute challenges (e.g. climate change and global warming). We hope to provide a better understanding of how social and environmental issues are increasingly becoming embedded in the firms’ business models and the drivers for this trend. We also examine whether, when and how such embeddedness creates economic, social and environmental impact.” Ioannis Ioannou, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Claire Bench Claire is Head of Community Investment at Deloitte, leading the firm’s major community and volunteering initiatives including our Skills and Education programmes and our support to social enterprise.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the panel session as part of a day-long Social Impact Workshop. It was hosted by Deloitte UK and attended by many of the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers—a programme that is working with 30 socially innovative businesses, providing them with a bespoke package of Deloitte support to help them mainstream and become investment-ready.
During the session, a significant part of the discussion revolved around how social businesses can demonstrate their impact in society with rigour and consistency. Someone from the floor made the very insightful remark that (to paraphrase) 'Surely this impact measurement stuff is only going to work and have real value if all businesses measure their performances in this way, not just ‘social businesses’. Hetook the words right out of my mouth.
I am part of a DTTL team that, along with clients and partners from other industries and sectors, is trying to ‘reimagine business’ and look again at the purpose of business. Can we recalibrate the contribution that our core business activities make to global society? At its most fundamental, isn’t business, hasn’t it always been, and shouldn’t it always be about building society?
The 2010 Spending Review may seem like a distant memory, but those settlements have cast a long shadow over social enterprises that depend on grants from local authorities. Council cuts have, for the most part, been front-loaded into 2011-12 and 2012-13, so across town halls in England and Wales, tough decisions to cut funding are being taken right now. Up to £5 billion will be cut from council and agency grants to charities over the period. One particular paradox is that the cuts may affect poorer areas disproportionately. A recent ACEVO report showed how, in the 20 most deprived local authorities in England and Wales, 450 organisations have lost £142.5 million, compared with a £3.6 million cut for 22 organisations in the 20 least deprived areas.
But it isn’t all bad. The current financial pressure on services creates opportunity for social enterprises to increase their share of delivery responsibility across local public services. The big two sectors: social care and employment support – that together account for half of the social enterprise market - are about to be joined by another – health. Social enterprises which have been (or will be) spun out from the NHS are now responsible for delivering community services worth £900 million each year. A recent NAO report showed how 57 social enterprises left the NHS by the end of 2011. Most were formed in the past year to run community services after the government said these could no longer be provided by PCTs. In education also, a campaign was launched this month to encourage HE and FE institutions to spend £1 billion buying services from social enterprises. Like in other sectors, the key incentive for social enterprises doing business with HE and FE commissioners is to acquire high-value, long-term contracts to give individual organisations the confidence to attract investment and grow.
We’ve built the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers programme around showcasing social businesses and social innovations that demonstrate real potential for growth. We are then taking them on, as clients, to provide support and guidance to help them achieve scale and mainstream their businesses.
We wanted to create an approach that utilised our expertise and capabilities to really make a difference to small and medium sized businesses, “the engine room of the UK economy,” that are also tackling fundamental social and environmental issues; such as supporting offenders and the disabled back into work, helping the most disadvantaged members of society access social finance, or raising the hopes and aspirations of our young people, to name but a few. So far over 200 people from across Deloitte have been involved in selecting the Pioneers. Going forward, 90 of our most talented individuals will be responsible for managing the Pioneer relationships.
I love my job. I work for an organisation with a genuine belief in its role in contributing to a sustainable and prosperous society; one in which I am given the space to innovate, to influence the direction of our business and deliver exceptional social impact.
And yet deep down I know that really I ought not to have a job. That, in fact, the true measure of my success is to be no longer needed. Bizarre? Maybe, but think about it for a moment.
The current economic environment has made us all think again about the purpose and role of business in society. What, ultimately is business for? Done right, business is a powerful tool for social change – not just through job and wealth creation, but in driving innovation and in solving big social problems. What role does corporate responsibility play in this?