Social Innovation refers to strategies, concepts or ideas that are aimed at strengthening civil society and making the world in which we live a better place for society broadly. There are many forms of social innovation with many goals. My interest is particularly in two areas of social innovation. The first is the role that corporations can play in being better citizens, showing better stewardship for their world. The second is in the practice of social entrepreneurship— that is, entrepreneurial activities aimed more so at making the world a better place than making the entrepreneur rich.
I am devoted to helping those interested in corporate citizenship and social entrepreneurship have better theories and tools with which to shape their actions. I believe that many good-hearted CEOs what like their company to be a better corporate citizen, but lack the tools for doing that. The only tools and techniques they know and are comfortable with are tools designed to help them maximize shareholder value. I believe that if we can provide them with better tools, backed by better theory, they will be empowered to help their companies become better citizens and help make our world a better place. To that end, I worked with entrepreneur Michael Lee-Chin, founder of AIC, to found the AIC Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School. I have been working hard, along with Executive Director Rod Lohin and Research Fellow Alison Kemper on advancing the theory and practice of corporate citizenship through the AIC Institute.
I also believe that social entrepreneurs have the potential to change the world in stunning ways. However, it is a relatively new concept and the field needs building. My devotion is to building the theory of social entrepreneurship and providing insights on successful methods that have the promise of providing assistance to social entrepreneurs around the world. One of the most important supporters of social entrepreneurship is Jeff Skoll whose foundation, the Skoll Foundation, invests in, connects and celebrates social entrepreneurs. As a founding board member of the Skoll Foundation, I have worked with its President and CEO Sally Osberg on creating a better definition of social entrepreneurship to help the Foundation better target its investments.