In the news this week: Growing and squashing innovations
New idea: Fund or flush?
This week, some of our favorite blogs discussed how to successfully fund or flush innovations.
From Ashoka, learn about Social Return on Investments (SROI) in 30 seconds. Like any rigorous evaluation, SROI objectives should be forecasted in a project's planning stage, rather than retrospectively evaluated. This way, organizations create goals that are focused on outcomes and ensure data collection happens along with implementation to measure progress toward set outcomes. (Thanks to Beyond Profit for directing us to this guide, and the anti-CSR article mentioned below).
Matt Bannick, a strategist at Omidyar, believes there are certain innovations suitable for grants (developing vaccines) while other interventions leverage markets and are more suitable for investment by for-profit enterprises. To this concept we might specify grants to develop vaccines for developing world market use. For profit enterprises have built-in incentives to deliver value and quality for the investment. The combination of both can be quite powerful.
Robert Sutton, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog, points to the innovation funnel, challenging successful corporate leaders to kill good ideas as well as bad. This way the surviving ideas can be fleshed out and given adequate resources.
Aneel Karnani argues against traditional concepts of corporate social responsibility in the Wall Street Journal, writing that companies need to align social good with profits so that boosting proceeds will "end up increasing social welfare."