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CSIopinion: SiG Knowledge Hub on CSI

A new dimension of corporate innovation is emerging in many businesses. Corporate social innovation (also known as CSI) leverages market-based solutions to address social challenges and create business opportunity.

Addressing social issues was once seen as the domain of the social sector or government. Today, by contrast, the corporate sector is increasingly realizing that many of the challenges faced by our cities and country are also adversely impacting business, and they need to be much more actively involved in designing the solutions. There is a growing need for urgent action to address these challenges today, rather than waiting until the economic situation improves tomorrow.

Although Canada is weathering some of the challenges fairly well, the country’s natural environment, economy and society are confronting issues – including climate change, end of life care, infrastructure investment – that government and not for profit organizations alone cannot address. While the nature and scale of some of these challenges may seem overwhelming, they potentially present unique market opportunities for business to explore new areas for growth, while simultaneously addressing these social and environmental challenges.

CSI bridges business innovation and social innovation and uses market-based solutions to generate profitable business opportunity while addressing social needs and ecological imperatives. It thrives by utilizing new technology and the burgeoning opportunities of boundary-spanning social networks.