Research

Business as Unusual: expanding the ‘business as usual’ mindset to transform corporations with purpose.

What our
partners say

“Social business is an incredible breath of innovation. We find new ways to produce our product. We look at the company from a society standpoint – inside out and include the idea of social value creation in strategic planning.”

Emmanuel Faber, Former CEO, Danone

“Social business is an incredible breath of innovation. We find new ways to produce our product. We look at the company from a society standpoint – inside out and include the idea of social value creation in strategic planning.”

Emmanuel Faber, Former CEO, Danone

“Social business is an incredible breath of innovation. We find new ways to produce our product. We look at the company from a society standpoint – inside out and include the idea of social value creation in strategic planning.”

Steve Cruz, Former CEO, Slicksites

There is a momentous shift happening right now.

Businesses are under increasing scrutiny from their employees, their customers and governments to help solve the global challenges we face in the world.

Limiting the harm a business causes to our planet and society is no longer enough -  real transformation means creating positive social and environmental value for society.

How does a company transform for purpose?

At Yunus Social Business, we focus on the ‘S’ of the ESG triangle, social businesses that solve pressing human challenges. Our research looks at how companies can transform to purpose-led organisations through practical experiences, case studies and tools.

Through social intrapreneurship, growing social businesses and initiatives from within the company, social procurement, partnering with and integrating social enterprises into their supply chains, or whether change comes from the top-down from C-level and shareholder action, our research lays out actionable pathways for transformation. And for those that are not already convinced of the purpose-mission, we run quantitive experiments within companies to make the case for social intrapreneurship.

We call it business as unusual.

Social intrapreneurship: corporate employees who drive innovation within their organisation for social or climate impact.

How social intrapreneurs can turn companies into a force for good.

/ˈsəʊ.ʃəl ɪntrəprəˈnɜːʃɪp/
A Social Intrapreneur is an entrepreneurial employee who develops a profitable new product, service, or business model that creates value for society and her company.

Social intrapreneurs help their employers meet sustainability commitments and create value for customers and communities in ways that are built to last.

The Benefits of Social Intrapreneurship

These top five benefits demonstrate the value of social intrapreneurship beyond authentically displaying corporate purpose. More than 90% of the initiatives that were aligned with the company's core strategy benefited from C-Level buy-in and placed the initiative as a strategic project. Those initiatives that were launched mostly as a CSR initiative struggled the most to get C-Level attention.

Social Intrapreneurship even has the power to positively change the DNA of the company: 24% of all interviewees already see their initiative as a catalyst toward company transformation into a force for good. And it pays to stay pure: Initiatives that were set up as a Social Business – a financially sustainable business model that focuses on impact first while eliminating any profit motive – enjoyed more than 2x higher likelihood of leading to transformation.

Curiously, it was noted that often the largest hurdles faced by social intrapreneurs came from internal obstacles at their companies, rather than from external challenges: 84% listed internal structure as a challenging factor.

Impoves employee engagement, job satisfaction, employee skills or talent attraction.

Leads to mindset shifts, culture change of even kicks off corporate transformation.

Spurs business innovation.

Reaches new markets or new customers.

Improves corporate brand equity.

Case studies
Merck

Merck

Corporate social business
Social intrapreneurship
Africa
IKEA

IKEA

Social business
Social intrapreneurship
Worldwide
BASF

BASF

Inclusive business
Social intrapreneurship
Asia, Africa, Latin America
Essilor

Essilor

Inclusive business
Social intrapreneurship
India, Asia, Africa
Siemens

Siemens

Impact-intrapreneurship bootcamp
Social intrapreneurship
Worldwide
Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley

Social enterprise
Social intrapreneurship
Worldwide
Danone

Danone

Social business
Social intrapreneurship
Bangladesh
SAP

SAP

Social entrepeneur
Social intrapreneurship
Africa

The Intrapreneurship-Catalysers Report: A Playbook for Programme Managers

Built on the hard-earned wisdom of global programme managers, this playbook is a quick reference guide for organizations looking to build support structures for social intrapreneurs.

Social procurement: sourcing goods from social businesses as part of the value chain.

The Social Procurement Manual:
a practical guide to integrating social businesses into corporate value chains.

Social Procurement can be both profitable and valuable but companies and social enterprises need support to make the partnerships work. In this report we map the social procurement journey, providing case studies and practical tools for companies that want to start ‘buying social’.

The Benefits of Social Intrapreneurship

These top five benefits demonstrate the value of social intrapreneurship beyond authentically displaying corporate purpose. More than 90% of the initiatives that were aligned with the company's core strategy benefited from C-Level buy-in and placed the initiative as a strategic project. Those initiatives that were launched mostly as a CSR initiative struggled the most to get C-Level attention.

Social Intrapreneurship even has the power to positively change the DNA of the company: 24% of all interviewees already see their initiative as a catalyst toward company transformation into a force for good. And it pays to stay pure: Initiatives that were set up as a Social Business – a financially sustainable business model that focuses on impact first while eliminating any profit motive – enjoyed more than 2x higher likelihood of leading to transformation.

Curiously, it was noted that often the largest hurdles faced by social intrapreneurs came from internal obstacles at their companies, rather than from external challenges: 84% listed internal structure as a challenging factor.

Impoves employee engagement, job satisfaction, employee skills or talent attraction.

Leads to mindset shifts, culture change of even kicks off corporate transformation.

Spurs business innovation.

Reaches new markets or new customers.

Improves corporate brand equity.

Case studies
SAP & Tarem Services

SAP & Tarem Services

Indirect spend
Cleaning
UK
Elepha & Alpina

Elepha & Alpina

HR and labour service
FMCG
Colombia
Chandos & Embers

Chandos & Embers

HR and labour service
Construction
Canada
Veja & Groupe Ares

Veja & Groupe Ares

Logistics
Textile
France
The Body Shop & Plastics for Change

The Body Shop & Plastics for Change

Packaging
FMCG
India
IKEA & Jordan River Foundation

IKEA & Jordan River Foundation

Manufactured products
Textile
Jordan
West Elm & Allpa Per

West Elm & Allpa Per

Manufactured products
Home goods
Peru
Grupo Éxito & Pomario

Grupo Éxito & Pomario

Raw commodities
Food retail
Colombia

Follow the journey of social procurement

The Social Procurement Manual shares insights and frameworks to help them better understand the concept of social procurement. We uncover the value of social procurement for corporations and tools to create partnerships with social businesses more efficiently.

A deep dive into the textile sector...

Social Procurement Textile Sector Spotlight

In the Fashion industry, companies normally start the sustainability journey by getting visibility on their value chain, and then by ensuring compliance. Through Social procurement, positive social and climate impact are created directly as part of daily business operations, rather than separately through charity programs.

Yunus Social Business & Boston Consulting Group on Social Procurement

A $500 Billion Market Opportunity for Real Impact at Scale

Under the patronage of SAP and the World Economic Forum's Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, Yunus Social Business and Boston Consulting Group conducted research into the market size and opportunity for social procurement. We find that a staggering $500 billion could become available to social businesses if companies worked with them at scale. Download the report to find out more about the opportunities, challenges and growing ecosystem on social procurement.

Measuring the benefits: How social intrapreneurship transforms and benefits businesses.  

Quantitative Research on the Effects of Social Intrapreneurship.

More and more corporate leaders are seeking ways to amplify their corporate purpose and transform their companies into a force for good. But how does this purpose agenda play out from the top down? We are speaking to CEOs and shareholders in a series of qualitative interviews to lift the lid on their experiences.

Making the case

Building on the qualitative interviews with over 50 multinationals, ‘Making the Case’ undertook practical experiments or studies as empirical research with three multinational companies: a major Global Retailer, MAN Truck & Bus and Covestro. This work resulted in over 1,300 data points. By linking the companies' social intrapreneurship activities to key performance metrics, ‘Making The Case’ starts to build the business case for Social Intrapreneurship.

The results of our quantitative research sought to evidence the benefits identified by the Social Intrapreneurs in the first report. In order to drive change, Intrapreneurs need solid, convincing facts on how their initiatives could benefit the overall performance of the company — to ‘Make The Case’.

This is just the beginning

With this research, we invite companies and Social Intrapreneurs to look inside their own companies and ‘Make The Case’ for SI themselves. We have started with three companies who wanted to go into more depth to prove the case for social intrapreneurship. But we will go further to develop a larger dataset supporting the business case for social intrapreneurship.

Ready To Prove It In More Depth For Your Own Company?
We’ve built a practical toolkit to help you run your own assessments and experiments. Our research methodology is open source - the tools are in your hands.

Study designs
Cookie Consent

We use cookies to provide necessary website functionality, improve your experience and analyze our traffic. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our cookies usage.