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Social innovation and marketing
A Tait ILS

Social innovation refers to new or enhanced products or services that have a positive impact on social or environmental issues; often termed ‘environmentally friendly or green products’. Examples illustrating possibilities for social innovation include production of fibres entirely from renewable resources, fuel oils from vegetation, energy and water savers, chemical free cleaning, recycled materials, organic food and cosmetic products, natural home furnishings etc. Innovative sustainable transport solutions could be added in the list.

 

Social innovation represents social learning and problem solving in areas ranging from improvements in human health, education, human welfare, environmental protection and energy. 

Innovation capabilities are no different than those needed to create new products with novel functionalities. The difference is on the focus and perhaps on a stronger emphasis on understanding social problem areas and creating new forms of alliances to create solutions.

 

Corporate Social Marketing (CSM) is aimed at behaviour changes that improve health, safety or the environment and the consequent development of new markets. In other words CSM is a strategy that uses marketing principles and techniques to foster behaviour change in a target population leading to social improvements while at the same time building markets for products or services[1] . A CSM initiative combines business strategy with a social need and thus provides opportunities for simultaneous social and business returns.

Recent trends focusing on marketing playing a central role in the enablement and acceleration of organizational learning can be particularly important in this area.


European ports are begining to focus their strategies in social innovation and marketing but much more could be done to create a real impact on sustainable transport. 
 

Key aspects of social innovation and marketing are:

·          assessing the company’s potential for social innovation;

·          social innovation networking;

·          marketing, social understanding and organisational learning;

·          promoting a culture for social innovation and marketing;

·          promoting social innovation in R&D activities.



[1] “Best of breed,” Kotler, P., and Lee, N., Stanford Social Innovation Review, 14-23, 2004.

 


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