Social Innovation Initiative

Social Innovation Initiative

Social Innovation Initiative

McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

About The Social Innovation Initiative

At the Social Innovation Initiative at McCombs, our goal is to inspire and educate future generations of leaders to create economic value for their organizations while also creating positive social and environmental impact.  Global challenges such as climate change, poverty, inequality, lack of access to healthcare and education, are too vast and urgent for governments or the social sector to solve alone.  For businesses, sound economic reasons exist for supporting their communities and providing stewardship of the environment.  Social Innovation at McCombs' interdisciplinary courses and programs provide our community of learners the knowledge and practical opportunities to work across sectors to effect positive change.

A wide array of topics, methods, and issues make up the field of social innovation.  We align our efforts on these four areas that make up the ecosystem of social innovation:

Corporate Social Innovation

Corporate Social Innovation

Products, programs, and practices that take into account environmental, social, and governance considerations, in traditional corporations or new forms of business such as B-Corp or Benefit Corporations. Such efforts work toward a “triple-bottom line”, aiming simultaneously for an increase in profit, benefits to the environment, and benefits to the people that interact with a company.

ESG & Impact Investing

ESG & Impact Investing

ESG Investing: The systematic and explicit inclusion by investment managers of environmental, social and governance metrics into the investment screening process.

  • E: Environmental criteria focus on a company’s stewardship of the natural environment and include issues like greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, and natural resource depletion.
  • S: Social criteria focus on all people who interact with a company throughout its value chain, from employees to suppliers to the communities within which the company operates. Examples of social issues include workplace health safety, labor practices, and relations with local communities.
  • G: Governance criteria focus on a company’s leadership, audits and internal controls, and shareholder rights.Examples of governance issues include bribery and corruption, business ethics, and board diversity.

Impact Investing: Targeted investments, typically made in private markets, aimed at solving social or environmental problems, and including community investing, where capital is specifically directed to traditionally underserved individuals or communities, as well as financing that is provided to businesses with a clear social or environmental purpose.

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Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship

The practice of starting new ventures that seek a clear social or environmental purpose, in addition to financial returns. Social entrepreneurship entails a revenue-generating model in order to be sustainable, but the enterprises they create focus first and foremost on "mission-related impact." These businesses can include nonprofits with income-generation models, hybrid businesses, and for-profit businesses.

Public & Social Sector Innovation

Public & Social Sector Innovation

Social innovation by governments, governmental agencies, nonprofits, or NGOs acting directly or in partnership with private sector organizations. Examples include private investors providing capital for innovative government programming, nonprofits with earned-income models, or collective-impact initiatives.

Social Innovation Spotlight

Interested in experiential education abroad?  Founded in 2009, The GREEN Program is an experiential education and workforce development program for young leaders in sustainable development.  Created for students, by students, TGP has introduced a new model for education abroad driven by a desire to provide purposeful, hands-on industry exposure at a fraction of the time and cost.  Scholarships are available!