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Creating Impact through Social Innovation

Harnessing innovation to improve the lives of people around the world is core to our mission as a firm and the work we do with clients. Building on the principles of disruptive innovation, we work with companies to develop "hybrid-value" businesses and consumer solutions that are both financially successful and have a positive and sustainable social impact.

We believe that disruption is a powerful framework for increasing prosperity and facilitating sustainable development and growth. Disruptive innovations either create new markets or reshape existing markets by delivering relatively simple, convenient, low-cost innovations to a set of customers who are ignored by industry leaders. They decentralize and democratize markets that had previously been highly concentrated and specialized, enabling new populations to enjoy the benefits of new technologies.

Using this framework, we help companies identify and understand the needs of underserved or low-resource consumers. We create new business models that make it possible to design and deliver essential solutions to these consumers profitably and conveniently. We also work with companies to introduce a social innovation perspective to their internal organizational efforts, empowering innovators and leveraging the growing imperative to engage employees with work that is both meaningful and profitable (learn more on the topic with our free HBR article "New Business Models for Emerging Markets".)

We bring our passion for innovation and commitment to creating meaningful solutions to fields like health care, energy, and consumer products.

Health Care. We work with a wide range of health care companies to bring affordable—and often life-saving—medical innovations to low-income consumers. In India, we partnered with Medtronic to create a new business model for bringing low-cost pacemakers to people at the bottom of the pyramid.

Consumer Goods. In India, some 80% of people lack access to basic appliances like refrigerators; nearly a third of all food is lost to spoilage. Recently, Innosight worked with manufacturer Godrej & Boyce to develop Chotukool, a portable and affordable cooling unit that brings refrigeration to many of these consumers shut out of it. The product helped Godrej gain recognition as one of the most innovative companies in India in 2010.

 

Energy and Transportation. Innosight advises companies working to make the transition from a fossil-fuel economy to a clean-tech economy powered by renewable energy. We help companies take a systems approach to facilitating this shift. We also work with them advise companies on how to understand the complex consumer attitudes. We worked with the Chevy Volt startup team at General Motors to more fully understand customer desires for electric cars—helping to uncover the full spectrum of motivations that drive the purchase of a new- to-the-world product like the Volt.

Innosight Ventures. Our Singapore-based investment arm provides seed-stage funding and incubation for disruptive startups that have significant potential to provide affordable, convenient solutions and services to consumers. Village Laundry Service, which makes hygienic laundry services affordable to consumers in India and whose franchise model gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to build a business with minimal startup costs and to share in VLS's long-term growth.

Related Insights

An Impact Story from Innosight:

Chevy Volt – how can you take an innovative approach to rolling out a breakthrough product?

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Innosight in Harvard Business Review:

How to Jump-Start the Clean-Tech Economy

Read more