6 May 2015
BFM 89.9 – The Business Station
Harnessing social innovation for Malaysia’s progress
The Social Impact Innovation Challenge by Berbudi Berganda – driven by Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (National Innovation Agency) – brought together individuals across Malaysia to scout for innovative solutions for Malaysia’s social development. Carried out over a period of 10 weeks, 12 finalists were shortlisted out of 300 entries using selection criteria that spanned three parameters – innovation, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Yap Far Loon, Business Development Director, Telecommunication of Spire Research and Consulting, was among the Challenge panelists interviewed on BFM 89.9 (The Business Radio Station) for the Live and Learn show. He shared his views on how to measure impact of social innovation.
This Social Impact Innovation Challenge strives to turn innovative ideas into realities. To explain the impact of social innovation, Far Loon uses a simple demand-supply model. Supply here refers to the finalists. Demand refers to the beneficiaries, such as people with low-income, the homeless, school drop-outs, orphan adults and so forth. Demand is matched to supply through programs such as job matching, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills’ development, street interviews and eco-tourism.
Preliminary findings from the challenge indicated three areas of improvement: economic and societal development as well as environmental protection. Economic development issues revolved around employment, income generation and small business opportunities. Societal issues comprised homelessness, gender parity as well as income support for mothers’ to nurture better childcare.
The category of environmental protection saw one of the finalists recommend using paper food boxes as an alternative to Styrofoam – highlighted by Far Loon as a great advance in environmental protection.
Apart from external metrics for social innovation, how can social enterprises measure their success rate through self-assessment? A simple survey can be conducted prior to and post service delivery based on parameters such as applicability of service, life satisfaction, happiness as well as seek recommendation for improvement. This would serve as a useful reference for stakeholders like government agencies and social investors.
The key to success for social enterprises further lies in sustainable momentum, namely a slow start to ensure gradual growth. Collaboration with relevant stakeholders via online platforms (including social media) is also critical.
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Spire Research and Consulting is the leading research consultancy in global emerging markets. Spire's competitive advantage lies in its ability to deliver actionable intelligence on the external business environment in support of its clients’ strategic decision-making in marketing and business development. Spire's clients include 50 Global Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies in 15 countries. For more information, please visit www.spireresearch.com.