Most efficient thinktank ‘cost free’: how does that work?

7. May 2019

Many companies try to keep their momentum investing in outsourced thinktanks, enabling spin offs or having an eye on start-ups who could bring value into their own model. Is this worth the efforts and costs? Their focus is rather concentric than systemic. Does it make sense? Companies miss perhaps one important point which is imbedded into the societal ecosystem.

Are there any other options that could fulfil the task at minor costs and with positive impact on innovation, profitability and societal progress?

The answer is a big YES. We are actually very much stuck in a Cartesian way of thinking which quite reproduces the same processes and stick to involve best engineers, best IT-specialists, best geeks, majors at the universities. That’s all good. But is it good enough? Hiring the best of class people doesn’t mean we’ll have at the end a systemic understanding of the ecosystem the business is in. One reason I would note is the lack of thinking diversity. The absence of philosophers, sociologist, psychologists and the whole range of professions from the social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences and manual professions limits the outcome. But hiring experts in all the fields is costly and does not provide certainty on the “right” outcome. It’s difficult to find certainty anyway regardless of the solution you implement.

What could be a solution to make sure a company has a thinktank in place that provides great outcome internally as well as externally at low cost or even free of charge? Involving company’s stakeholders in a cooperation structure to design solutions which are linked to environmental and economic progress is worth it. Many companies experienced it within their CSR process. Generally, this process involves many or all parties of the life cycle of a product. And that’s a great thing.

Based on this experience, why not having a permanent thinktank within a company which unleashes the full potential of progress capabilities through the connection of brains covering various competences and fields of experiences? This happens when cooperation is made possible within the company and organised with stakeholders who could balance the antagonisms between profitability/social good/environment. Bringing an appropriate non-profit organisation into this cooperation structure would be a positive addon from a cost and creativity perspective.

Society.Vision’s organisational model and approach, which brings business and non-profit organisation (NPO) together, provides figures that supports its economic impact as well as the societal impact (read previous article “Societal investments increase profit and reputation of business”). This kind of organisation with a functioning cooperation structure involving parties from the company and its stakeholders as well as from the NPO and its stakeholders provides a permanent thinktank for the company and for the NPO. In fact, there is a positive impact in both directions, towards business and society/environment. The defined solutions consider the whole ecosystem, where many parties can make their voices be heard.

The proposed organisation format that allows cooperation between business and NPO promotes the company’s innovation process with the creation of a powerful internal thinktank. The main positive impacts are a broader knowledge of the ecosystem and the interactions between society, environment and business. It’s a creativity-based approach that opens up to a different way of thinking and less focused until now on a single financial and growth aspect of companies.

On top of the beneficial impacts on innovation, the setup of the organisation as an impact on profitability and its ROI is positive. The model generates sufficient returns (cost reductions and turnover increase) to be auto-financed and to at least increase the EAT (earning after tax). Would that make sense to business owners and CEOs?

Society.Vision advises business owners, CEOs and NPO management organisation on how to implement a new business model that has a positive impact on return on investment (ROI), return on society (ROS) and return on environment (ROE).