How Corporations Profit From Social Innovation

Muniamman [Photo by Sirensongs] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Social innovation has a dramatic impact on the lives of poor people in developing countries around the world, and the effect is multiplied through the use of digital technology.

Innovation in products for the poor in the area of mobile devices is leading to increased financial inclusion in countries like Bangladesh and India. In India, for example, a mobile medical service now allows people in remote rural areas to attend virtual clinics with doctors in hospitals in the cities. These developments are being spurred by the large financial incentives that are available for corporations that design products which reduce costs or increase access to the poor.

However, multinational corporations face challenges and may have to wait longer for significant financial returns in these areas. Their initial costs can be mitigated through funding incentives from governments and multilateral organizations.