Back to top

High-speed social innovation in Asia

Author: Mariam Ansari
Published Date: 20 June 2012

By Tanya Ellis

In many Asian countries, passionate entrepreneurs are working to find new sustainable solutions to concrete social and environmental challenges. Focusing on corporate responsibility and social entrepreneurship is far from just a Western practice.

Sustainability on the Asian business agenda

While many Western countries – including Denmark – are struggling with the setbacks of the financial crisis and looking for new answers to questions about how to ensure global competitiveness and continuous economic prosperity, the growth-train is rolling through Asia.

So when my book about sustainable business and social innovation,The New Pioneers, came out in Thai, I went on a business trip to Thailand and Singapore to see if there could be any synergies to find between the sustainability agenda in Scandinavia and in Asia.

If one thing is clear to me after my trip, it is that global challenges, such as climate changes, poverty and health problems are taken very seriously in Asia.

Lately the big flood in Bangkok, for example, has made it clear to many that these kinds of challenges cannot be solved by the public authorities alone. It concerns everyone – also the companies – and therefore, sustainable growth and development is entering the Asian business agenda too.

New solutions by the dozen

During my visit in Thailand, I discovered that there is a whole lot going on within the field of social innovation.

For instance, I had the honour of doing the opening address in Bangkok for The SYNC, a new office community for social entrepreneurs of the city. One of the organisations that promote this kind of entrepreneurship in Thailand is ChangeFusion. Among others, they cooperate with the social it-company OpenDream, who has developed the applicationDoctor Me for smart phones. It gives the mobile users access to information about personal health and treatments, which saves both time and money.

The conference, Asian Summit on Social Entrepreneurship with over 200 participants from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, The Philippines and more, proved to me that just like in Denmark, there is a growing interest for social entrepreneurship in the region (you can hear more about this in the Danish radio show on Radio 24/7, where I was interviewed in March 2012).

To read the rest of the article, please visit the blog Danish Responsibility, where this item was originally published.