IMD elea Center for Social Innovation

Convening change agents to accelerate the speed, scale, and effectiveness of social innovation
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video
01:24What is social innovation?
What is social innovation?
Vanina Farber defines social innovation in the context of the elea Center for Social Innovation

Unlocking Social Innovation

Social innovation creates new solutions (products, services, markets, models, processes) for a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous society by addressing social and environmental needs more efficiently and effectively than current policies and businesses.

The IMD elea Center for Social Innovation was launched at IMD Business School in 2018. We develop and share research, pedagogical content, and educational programs that help leaders in business, government, and civil society navigate the challenges of initiating and implementing social innovation.

Through these core activities, we convene entrepreneurs, executives, investors, philanthropists, researchers, and other change agents to accelerate the speed, scale, and effectiveness of social innovations across the spectrum of capital that address the key social and environmental challenges of our time.

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Thematic Pillars

Article
Challenging mindsets to inspire impact
Topics: Sustainability, Social Innovation, Investment
By Vanina Farber - 11 May 2021

In this interview, Professor Farber reflects on why there is a growing need to provide executives with the right tools to take a more integrated approach to impact and business– and to change mindsets when it…

Article
Landmark financial sustainability regulation is finally here. Now what?
Topics: Sustainability, Financial Regulation, Politics
By Vanina Farber with Patrick Reichert - 10 March 2021
Landmark financial sustainability regulation is finally here. Now what?
4 min. read
Article
Silver lining? COVID-19 and the entrepreneurial gender gap
Topics: Entrepreneurship
By Vanina Farber and Patrick Reichert - 8 March 2021

As we pass the one-year mark of the pandemic, it is clear that the pandemic has hit women harder than men across much of the world.

From increased vulnerability of job loss to drops in research and work productivity …

Book
The elea Way
Topics: Sustainability
By Vanina Farber, Peter A. Wuffli by - 18 November 2020
Social entrepreneurship and impact investing contribute to a more inclusive capitalism and bring innovative solutions to global challenges, such as fighting poverty and protecting planet earth. This book offers practical…
Article
Channel the diversity of ideas to navigate uncertainty
Topics: Sustainability, Diversity and Equity and Inclusion
By Vanina Farber - 23 September 2020

The world’s challenges are growing in both complexity, speed and magnitude. Changing leadership mindsets to build innovative partnerships and adopt unusual ideas from diverse sources in fields such as science, the…

5 min. read
Article
Diversity matters: the power of female leadership in impact investment
Topics: Leadership, Investment
By Vanina Farber - 18 August 2020

Can we make generalizations about women in impact investment?

Women are under-represented in the impact investment sector, and women sometimes shy away from finance. However, we cannot blame everything on women themselves…

5 min. read
Article
Joining forces for the world we want
Topics: Sustainability, Social Innovation
By Vanina Farber and Natalia Olynec - 19 September 2019
Achieving the SDGs, 17 Global Goals for the next decade, requires systemic changes across sectors, not just international aid. The SDGs are mobilizing private capital to contribute to impact hand-in-hand with…
6 min. read
Article
Philanthropic impact investing: Four keys to success
Topics: Social Innovation, Investment
By Vanina Farber , Research Fellow Patrick Reichert and Chairman of elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization Peter A. Wuffli - 3 September 2019
Impact investment is a rapidly growing phenomenon that has sparked enthusiasm across a wide range of actors, including investors, policy-makers, entrepreneurs and citizens. Impact investments are an important element…
5 min. read

Popular Media

Case Studies

Case study
Nia Impact Capital: Active Ownership for Social Justice
Topics: Finance, Sustainability, Investment
By Vanina Farber and María Helena Jaén - 31 December 2021
The case is about a sustainable investor firm, Nia Impact Capital (Nia) (Oakland, California), and its founder and CEO, Kristin Hull. Hull aims to invest in gender and racial justice and to make money with meaning and…
Case study
Maison Chloé: Driving Purposeful Transformation for Sustainability
Topics: Diversity and Equity and Inclusion, Strategy, Luxury
By Vanina Farber, Stéphane J. G. Girod and Lisa Simone Duke - 16 December 2021
At luxury fashion house Maison Chloé, minds were focused on the first collection of new Creative Director, Gabriela Hearst, which was just hitting the stores. Chloé’s CEO, Riccardo Bellini, had recruited Gabriela, known…
Case study
Chanel 1.5°: A Sustainability Journey
Topics: Sustainability, Strategy, Luxury
By Vanina Farber, Stéphane J. G. Girod and Martin Králik - 16 December 2021
In a short span of five or six years, CHANEL embraced CSR (corporate social responsibility) and ESG (environmental, social, governance) initiatives that stretched far beyond its established comfort zone of artistic…
Case study
Triodos Investment Management - Yamaha: Making Music Sustainable
Topics: Sustainability, Leadership
By Vanina Farber and María Helena Jaén - 10 December 2021
In 2020, Triodos Investment Management (Triodos) was a globally active impact investor. It believed the true purpose of investing was to generate social and environmental impact alongside a healthy financial return.…
Case study
Finance for a Sustainable Society at Triodos Investment Management: An ESG Portfolio Investment Decision
Topics: Sustainability, Investment, Diversity and Equity and Inclusion
By Vanina Farber and María Helena Jaén - 11 November 2021
This case provides the opportunity to perform a real, but simplified, ESG research analysis and portfolio investment decision from the perspective of an impact investor. It was designed using Triodos Investment…
Case study
PMI's Vision of a Smoke-free Future: Can a Tobacco Company be Sustainable
Topics: Strategy, Social Innovation, Sustainability
By Vanina Farber and Head of Sustainability Natalia Olynec - 31 December 2020

This is an abridged version. Philip Morris International (PMI) CEO Andre Calantzopoulos announced in 2016 a radical pivot in the Marlboro cigarette manufacturer's strategy: the company would shift to 'smoke-free'…

Case study
Financing Change, Changing Finance: Should Triodos Invest in Tesla?
Topics: Finance, Sustainability, Diversity and Equity and Inclusion
By Vanina Farber and Universidad de los Andes Professor María Helena Jaén - 31 December 2020

In 2020, Triodos Investment Management had approximately EUR4.9 billion in assets under its management (impact investment). Triodos motto was 'Financing for change. Change Finance' and understood sustainable finance as a…

Case study
A World Without Cigarettes? Building a Sustainability Materiality Matrix
Topics: Sustainability, Stakeholder Management
By Vanina Farber and Universidad de los Andes Professor María Helena Jaén - 18 December 2020

This is part of a case series. The case is about a company in one of the so-called sin industries that has committed to phase out cigarettes - the origin of its sins - in favor of a smoke-free future based on reduced-…

Latest Academic Articles

Discover Our Webinars

Article
Accelerating transitions to sustainable business models after COVID-19
Accelerating transitions to sustainable business models after COVID-19
By Vanina Farber - 21 June 2021
Article
The elea Way: a learning journey toward sustainable impact
The elea Way: a learning journey toward sustainable impact
By Vanina Farber - 17 December 2020
Article
The S in ESG
The S in ESG
By Vanina Farber - 11 November 2020
Article
An impact investor’s journey to provide solutions for basic needs in developing countries
An impact investor’s journey to provide solutions for basic needs in developing countries
By Vanina Farber - 28 October 2020
Article
How to maximize performance and impact in the governance of impact organizations
How to maximize performance and impact in the governance of impact organizations
By Vanina Farber - 14 October 2020
Article
Collaborative financing for renewable energy in emerging markets
Collaborative financing for renewable energy in emerging markets
By Vanina Farber - 30 September 2020
Article
The economics of mutuality
The economics of mutuality
By Vanina Farber - 16 September 2020
Article
How institutional investors can leverage blended finance
How institutional investors can leverage blended finance
By Vanina Farber - 3 September 2020
Article
How microinsurance helps smallholder coffee farmers survive climate change
How microinsurance helps smallholder coffee farmers survive climate change
By Vanina Farber - 19 August 2020
Article
Venture philanthropy and the rise of Tech for Impact initiatives
Venture philanthropy and the rise of Tech for Impact initiatives
By Vanina Farber - 5 August 2020
Article
Collaborative financing solutions for sustainable infrastructure and returns
Collaborative financing solutions for sustainable infrastructure and returns
By Vanina Farber - 29 July 2020
Article
Making a difference: driving financial returns while addressing the world’s most pressing societal challenges
Making a difference: driving financial returns while addressing the world’s most pressing societal challenges
By Vanina Farber - 10 July 2020
Article
The role of building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa to canalize impact investment
The role of building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa to canalize impact investment
By Vanina Farber - 17 June 2020
Article
Topping up investment in the humanitarian space using innovative finance
Topping up investment in the humanitarian space using innovative finance
By Vanina Farber - 10 June 2020
Article
Catalyzing wealth for change
Catalyzing wealth for change
By Vanina Farber - 3 June 2020
Article
Deploying private capital in pursuit of environmental goals
Deploying private capital in pursuit of environmental goals
By Vanina Farber - 27 May 2020
Article
Courage and capital to achieve a sustainable future
Courage and capital to achieve a sustainable future
By Vanina Farber - 20 May 2020
Article
ESG Integration and Values-Based Investment
ESG Integration and Values-Based Investment
By Vanina Farber - 13 May 2020
Article
Collaborative Blended Finance Solutions: BNP Paribas in Indonesia
Collaborative Blended Finance Solutions: BNP Paribas in Indonesia
By Vanina Farber - 6 May 2020
Article
Asian Markets: The role of Venture Capital and Private Equity
Asian Markets: The role of Venture Capital and Private Equity
By Vanina Farber - 29 April 2020
Article
Blended Finance to achieve SDG 4: Cocoa Industry Case
Blended Finance to achieve SDG 4: Cocoa Industry Case
By Vanina Farber - 22 April 2020
Article
Financing the SDGs: The urgency of now
Financing the SDGs: The urgency of now
By Vanina Farber - 15 April 2020
Article
Fighting absolute poverty with philanthropic impact investment
Fighting absolute poverty with philanthropic impact investment
By Vanina Farber and Peter A. Wuffli - 8 April 2020
Vanina Farber
Professor Vanina Farber
elea Professor of Social Innovation; Dean of the Executive MBA

Vanina Farber is an award-winning economist and political scientist who specializes in social innovation and the mobilization of private capital for impact investing. Her research focuses on innovative, practical,…

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Patrick Reichert
Research Fellow at IMD

Patrick Reichert conducts research at the intersection of entrepreneurship, finance and social impact, with a particular focus on the mechanisms and logics that investors use to seed investment in social organizations.&…

Peter Wuffli
Peter Wuffli
Honorary Chairman of IMD Foundation Board and Member of the Advisory Board of the elea Center for Social Innovation at elea Foundation

Peter Wuffli (born in 1957) is the Founder and Chairman of elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization. elea was established in 2006 with the purpose of fighting absolute poverty (i.e. less than USD 3 daily income) with…

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Andreas R. Kirchschläger
CEO at elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

Andreas R. Kirchschläger is the CEO of the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and the President of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation. He serves as a board member of the HSG Foundation, GCA Altium Corporation,…

Anand Narasimhan
Professor Anand Narasimhan
Shell Professor of Global Leadership

Anand Narasimhan, Shell Professor of Global Leadership, focuses on the dynamics of boards and top teams, and their impact on transformation in organizations. Anand has worked with board directors and senior executives on…

Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management, Lundin Sustainability Chair

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focuses on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He is co-author of the best-selling book Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and a successful TED speaker, and…

With sincere thanks to the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

We are very fortunate to benefit from the support of the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization to study and support social innovators across the world.

Image placeholder
elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

elea exists to fight absolute poverty with entrepreneurial means, capitalizing on the benefits and opportunities of globalization.

elea aspires to be a role model organization with charisma in the field of entrepreneurial…

The IMD elea Center for Social Innovation is pleased to announce the appointment of Katherine Milligan, Maximilian Martin and María Helena Jaén as its first Senior elea Fellows.

 

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Katherine Milligan
Director at Collective Change Lab

Katherine has supported leading social entrepreneurs and student start-up teams for over a decade and is a soughtafter speaker and coach. She is a "Top 100 Women in Social Entrepreneurship” awarded by the Euclid…

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Maximilian Martin
Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier Group

Dr. Maximilian Martin is the Founder of Impact Economy. In 2003, he created the first university course in Europe on social entrepreneurship at the University of Geneva, and in 2004 the first global philanthropic…

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María Helena Jaén
Honorary Professor at Universidad de Los Andes

María Helena Jaén is an honorary professor at the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia), professor at the International Faculty IESA, and adjunct professor at the Patti and Allan Herbert School of Business at…

Social innovation is a highly complex topic that relies on an interdisciplinary approach. Our team of faculty experts is committed to focusing on the characteristics and challenges unique to social innovation.

Faculty team

David Bach
Professor David Bach
Professor of Strategy and Political Economy and Dean of Innovation and Programs

Political economy expert David Bach brings to IMD a proven track record of creating impactful learning journeys in a dual role as both Professor and Dean. 

Through his award-winning teaching and writing, Bach helps…

Julia Binder
Professor Julia Binder
Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation Director of IMD Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

Julia Binder specializes in the intersection between sustainability and innovation. Her research and teaching explore the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic,…

Arnaud Chevallier
Professor Arnaud Chevallier
Professor of Strategy

Arnaud Chevallier helps executives solve complex problems and make better decisions under uncertainty. His research, teaching and consulting draw on empirical findings from diverse disciplines to provide concrete tools…

Frederic Dalsace
Professor Frederic Dalsace
Professor of Marketing and Strategy

Frédéric Dalsace is a Professor of Marketing and Strategy at IMD. Prior to that, he spent 16 years as a Professor at HEC Paris, where he held the Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair presided by Nobel Laureate…

Stéphane J. Girod
Professor Stéphane J. Girod
Professor of Strategy and Organizational Innovation

Stéphane J.G. Girod is Professor of Strategy and Organizational Innovation at IMD. His research, teaching and consulting interests focus on agility transformation, at the strategy, organizational and leadership levels in…

Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management, Lundin Sustainability Chair

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focuses on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He is co-author of the best-selling book Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and a successful TED speaker, and…

Alyson Meister
Professor Alyson Meister
Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Alyson Meister helps organizations to develop inclusive and resilient leaders, teams, and workplaces. Her research specialty includes topics surrounding identity and diversity as well as workplace stress, mental health,…

Phil Rosenzweig
Professor Phil Rosenzweig
Professor of Strategy and International Management

Phil Rosenzweig is a Professor of Strategy and international Management. He is Co-director of Transition to Business Leadership, and was also Co-Director of the Dual Executive MBA Program with CKGSB.

Professor Rosenzweig'…

Karl Schmedders
Professor Karl Schmedders
Professor of Finance

Karl Schmedders' research and teaching currently focuses on sustainability and the economics of climate change. He is therefore able to provide key insights on the transition risk arising from the shift to a greener…

Vanina Farber
Professor Vanina Farber
elea Professor of Social Innovation; Dean of the Executive MBA

Vanina Farber is an award-winning economist and political scientist who specializes in social innovation and the mobilization of private capital for impact investing. Her research focuses on innovative, practical,…

Image placeholder
Patrick Reichert
Research Fellow at IMD

Patrick Reichert conducts research at the intersection of entrepreneurship, finance and social impact, with a particular focus on the mechanisms and logics that investors use to seed investment in social organizations.&…

Peter Wuffli
Peter Wuffli
Honorary Chairman of IMD Foundation Board and Member of the Advisory Board of the elea Center for Social Innovation at elea Foundation

Peter Wuffli (born in 1957) is the Founder and Chairman of elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization. elea was established in 2006 with the purpose of fighting absolute poverty (i.e. less than USD 3 daily income) with…

Image placeholder
Andreas R. Kirchschläger
CEO at elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

Andreas R. Kirchschläger is the CEO of the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and the President of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation. He serves as a board member of the HSG Foundation, GCA Altium Corporation,…

Anand Narasimhan
Professor Anand Narasimhan
Shell Professor of Global Leadership

Anand Narasimhan, Shell Professor of Global Leadership, focuses on the dynamics of boards and top teams, and their impact on transformation in organizations. Anand has worked with board directors and senior executives on…

Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management, Lundin Sustainability Chair

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focuses on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He is co-author of the best-selling book Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and a successful TED speaker, and…

With sincere thanks to the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

We are very fortunate to benefit from the support of the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization to study and support social innovators across the world.

Image placeholder
elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization

elea exists to fight absolute poverty with entrepreneurial means, capitalizing on the benefits and opportunities of globalization.

elea aspires to be a role model organization with charisma in the field of entrepreneurial…

The IMD elea Center for Social Innovation is pleased to announce the appointment of Katherine Milligan, Maximilian Martin and María Helena Jaén as its first Senior elea Fellows.

 

Image placeholder
Katherine Milligan
Director at Collective Change Lab

Katherine has supported leading social entrepreneurs and student start-up teams for over a decade and is a soughtafter speaker and coach. She is a "Top 100 Women in Social Entrepreneurship” awarded by the Euclid…

Image placeholder
Maximilian Martin
Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier Group

Dr. Maximilian Martin is the Founder of Impact Economy. In 2003, he created the first university course in Europe on social entrepreneurship at the University of Geneva, and in 2004 the first global philanthropic…

Image placeholder
María Helena Jaén
Honorary Professor at Universidad de Los Andes

María Helena Jaén is an honorary professor at the Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia), professor at the International Faculty IESA, and adjunct professor at the Patti and Allan Herbert School of Business at…

Social innovation is a highly complex topic that relies on an interdisciplinary approach. Our team of faculty experts is committed to focusing on the characteristics and challenges unique to social innovation.

Faculty team

David Bach
Professor David Bach
Professor of Strategy and Political Economy and Dean of Innovation and Programs

Political economy expert David Bach brings to IMD a proven track record of creating impactful learning journeys in a dual role as both Professor and Dean. 

Through his award-winning teaching and writing, Bach helps…

Julia Binder
Professor Julia Binder
Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation Director of IMD Center for Sustainable and Inclusive Business

Julia Binder specializes in the intersection between sustainability and innovation. Her research and teaching explore the processes, strategies and mechanisms that allow entrepreneurs and managers to combine economic,…

Arnaud Chevallier
Professor Arnaud Chevallier
Professor of Strategy

Arnaud Chevallier helps executives solve complex problems and make better decisions under uncertainty. His research, teaching and consulting draw on empirical findings from diverse disciplines to provide concrete tools…

Frederic Dalsace
Professor Frederic Dalsace
Professor of Marketing and Strategy

Frédéric Dalsace is a Professor of Marketing and Strategy at IMD. Prior to that, he spent 16 years as a Professor at HEC Paris, where he held the Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair presided by Nobel Laureate…

Stéphane J. Girod
Professor Stéphane J. Girod
Professor of Strategy and Organizational Innovation

Stéphane J.G. Girod is Professor of Strategy and Organizational Innovation at IMD. His research, teaching and consulting interests focus on agility transformation, at the strategy, organizational and leadership levels in…

Knut Haanaes
Professor Knut Haanaes
Professor of Strategy and International Management, Lundin Sustainability Chair

Knut Haanaes' research and teaching focuses on strategy, sustainability, strategic renewal and business models. He is co-author of the best-selling book Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and a successful TED speaker, and…

Alyson Meister
Professor Alyson Meister
Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior

Alyson Meister helps organizations to develop inclusive and resilient leaders, teams, and workplaces. Her research specialty includes topics surrounding identity and diversity as well as workplace stress, mental health,…

Phil Rosenzweig
Professor Phil Rosenzweig
Professor of Strategy and International Management

Phil Rosenzweig is a Professor of Strategy and international Management. He is Co-director of Transition to Business Leadership, and was also Co-Director of the Dual Executive MBA Program with CKGSB.

Professor Rosenzweig'…

Karl Schmedders
Professor Karl Schmedders
Professor of Finance

Karl Schmedders' research and teaching currently focuses on sustainability and the economics of climate change. He is therefore able to provide key insights on the transition risk arising from the shift to a greener…

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