[NTU EMBA 20th Anniversary Special]: Innovation for Sustainability
Activity day:2016-11-21 
Published At:2016-11-21 
Views:2876  2017-02-12 updated
Driven by rapid environment changes and expectations from the society in recent years, creating diversified values through social innovation has become a trend among businesses. As a result, NTU EMBA, the pioneer in corporate operation management, has organized a social innovation forum, drawing the curtain for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of NTU EMBA and starting with special guests of Ms. Fong Yen, former Councilor of the Executive Yuan, Mr. Zheng Ping, CEO of the Delta Electronics, Mr. Zhou Jun-Ji, President of Sin Yi Realty Inc., Ms. Lin Yi-Han, co-founder and CEO of Social Enterprise Insights, and Mr. Wu De-Fong (Class 2011), Deputy Chairman, PwC Taiwan, to talk on social innovation from various aspects of industry, government, and academic sectors, and to inspire more ideas.
 
In her speech at the beginning of the Forum, Xie Ming-Hui, CEO, NTU EMBA, pointed out that it is NTU EMBA’s important mission in the future to expedite Chinese EMBA to fulfill social innovation, which needs a great push from the government sector. Fong Yen, who has committed to long-term social innovation education, pointed out that when social enterprises were rising a decade ago, their primary function was providing solutions for the social environment and solving social problems with innovative business measure. Since then, social enterprise and social innovation have become hot global topics and brought new business opportunities that offer jobs for various talents; they are far from simple donating money for charity in the past. 
 
Fong Yen further pointed out that in 2014 the Executive Yuan launched a social enterprise initiative and developed an ecology system mostly favors social innovation with four policies: 1. Legal: administrative measures followed by legislation and legal environment review; 2. Platform: Encourage exchange and collaboration across industries and countries; 3. Fund: Angle funding, funding platform, and public welfare funds; and 4. Incubation: Pooling industry and academic talents and building social enterprise advisor teams.
Large enterprises also actively promote new concepts of social innovation 
 
With the push from government sector in place, Zheng Ping and Zhou Jun-Ji shared their experiences. Delta Electronics began its transformation since 2000 from manufacturer of energy-saving products to advocate of energy-saving solution. According to Zheng, energy-saving is more than product offering; it depends more on whether people would duly practice energy-saving at jobs and at homes. Delta Electronics combines products, systems, and solutions together to offer comprehensive energy-saving strategies for their customers. Delta Electronics’ efforts in fulfilling its corporate responsibility to protect natural resources surprisingly becomes a niche of enterprise innovation. 
 
Innovation is the only way to sustainability. Zhou said without reservation: “35 years after starting business, the best lesson learned is that a company cannot exist forever without innovation.” He further quoted Peter Ferdinand Drucker, the master of modern management, that before innovation “every plant is a weed and every mineral just another rock”. Zhou also argued that not every innovation is necessarily good. For example, financial innovation at Wall Street caused a global financial disaster to an extent that even you are not a holder of financial derivatives, your life still suffered greatly. Therefore, all businesses must adopt only the good innovation that may lead to better life for everyone, and only that may innovation be meaningful and social innovation valuable. Lin Yi-Ha felt deeply about shallow knowledge of social innovation among Taiwanese people and decided to rally a group of volunteers in 2012 to build the first Mandarin Chinese information platform to help more people to understand social innovation. 
 
Lin believes that both businesses and individuals should first do their best at what they do, and mutually integrate their resources, then social innovation can grow stronger. She also spoke frankly: “CSR is not a cost; it’s a value”. 
Value needs trust, too. Wu De-Fong pointed out that trust is the base for all businesses. The society changes, and the trust people out on businesses also develop differently. For example, as food safety becomes great concerns recently, people are now reluctant to trust businesses. It is a warning for businesses; shareholders’ interest must not be their only goal. They must reinforce their CSR practice to regain trust from consumers. 
 
Fong Yen offered 5 ideas for fulfilling social innovation: 1. Demand driven: business opportunity can be found where the society has a need. 2. Cooperation: Industry, government, and academics should each clarify their own goals and visions first and find common ground next. 3. Co-creation by Young and Old: social innovation needs ideas jointly inspired among elderlies with experience and young people with innovative ideas. 4. Education: universities are the critical starting point for promoting social innovation. 5. Beyond national boundary: Taiwan can export its experience as well and join the international society in solving social problems and looking for solutions. 
 
The give guests reached an unanimous conclusion at the end of the event that corporate governance requires connection with the needs of the society, and social innovation requires common participation to be sustainable, then people’s life may progress and improve and business governance more efficient and valuable.
 
 
Concurrently published on Common Wealth website
*Read<<NTU EMBA 20th Anniversary Special (e-paper)http://20th.emba.ntu.edu.tw/ebook