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Jan 27

Learning Circle – CSI: Bridging the Divide Between Corporate and Social Sector Approaches with Hybrid Thinking

January 27, 2022

Has your company’s CSR or CSI program run into tensions between your corporate ways of working vs those of the social sector you wish to support? We often hear of a disconnect or even conflict between the ways these two sectors define success, set timelines, and measure ROI, leading to misunderstandings and frustration.

For instance, a corporate time frame for a pilot initiative could be just a few months, whereas it could take several years in the social sector. Defining success for a proof of concept is also different because social interventions are generally customised to a specific location, as opposed to a product roll-outs that are generally standard across locations. ROI is calculated differently in the corporate sphere and the social sphere, with corporate boards wanting to see results quarter to quarter, whereas social sector interventions often need a few years to see outcomes and be able to measure real impact.

The AVPN Academy Corporate Social Impact Centre is hosting a Learning Circle to bring together CSI practitioners to discuss how these tensions have affected your projects and explore ways that other organizations have tackled them. We will be joined by Rama Iyer, Director General of the WPP India Foundation who has held roles in both the corporate and development worlds, and will be sharing a bit about her experience using Hybrid Thinking to bridge the gap between the two.


January 27, 2022



Inclusive Business

Companies may choose to adopt an inclusive business model or approach that provides goods, services, and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis to people living at the base of the pyramid (BoP). Depending on the nature and size of the organisation, companies can do this by directly incorporating the BoP in their core value chain, or by piloting inclusive business initiatives through their corporate impact efforts.

Adapted from: Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN)


Explore the modules related to Inclusive Business



Building your inclusive business: How to identify funders

Corporate Social Impact Centre



Growing your Inclusive Business

Corporate Social Impact Centre


Explore the modules related to Inclusive Business

Creating Shared Value Through Inclusive Business Strategies

By CSR Asia

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This paper by CSR Asia outlines how inclusive business (IB) strategies can create shared value and walks through practical steps companies can take to develop an effective IB strategy. It makes a case for inclusive business and demonstrates how companies can leverage aspects of their value chain to create opportunities for low-income communities. You will also find a number of case studies from around the Asia region.

Corporate Foundation

Corporate foundations (or company-sponsored foundations) are philanthropic organisations that are created and financially supported by a corporation. The foundation is created as a separate legal entity from the corporation, but with close ties to the corporation. Corporate foundations tend to make grants in fields related to their corporate activities or in communities where the corporation operates, or where their employees reside.

Source: Council of Foundations

Learn more about Corporate Foundation

Corporate Social Impact Accelerator

Companies may establish Social Impact Accelerators to help enterprises looking to address a social problem over an extended period of time with a mix of financial and non-financial support, including seed funding, mentorship, training, networking and working space.

Learn more about Corporate Social Impact Accelerator

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is any formally organised support or encouragement from companies to leverage employee time, knowledge, skills or other resources to support impact organisations. Employee engagement can vary from corporate volunteering (hands-on or skill-based, virtual or on-site volunteering) and/or corporate giving (payroll giving, employee matching) to co-investment programmes.

Source: EVPA, 2018

Learn more about Employee Engagement

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to strategies that companies put into action as part of corporate governance that are designed to ensure the company’s operations are ethical and beneficial for society. These may include initiatives to support the environment, fair labour practices, philanthropy and/or sustainable business practices.

Adapted from: Corporate Finance Institute (CFI)

Learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Impact Fund

Corporate impact funds enable companies to make investments that are aligned with and amplified by their strategic priorities, market position and resources in order to generation measurable and mutually reinforcing social, environmental and financial returns and outcomes.

Adapted from: Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), 2021

Learn more about Corporate Impact Fund