B Lab, the organization behind the growing community of B Corporations (companies using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems) or B Corps for short, recently released its 2011 annual report.
The report highlights some interesting progress over the last year, including a 75% increase in the number of certified B Corps, with larger businesses also joining the growing movement.
But the theme within the report I found particularly compelling is that the community of B Corps is now becoming large enough to exert a gravitational force of its own with the power to impact public policy while also creating opportunities for member corporations to help each other.
A few examples:
In 2010, with the encouragement of B Lab and the community of B Corps, legislation passed in both Maryland and Vermont creating a new type of “benefit corporation” with a legal responsibility to work for the good of the communities they serve, not just for the profit of their shareholders. Nine additional states in the US are set to move forward with similar legislation in 2011.
This week, those smart folks over at IDEO launched a new project they are calling OpenIDEO. If you aren’t familiar with IDEO yet, you should be—they are the poster children for design thinking specifically and 21st century innovation more generally.
IDEO has been responsible for groundbreaking designs of everything from computer mice to toothbrushes to brand experiences, and it is the home of superstar thinkers like Tim Brown (author of the recent book called Change By Design) and Tom Kelley (author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation).
What is OpenIDEO? Here’s what the website says:
OpenIDEO is a place where people design better, together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker.
So it is basically an experiment in open innovation, a place where IDEO can be the catalyst of a conversation among really smart folks from different disciplines that might lead to solutions for big, complex social problems.
If you are a skeptic, you might immediately wonder what’s in it for IDEO. One person asked whether IDEO planned to make money with the “crowd’s” ideas, and Tim Brown answered like this:
[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]