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SuperCorp

How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter
12-minute read
Audio available
SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

SuperCorp (2009) is an introduction to a new breed of business: the vanguard company. Find out how these companies are able to make healthy profits while simultaneously meeting societal needs and acting as forces for good in their communities.

  • Business executives and CEOs
  • Anyone interested in socially responsible corporations
  • Students of business

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at the Harvard Business School specializing in strategy, leadership and innovation from the perspective of social change. She is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review and the author of several books, including Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End.

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SuperCorp

How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Synopsis

SuperCorp (2009) is an introduction to a new breed of business: the vanguard company. Find out how these companies are able to make healthy profits while simultaneously meeting societal needs and acting as forces for good in their communities.

Key idea 1 of 7

Corporations are seen as greedy and corrupt, but a new socially conscious business model is emerging.

When you drive past a giant factory with clouds of toxins billowing from its smokestacks, you probably don’t get a warm feeling in your heart.

These days, it’s common for people to cite corporations as a primary cause for many of the world’s problems.

On any given day, you can read headlines about the growing obesity epidemic in the West, food shortages in Africa, oil spills in the oceans and rampant corruption – all of which can be traced back to greedy multinational corporations led by immoral CEOs with a lust for money that surpasses any concern for the well-being of the planet.

However, a new generation of businesses is emerging. They’re known as vanguard companies, and they have a socially conscious business model that is both financially savvy and eco-friendly.

Vanguard companies differ from non-profit organizations in that they don’t exist solely to take on issues like clean water or public housing. Make no mistake, these companies are competitive and out to make a profit, but they use their strong business sense to find solutions for social issues.

For vanguard companies, being socially conscious is part of business practice. So they do more than simply make charitable donations, though this could also be a part of their business model. And this business model is especially popular with those born in the 1980s and 1990s, the so-called millennials. This generation is eager to prove that you can both earn a big paycheck and make the world a better place.

This attitude isn’t without its precedents. IBM has a long history of helping communities recover from natural disasters. In 2004, the company responded to the tsunami that killed nearly a quarter of a million people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. A group of IBM employees rallied to provide technology that would expedite the delivery of relief supplies and speed up the recovery process.

No one was forcing them to take action – they had the means to make a positive impact and simply saw it as the right thing to do.

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