How can we harness corporate social innovation to unlock opportunity in your organisation?

Join this online discussion which includes panellists from companies at the cutting edge of social innovation, including Barclays’ Social Innovation Facility and CEMEX’s Patrimonio Hoy initiative.

Live Panel

Tuesday 10th April, 2.30 – 3.30pm UK time / 9.30 - 10.30am ET


  • Daryl Burnaby, Director, Global Health Programmes, GSK
  • Emily Fry, Assistant Vice President, Social Innovation, Barclays
  • Gib Bulloch, Speaker, Writer Facilitator, Intrapreneur in Residence at Business Fights Poverty and Steward, League of Intrapreneurs
  • Katie Hyson, Director of Thought Leadership, Business Fights Poverty
  • Laura Kelly, Head, Business Engagement Hub, UK Department for International Development
  • Maggie De Pree, Co-founder, The League of Intrapreneurs

Moderator: Zahid Torres-Rahman, Founder and CEO, Business Fights Poverty


Corporate social intrapreneurs develop profitable new products, services, or business models that create value for society and their company. But being a social intrapreneur is not easy. The “corporate immune system” tends to fight different or unfamiliar ideas and it can be hard to make a convincing investment case.

Despite the challenges, social innovation is starting to take root where companies have put in place the internal resources, support systems and partnerships that intrapreneurs need to thrive. But this remains unfamiliar territory for many organisations and much more needs to be done to understand what corporate intrapreneurs really need to succeed.

For this reason, Business Fights Poverty has brought together social intrapreneurs from organisations at the forefront of embracing social innovation to share what they are learning about how to enable intrapreneurs to develop and launch their ideas, and to flourish over the long-term.


  1. How do investments in social innovation create value for your business and society? What are some promising examples.
  2. What are some of the challenges for intrapreneurs and how can companies overcome them? What resources, systems and structures need to be put in place to build an intrapreneurial culture and enable social intrapreneurs to flourish?
  3. How can external partners / partnerships help build the support system for intrapreneurs?

We’re looking forward to you joining this online discussion, which we will be hosting live from the Skoll World Forum on 10 April!

Hi everyone - I’ll be moderating the live segment of this online discussion on Tuesday 10 April (from 2.30 UK time). This is a written online discussion - there will be no video or audio.

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I’m looking forward to the discussion!

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Hi everyone - we’ll be starting in 15 mins!

Thanks for reminding us.

Hi everyone - welcome to this online discussion. I’d like to start by asking the panellists to introduce themselves.

Hi everyone - I’m Emily Fry, and I work in Social Innovation at Barclays. I’m have worked in London and New York on strategic partnerships and currently manage the day to day of Barclays Social Innovation Facility. Looking forward to our discussion today!

Hi all, Daryl Burnaby, Director Healthworker Programmes, GSK

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And hello from me, I am Katie Hyson, Director for Thought Leadership with Business Fights Poverty. I have been working within multi nationals for the past decade to deliver social and environmental good through core business - on many occasions through people engagement.

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Hello! I’m Maggie De Pree, Co-Founder of The League of Intrapreneurs - a global community for social intrapreneurs driving #changefromwithin our most influential institutions. Great to be here and looking forward to the conversation.

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Let’s start with your first question:

Great questions Zahid! Social Innovation is a way to harness opportunities for growth - at Barclays, this could be anything from creating retail banking products for under-served markets, or helping social entrepreneurs to grow by creating access the right kinds of funding for them. We also see social innovation as a huge opportunity to develop and retain talent within our organisation. Our colleagues, who will be the next generation of leaders, have the opportunity to lead and innovate products and services!

Thanks Emily for the examples you gave. What support do you give your employees to step up to work with you on Social Innovation initiatives? I imagine that they’ll have strengths in some areas but need help and development in others.

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Building on Emily’s comment and from my experience in both financial services and telecoms as an internal engagement specialist we could see measurable benefits in:
Recruitment - increasingly people seek business with purpose and that enable them to directly get involved with innovation.
People development - L&D teams are often on the hunt for action learning programmes, ways to bring to life purpose and values and to help people work collaboratively across business functions…social innovation provides this.

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We see there major trends driving investments in social innovation and intrapreneurship:

1. Talent and 21st century leadership
A new group of professionals is demanding a new way of working. Not only millennials or upcoming generation Z professionals, but even more ‘seasoned’ professionals understand that we are entering in a new moment powered by technology, purpose and exponential changes. They want to take part in it actively: “they sense (and demand) that their roles are symbiotic with the organization rather than ones of servitude.”

2. Innovation and entrepreneurship
Today, the average age of an S&P 500 company is under 20 years, down from 60 years in the 1950s, according to Credit Suisse. Companies are facing a choice: ‘disrupt or be disrupted.’ The result is an emergence of corporate venture, incubators, hackathons and other investments to unlock innovation and entrepreneurial capacity. (cnbc).

3. System change and sustainability
Social intrapreneurs are pursuing what some might call the holy grail of sustainability: alignment between societal needs and business value. They see the potential for corporations not only to minimize the problems they can cause as they create traditional forms of value, but also to create new forms of value by helping meet societal challenges (Elkington, J. (2008)).


Hi Laura Kelly from DFID joining in. As the Head of Business Engagement it’s great to be part of thsi discussion. At DFID we want to understand how we can best support companies on social innovation. So look forward to ideas from today’s discussion.

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We have found that a combination of technical support (business and financial modelling, innovation approaches) needs to be combined with personal skills (engaging stakeholders, and communicating your idea to different audiences) to be effective. Barclays partnered with Pearson, Cemex and Business Fights Poverty to help intrapreneurs with the resources needed to develop and launch their projects


GSK’s global partnership with Save the Children enables innovations from inside GSK and externally to be tested and scaled in Kenya in collaboration with the Kenyan government. This leverages the R&D strength of GSK with the understanding of developmental needs for women and children of Save the Children


Sorry to be bringing up the rear here… some technical difficulties. I’m Gib Bulloch, former Exec Director of Accenture Development Partnerships, turned author. Launching The Intrapreneur today!


Promising examples?

There are many emerging examples and ways intrapreneurs are creating value for business and society.

Lots of innovation happening around Circular Economy (in part due to advocacy by Ellen MacArthur). Examples include Interface Net-Works: A Closed Loop, Fair Trade Supply Chain Model. Recycling fishing nets and turning them into carpets.

Benefits? Brand, Cost Reduction, Reduced Supply Chain Risk, Environmental Impact, Social Impact

Or the emerging Gender Lens Investing Movement. Barclays is investing in women entrepreneurs and doing research on the benefits of investing in women. UBS is re-evaluating its entire product portfolio and processes with a gender lens.

Benefits? Return on Investment, New Customers and Markets, Brand, Talent, Social Impact

You can read some more examples here:

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