This task aims to develop an understanding of social innovation and innovation management in the enterprise. The report highlights the case of Hitachi and its social innovation in developing solutions for the depletion of protective gear due to the impact of the pandemic on the United States health care front line responder. The innovation practice, company response, and recommendation are highlighted for a socially and environmentally responsible organization.
Innovation is the introduction of new products and services or an invention that creates value SKOLL Centre of entrepreneurship 2006). It is the process that adds value and novelty to the organization. Social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions for social and environmental issues in support of progress. Hitachi is at the forefront of responsible business towards its stakeholder and operations by building power for good (Hitachi 2020). Innovative activity and services will motivate business performance through responsible practice in developing social innovation.
The sustainable innovation incorporates technological improvement creating measure for corporate environmental management and energy saving that positively impacts the financial performance of the firm. Socially and environment innovation is important in value creation and differentiation in product or service that will improve the company's prospect in the market (Manufacturing leadership council 2020). The change in performance metrics by investor focus on social and environmental considerations in investment decisions. Socially responsible innovation enhance in business being poised for long term competitiveness and economic prosperity of stakeholder such as local community (Vasin 2017).
The enterprise that has used social issues to leverage social innovation is Hitachi. Due to the pandemic COVID-19, there was severe depletion of protective equipment for the first responders. Hitachi with Esys automation created an immediate facility and designed face masks within 6 days (Hitachi 2020). The GM Hitachi team designed end to end solution from cleanroom by development into mask factory. The key challenge for Hitachi/GM was how they will be deploying resources for good. The company with the result was successful in using technology. Facility and innovation for societal good. The design purpose was assembled from the automotive facility to create a mask design prototype. The company in partnership has to produce a mask with the design schematics. The mask design and probable structure were only limited to China due to the origination of illness in the country of COVID-19. The manufacturing innovation with donations facilities created a socially good and efficient supply delivery chain. Adding a new product to a business line with a fully functional face mask design makes the enterprise innovative in using global manufacturing as well as being a responsible social environment and addressing the concern for supply shortage for first responders with the swift response by Hitachi. The line can produce approx. 100000 mask per day (Hitachi 2020).
Responsibility is associated with innovation practice and varies from time and structure. The socially innovative program by Hitachi to generate raw material through its value chain. The impact assessment of the recycling raw material and maintaining the quality of material and assessment of risk service determines the responsible innovation approach. The future implications of the innovation are linked with the current capacity deployed by the parties involved in manufacturing. The company shall focus on the anticipation of future capacity and innovation as the current capacity of mask for the responders may require a fall in demand with a decline in pandemic cases. The design specification currently used is assessed on the non-plastic material which makes the material easily disposable and environment friendly (Manufacturing leadership council 2020). Hitachi can develop material strength and development of shields further with research through its R&D center and collaborative partner. The company responsiveness is strong with manufacturing and design innovation in facility transformation. The economic ROI for the project is not designed with voluntary participation for workers that prevent its scale expansion and retention in future uncertain.
The key argument that I wish to put forward is Social innovation through the development program. This program within the enterprise by facilitating investment for environmental and social issues developed for the workforce and R&D capacity. More open markets for social solutions to create private units in Hitachi to create large scale development in implementation for outreach. The digital social innovation project at Hitachi as a full-time opportunity will stimulate innovation strategy at the firm with everyday solutions in technology. The public-private partnership has been established and expansion of private partnership in decentralized collaboration to streamline both processes parallel for long term production process (SKOLL Centre of Entrepreneurship 2006). The potential problem with inducing technology and increasing partnerships will increase the cost of operations for the facility and manufacturing.
Social innovation sees philanthropic commitment, voluntary labor, and technological upskilling as applied by Hitachi. The technology porotypes and development facility as power has shown the organization's commitment towards the responsible organization. The responsiveness and clarity are the key attributes for the success of their operations in a short period. The social innovation is developed through a new model and scaling of the current process for innovation and addressing social issues.
Hitachi. 2020. Social innovation Hitachi. [Online]. Available at https://social-innovation.hitachi/en-in/case_studies/pivot-power-gm-hitachi.[ Accessed on August 10, 2020].
Kneipp, M.J, Gomes, M.C., Roberto Bichueti, S.R. Frizzo, K., and Perlin, P.A. 2019, Sustainable innovation practices and their relationship with the performance of industrial companies. Revista de Gestão. 25(2). DOI 10.1108/REGE-01-2018-0005.
Manufacturing leadership council.2020. Powering agile innovation. Available at: https://www.manufacturingleadershipcouncil.com/2020/06/06/hitachi-vantara-powering-agile-innovation/
SKOLL Centre for entrepreneurship. 2006. Social Innovation, what it is, why it matters, and how it can be accelerated. [Online]. Available at http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/761/1/Social_Innovation.pdf. [Accessed on August 10, 2020].
Vasin, M.S., Gamidullaeva, L., and Rostovskaya, K.T. 2017. "The Challenge of Social Innovation: Approaches and Key Mechanisms of Development," European Research Studies Journal, 2(1), pp. 25-45.
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