This paper uses business model perspective to understand how different organisations can through their corporate sustainability policies contribute to the social innovation/entrepreneurship processes. Since the current literature on social innovation concentrates on an individual level and the topic of social entrepreneurs, we propose a wider view of the scene. We analyse how social innovation can be a part of a business model (design) on one hand; and how the social innovation can be sustainable as a result of the integration with the business models on the other hand.
In our analysis, we identify four levels of business involvement in which organisations can both contribute and benefit from innovative social goods or support social innovation. An organisation may address social needs as a part of its marketing strategy, offsets, R&D model, or as a core-business idea. We argue that in any of these situations a company can benefit from supporting social innovation, for instance by good brand recognition, positive associations, innovative products and services, new markets, etc. Fulfilling social needs may be either a by-product of business-oriented activities, such as investigation of existing demand, addressing specific groups of potential customers, inventing a new market segments; or because of the external pressures such as legal regulations or public protests.