Members of RICSI pose together at an event

Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation

Developing Innovative Strategies to Advance Business and Society

The Challenges We Face

Society faces many serious challenges that threaten our health, mental and financial well-being, and even survival as a species. We need to act. What role can business play in strengthening and sustaining society? The fates of business and society are closely intertwined. Corporate success has sometimes come at the expense of society, but this interdependence has also been positive, leading to great advances in society alongside great advances in commerce. It is indeed possible for corporations to benefit themselves by benefiting society. In order for business to achieve more positive social impact, and to put both business and society on a sustainable footing, company leaders must develop the mindset and tools that enable their organizations to implement innovative business models that create value for their companies by solving pressing social problems.

Gary Cohen
Gary Cohen at the March 1, 2019 "Collective Impact for the Global Goals - Newark" event.

Throughout my career, I’ve learned that creating positive social impact is not at odds with strong business performance; rather, it is a key enabler to the long-term success and sustainability of companies.

-Gary Cohen, RICSI Founder

What is Corporate Social Innovation?

Corporate social innovation (CSI) integrates a company’s full range of capabilities and assets within innovative business models to achieve positive societal impact while advancing the success and sustainability of the enterprise.

Corporations manage their social impact in many ways. Through philanthropy, corporations provide direct donations that help many causes and communities. Through advocacy, corporations have the capacity to shape public policy in ways that can strengthen society. Through corporate social responsibility programs, corporations use their many resources toward the benefit of society. Through shared value creation approaches, firms develop profitable new products and services that address unmet societal needs. CSI integrates the range of established business approaches into a coherent overall strategy designed to achieve maximum social impact through effective and sustainable business practices.

What We Do

Business and business education have key roles to play in building a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable society. Corporations hold vast resources and wield great influence. If those who lead these powerful organizations possess the knowledge and drive to do so, companies can use their strengths to develop and implement innovative methods that improve workplaces, communities, and society at large, while strengthening the performance of their enterprises. There is a critical need for more corporations to understand how their success can be enhanced through innovative practices that create a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable society, and for more business leaders with the experience, perspective, and skills to lead and act on this knowledge.

The Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI) aims to fill this gap by educating current and new generations of business leaders to integrate social innovation into their business strategies. We are developing leading-edge business school curriculum on social innovation and sustainability and leveraging our multi-disciplinary strengths to link with other schools across Rutgers and beyond. We serve as a center of excellence for research and engagement across academia and industry, both regionally and internationally.

Learn more about RBS initiatives related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals [PDF]

Attention MBA Students

Enroll Now in Special Topic Fall 2021 Course

Introduction to Corporate Social Innovation

This course provides a foundation to begin to prepare the next generation of business leaders to integrate social innovation, sustainability, and shared value creation into the core of their operations, culture, and intrapreneurial ventures.

QUASI Seminar Series

The Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation is proud to host the Questions & Unanswers About Social Innovation (QUASI) Seminar Series. Framed as debates, QUASI seminars are designed to help scholars develop richer and more refined research questions about social innovation.

17 Sep
The Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI) is proud to host the Questions & Unanswers About Social Innovation (QUASI) Seminar Series
Attendee of March 1st Collective Impact event speaks into a microphone
Past Events

Community Impact

Learn more about the events and case competitions held by the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation that focus on community engagement and sustainability to inspire a collective impact.

An Unprecedented Opportunity for Corporate Social Innovation: The Future of Work and COVID-19

Upskill your knowledge

The Rutgers Stackable Business Innovation Program (rSBI) program provides stackable graduate-level classes of your choosing to gain relevant business knowledge and skills.

Corporate Social Innovation Courses

Build on your knowledge and earn a certificate by stacking courses together, becoming a subject matter expert (SME) for your company

Who We Are

Mike Barnett's profile picture

Michael L. Barnett, Professor of Management & Global Business at Rutgers Business School, is RICSI’s Academic Director.

Jeana Wirtenberg's profile picture

Jeana Wirtenberg, Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Rutgers Business School, is RICSI’s Associate Director for Corporate Social Innovation Education.

Noa Gafni

Noa Gafni, Executive Director of the Rutgers Institute for Corporation Social Innovation

Deborah Flamengo

Deborah Flamengo, Administrative Assistant for the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation

Gary Cohen's profile picture

Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President, Global Health, and President of the BD Foundation (Becton, Dickinson and Co.), is RICSI’s Founder and a distinguished alumnus of Rutgers Business School.

An attendee of a RICSI event speaking into a microphone

Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation is proud to be at the forefront of an effort with the Aspen Business & Society and the Fetzer Institute to encourage more teaching and research on corporate social intrapreneurship.

Learn more: “Unlocking the Potential of Corporate Social Intrapreneurship: A Call to Scholars.”

Featured Articles

COVID-19 has impacted our lives in many ways. Read these featured articles that highlight how corporate social innovation is taking place, right now, in industries across the nation.

New Jersey Food Banks
By Aditya Palekar

From Gin to Hand Sanitizer: How Distilleries are transitioning their production to support local communities
By Danielle Rowan

Now More Than Ever, Business Requires Compassion
By Talia Saroya

RICSI fellows posing for photo


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