elea Center for Social Innovation appoints Senior Fellows to drive study of social impact in the global economy  - IMD Business School
News Stories · Social Innovation

elea Center for Social Innovation appoints Senior Fellows to drive study of social impact in the global economy

IMD’s Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Katherine Milligan, Maximilian Martin and María Helena Jaén as its first Senior elea Fellows – a pioneering research initiative that will accelerate the center’s efforts to study and encourage the mobilization of private capital to deliver social change.
September 2021

The three appointees – thinkers and practitioners at the cutting edge of social innovation – will focus on timely research projects to enhance the center’s ongoing efforts to lead the conversation with the business community around social impact, and to develop and grow the impact economy landscape.

“We look forward to welcoming these pioneering and inspiring Senior elea Fellows into the wider IMD community,” said Professor Vanina Farber, the Director of the elea Center for Social Innovation, which works to inspire and encourage leaders in business, government and civil society to foster and promote social innovation.

“As a community, we are excited to boost the scope and impact of their chosen projects by leveraging IMD’s global community and its deep expertise in impactful and relevant applied research, executive education and responsible leadership in the coming months,” she said.

Each of the new elea fellows brings considerable experience and insight in different areas of interest for the center and its clients, from impact investment to social entrepreneurship.

Milligan, Director of the Collective Change Lab, will investigate how to create a new frame for social entrepreneurship beyond the current limited scope of solving individual social problems.

“Our complex social and environmental problems are not technical problems that can be solved with single-point intervention,” said Milligan, who features in the Euclid Network’s Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise. “They are cultural, relational, normative, and power problems.”

“Our students, our graduates, and social change leaders of all stripes need to be trained to think about problems as complex systems made up of individuals and institutions,” she said. “To be effective at creating change, they need a deep understanding of the interconnected relationships, power dynamics, and mental models of the people who comprise that system.”

Author of Building the Impact Economy, Martin will conduct research to help business leaders come to terms with, and seize the opportunities of, the emerging new order of business, finance and impact investing.

“Corporate leaders and leaders in other sectors need to update their frameworks of value creation,” the Founder of Impact Economy said. “They need to do so in ways that do not only integrate impact at the micro-level, but to fundamentally reassess how to best proceed to align business and profitability objectives with the changing framework conditions regarding the viability of our societies and planet.”

Jaén is an Honorary Professor at the Universidad de Los Andes, International Professor at IESA and Adjunct Professor at the Miami Herbert Business School. Building on her existing work with Professor Farber, she will produce teaching cases and educational content on the impact of social innovators who lead enterprises that create economic benefits, while also benefitting society and the environment.

“We are studying innovative organizations led by responsible leaders that challenge the status quo,” the expert in responsible leadership, business ethics and sustainability said. “The managers and leaders behind the organizations we are examining are more than simply agents of change.”

The move to appoint three world-leading experts at the cutting edge of social innovation reflects an acceleration in the center’s work and underlines the scale of its ambition to deliver real learning and real impact, as its sphere of influence and community continue to grow following its inception in 2018.