CSR Innovation Lab

Project Brief

Companies in Odisha lack scale and focus in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects with respect to long-term impact for their beneficiaries, particularly in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) sector. Oxfam identified this and sought to play a role in shaping their thought process and working with them to design innovative CSR programs that will help achieve long-term impact. To best accomplish this, the organisation partnered with Quicksand to help frame its vision for an Odisha-focused CSR Innovation Lab. The Lab was envisioned and designed to find new approaches rooted in principles of Human Centred Design and Innovation to engage companies and nonprofits in maximising the potential of CSR endeavours, both from an employee-centric as well as a beneficiary-centric point of view.

The first edition of The Odisha CSR Innovation Lab happened in Bhubaneswar between April 24-25, 2017. The Lab adopted a learning-by-doing approach to tackle specific Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) problems in Odisha by using strategic design methods. The learning experience was structured  around the principles of the DIY Toolkit (should hyperlink to the toolkit) and the participants were coached on  specific tools that could help more reliably design effective strategic CSR initiatives.

The lab participants comprised of professionals from CSR teams of various leading corporates in Odisha, complemented by experienced members of CSOs, NGOs and industry associations. Over the course of a day long innovation lab, the participants utilised design thinking tools to holistically unpack the challenges they face as well as to ideate potential new interventions for the State’s WaSH sector.

Quicksand developed a report that covered the key events and outcomes of the Lab that was circulated across the Oxfam team and participating organisations. This report allowed for the emergent ideas to continue to be explored and evaluated, served as a repository of the challenges and opportunities identified, and connected participants in an effort to further foster the sense of community the lab created.

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