As the economy shifts, and large corporations seek new avenues to retain financial standing and brand recognition, a new type of company is emerging. Author Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls these "vanguard companies," and like IBM, Proctor and Gamble, and others, they not only focus on the business at hand, but also apply their resources in big ways to areas that might be unexpected.
In her book, Supercorp
, Kanter gives in-depth accounts of some of these situations. For example, IBM's involvement in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami. The effort the company invested was, in some ways, beyond what even the government was capable of, raising an interesting situation and questions of who people can depend on in times of need. From these stories, Kanter identifies various traits of the management involved, and stresses that these traits are important to have as companies strive to become not only relevant, but powerful in ways never seen previously.
In fact, in Kanter's opinion, social issues are the new frontier of innovation, and those who aren't focusing there, aren't going to last, as situations and demands for support continue to rise. This fact, and the book itself, are really interesting in that they combine non-profit sentimentality with real capitalist structures to create companies that may indeed become super heroes to many.