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BUSN11081 Business Wealth | How Innovation Address Social Need

How can innovation address social need? With reference to one particular organization of your choice, explain how those on the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ may benefit from the innovation imperative.



How can innovation address the social need

In every organisation, the people or employees face certain issues that might affect their personal as well as professional life. Especially some social needs or challenges can be social exclusion, poverty, a considerable level of inequalities, health and demographic challenges, access to education and healthcare facilities. Social needs in organizations arise because of the working conditions, education, community development, health. Therefore, in order to meet these social needs strategies, ideas or activities are implemented. The level and nature of social challenges differ from person to person, as well as from one organisation to another (Innovation policy platform, 2013). Innovation can help address various social needs in the organisations to improve their productivity and performance. The issue of social exclusion can be resolved in a way by reducing unemployment and creating opportunities for the disadvantaged groups especially. In addition, production of goods that are easy to use and afford for the public can diminish the inequalities or differences between different sections of the society. Thus, it will help in improving the living standard of people. Innovation can also bring light towards addressing health needs by providing more personal and preventive health care products.

Company background (BHP-Billiton Ltd) 

In the year 1885, BHP Billiton Ltd was established. It functions to perform the operations of extracting minerals, oil and gas. The formation of the company takes place through the merger of the Australian Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) and the Anglo-Dutch Billiton, plc, which formed as a dual listed company. The company Headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. BHP is the largest mining

company based on market capitalization. BHP operates in a broad sense, diversified operations in mining, processing, oil and gas production operations in over 25 countries. Therefore, the company has five operational units, which are, coal, copper, iron ore, petroleum, and potash. Innovation in mining industries is very crucial if they want to grow and develop. As with the reduction in productivity, bringing new and innovative methods of working can keep costs down particularly through automation. The main aim or the corporate purpose of the organisation is to look towards the interests of shareholders, creating value through procuring, developing and marketing of the resources. BHP focuses on three core values such as leadership, client focus and integrity and collaboratively brings about innovation to the market in a culture that demands competence, value. These all factors will lead to improving the services and lives of the people. BHP is consistent with the strategies that mean they have the plan to grow the value of BHP. The company follows a strategy to own and operate a long–life, with least cost and expandable upstream assets that vary according to the commodity and market (BHP, 2018).

Social Need (Access to Healthcare)

Amongst all the different social issues present according to the company, access to the healthcare is one of the major issue observed in the mining sector. The rising number of the elderly people demands advanced health care services and the public expenditures related to them. Since, mining sector consists of people of different age groups from different backgrounds, who lack nutrition, proper food, shelter. Resolving the social need of the workers in the BHP mainly includes both technical and organizational innovation which can contribute towards addressing health problems by providing more personal, and preventive health care products (Bucher, Jager and Prado, 2016). Providing opportunities and services to the older people to remain active and work with more enthusiasm. The success of innovation in any organisation depends on two things that are resources such as people, money or finance, equipment, tools and the capabilities of the organisations to manage it. Innovation benefits in different ways depending on the nature of operations carried out. It means successful innovation is associated strongly with the manner a corporation is socially responsible manage projects, how they employ the inputs or resources towards attaining the goals. Lastly, how they link up and fulfil their customer requirements (Yakovleva, 2017).

Access to healthcare is crucial to every individual because it affects or influences the overall physical, mental, and social health condition and quality of life. One of the social issue at BHP has some barriers such as the high cost of care, and lack of availability of services. These barriers lead to complex problems such as the inability to receive the benefit of preventive services, financial burdens on the families of the people working in the organisation. Improving the access to healthcare depends on the availability of source to people.

To receive the benefits of health care, there should be a proper implementation of the ambulatory system and health check-up of the workers to maintain their health record. BHP donates the one per cent of profits calculated before tax to community programs at their own discretion. In this way, the company fulfils their social responsibilities. Where a high degree of diseases exists in their organisation, they often provide control programs to the communities and workers. These initiatives include carrying out projects to help maternal and child health. Use of several productive programmes will contribute towards improving the status of healthcare access for the people (Global communities, 2014). Use of the ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) program in Colombia was introduced which focussed on providing access to basic healthcare facilities to the people. In addition, they have made investments in community health to improve the quality of medical care to people, who find it difficult to afford (BHP, 2015).

New and modern systems of managing health and healthcare may lead to success in achieving the goals. It means setting up or organising healthcare programs within the organisation. They include the regular health check-up of the workers so that they can have ease of access. Other programs may include Vaccination for the children of the workers in the mining sector free of charge or cost (Healthy people, 2018). For example, in the case of the workers who have risks to issues such as hypertension and different types of cancer. Organising programmes and putting efforts towards the development of new technology would help in improving access to healthcare. Developing apps will further help in reporting the emergency need for healthcare facilities to any individual. Healthcare facilities are most vital to every individual in each organisation, so there should be an improvement in terms of resources and quality (Page, 2014)

The benefit to the poorest socioeconomic group (Bottom of the pyramid)

Bottom of the pyramid, also known as base of the pyramid is defined as the largest, but indicates the poorest socio-economic group. In other words, it means as a group of more than 4 billion people who live in wretched poverty. Therefore, a person belonging to this group faces exclusion from the modern globalised and civilised societies, consumption and access to financial services. It is a market-based economic development model that aims at reducing poverty along with ensuring growth and profits for the multinationals. Firms in different industries commonly use this phenomenon. BOP approaches reciprocate poverty as an economic opportunity for MNCs (Financial times, 2018). It is based on three premises such as first can be stated as that the World’s poor consist for the most massive growth opportunities and profit potential for the multinationals. Secondly, those multinationals should play a leading and supportive role in exploiting the usefulness and potential of those difficult to access markets. Third, premise states an initiative to bring poor to the global economy along with taking measures to reduce poverty. BOP (Bottom of the pyramid) consists of people who often face many difficulties, but they are more concerned with their present consumption rather than future.

Innovation can help improve the living standard of the people under BOP. People in the mining company often face some difficulties while working. They work under different types of conditions and using eco-friendly products at the workplace will enhance the standard of living of the people at BOP level (Career mine, 2018). In other words, establishing a mechanism which would not harm their health benefit them. There are a number of dangers to miners while working in the mining factories such as gas explosions, equipment accidents, and a lot of health risks or respiratory diseases (Kohler, 2015). To reach or satisfy the needs of those 4 billion should be on 4A's, which are Availability, Affordability, Acceptability, and Awareness. BOP entrepreneurs are some part of the society so they have a significant impact on the business firms and their environment.

Bottom of the pyramid (BOP) emphasizes the world’s poor that represents a huge untapped consumer market for the corporations to explore. Innovation is correlated with the multinationals or entrepreneurship consists of three phases which include, generating new ideas, then selecting the appropriate ones and then implementing them (Sinkovics, Sinkovics and Yamin, 2014). In addition, innovation in the mining aims to improve the worker safety, increase efficiency and reduce the external environmental impacts. In these industries specifically, innovation is strongly associated with the growth and success of the organisation, shareholders and risks with the attainment of goals and objectives. Managing innovation means building a dynamic capability that is often not an easy task because innovation cannot take place without taking risks (Dixon, Meyer and Day, 2014). Therefore, to develop and promote the lives of people innovative strategies in the mining organisations such as BHP are used, which often constitutes of lower-level workers.

Push and Pull factors

Push-pull factors are those that drive people to move from one place to another. Therefore, the combination of these push and pull factors helps to determine migration or immigration of people from one place to another. Certain push and pull factors that push people to become entrepreneurs such as unemployment, job insecurity, and disagreement with the management, present working conditions, methods and technologies used. Whereas pull factors towards innovation in the mining sector includes independence, achievement and personal wealth. There are some push and pull factors, which operate in the company BHP, these include the push factors such as poorly governed/ungoverned areas, government repression or violations, and the threat from the culture of the society, are the push factors. These factors serve to be known as a reason for the workers in the industry to leave a particular region or country. Push and pull factors influences the working and performance of the BHP Billiton, in a way that the worker may leave the place and migrate to the another city or country which leads to the loss of efficient human resource of the organisation. These factors influence the entrepreneurship and ultimately affect the employment in the organisation. In turn, it will affect the motivation of the existing employees and the future prospects to be a part of the BHP.  Hence, it can be stated that in every organisation push and pull factors serve as initial triggers.

Benefits to the organisation 

Innovation plays a vital role in all organisations to ensure growth and survival in the market. Any business firm or management should look towards new ways to improve their working and performance. There can be numerous ways to develop new ways of conducting business activities. Innovation solves many impossible problems, increase workplace productivity by implementing new ideas and processes, leads to creativity, and brings about new and unique features. Mainly in mining industries, there has been used a ‘zero harm approach' which focuses on improving the working environment. This will benefit the organisation as a whole by sustaining their strategies, goodwill and workers (Zero harm, 2018). Every organisation must represent itself in such a way that the organisation innovates in every aspect. In general, sense, innovation is the term that defines the availability of a new, viable business offering. However, innovation should be within certain limits so that it does not dilute the organisational capacity to use innovation. It can be in the form of bringing new business opportunity by introducing new and advanced technology for leading outcomes. In this fashion, innovation and entrepreneurship are correlated (Galindo, and Mendez, 2014)


To conclude the above discussion it states that the ‘innovation’ is the most important key factor in every organisation. Redressal of social needs is one of the advantages of using innovation in any organisation. The social needs to be resolved for enhancing performance as it involves many difficulties that people usually face. Every level in the organisation has some roles and responsibilities in order to achieve success and sustain growth. Specifically, mining industries need to be innovative to operate successfully for a long duration. It also caters to the needs of those lower level workers also who live in extreme poverty. They are known as ‘Bottom of the pyramid'. Among all such social needs or issues, some are access to healthcare. Not only, those under poverty are advantageous, but the organisation as a whole. Because innovation brings about new business, offerings that further brings opportunities considering push and pull factors. Advancing or promoting the access to healthcare facilities for the people working in the mining industries was a major concern.


BHP (2015) Improving Health in Communities. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

BHP (2018) Structure and Strategy. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Bucher, S., Jager, U., and Prado, A.M. (2016) Scaling private health care for the base of the pyramid: Expanding versus broadening service offerings in developing nations. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), pp. 736-750.

Career mine (2018) Work environment. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Dixon, S., Meyer, K. and Day, M., (2014) Building dynamic capabilities of adaptation and innovation: A study of micro-foundations in a transition economy. Long Range Planning, 47(4), pp.186-205.

Financial Times (2018) Definition of a bottom of the pyramid (BOP). [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Galindo, M. Á. and Méndez, M. T. (2014) Entrepreneurship, economic growth, and innovation: Are feedback effects at work?  Journal of Business Research, 67(5), pp. 825-829.

Global communities (2014) ANDA: Creating Sustainable Change for Vulnerable Communities in Colombia. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Healthy People (2018) Access to Health Services. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Kappel, M. (2018) 4 Benefits of Innovation in Business. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Kohler, J.L. (2015) Looking ahead to significant improvements in mining safety and health through innovative research and effective diffusion in the industry. International Journal of Mining, Science and Technology, 25(3), pp. 325-332.

Page, T. (2014) Notions of innovation in healthcare services and products. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 8(3), pp. 217-231.

Sinkovics, N., Sinkovics, R.R., and Yamin, M. (2014) The role of the social value creation in the business model formulation at the bottom of the pyramid – Implications for MNEs? International Business Review, 23(4), pp. 692-707.

The Innovation Policy Platform (2013) Addressing social challenges. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18]

Yakovleva, N. (2017) Corporate social responsibility in the mining industries. London: Routledge.

Zero harm (2018) Employee Well-being Policy. [online] Available from: [Accessed 26/06/18

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