EETTI & INNO Research Project (Finnish Social Enterprise Association Arvoliitto) has launched findings of it’s research on ethics and innovation in social enterprises.  The research has been aiming to find out how ethics and innovativeness are linked, what type of innovativeness do social enterprises need, and what do social enterprises have to give for today’s Finland. This has been the first time when large Finnish social enterprises’ key principles and innovativeness has been researched.

The research has included 8 large Finnish social enteprises:





Kierrätysverkko Oy 

Kuntoutuskeskus Kankaanpää 

Suomen Olympiakomitea 

Helsingin diakonissalaitos 

55 interviews, as well as employee and customer inquiries were conducted during the research.


Key findings of the research include the 7 strenghts of social enterprises:

  1. Human centricity
  2. High customer satisfaction
  3. Work relevance
  4. Innovativeness
  5. Ethicality
  6. Customer involvement and participation
  7. Ethical leadership

The research abstract concludes, that there were 2 surprising things in the findings: The importance of the social mission is to alignment of the enterprise future activities and  how central the customers role is in how the enterprise operates.


After conducting the research, these concepts are defined by the research team as follows:

Ethicality in social enterprises

Ethicality is based on this research on a thought of dialogic ethics. According to this ethics people, such as customers or employees, and genuinely encontering them,  must be central to social enterprise activities. Appreciative encountering requires trusting relations and continuous dialogue. The aim of the encountering is to act for the best of the customer, finding solutions together with the customer. Responsibility is present in the dialogue; social enterprise workers are responsible for the customer of the service they produce.

Social innovations in social enterprises

According the this research is a new way of operating, product or process which responses to the customer needs, solves problems, produces new solutions and enhances wellbeing in social enterprise and through that in the wider society. Innovations are born in three levels: everyday innovations on a macro-level, partnership innovations in meso-level, and strategic innovations in a macro-level.



The project has also published a book  – Arvovallankumous (Value Revolution) – at the end of May. The book features 16 articles about ethical business from different angles. The book is a easy-to-read collection of knowledge of business where social and economic value is built simultaneously.


More info about the project, the findings and the book (in Finnish):


Featured picture from a presentation of Alf Rehn in Arvovallankumous research findings and book publishing event May 31st 2018.