Social business is about much more than social media. A social business is an organisation whose culture and practices encourage networks of people—employees, partners, customers and others—to create business value, and, ultimately, increase revenue and profits.

So who are the exceptional talents building today’s social businesses and what can we learn from them?

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has identified 25 leaders who are successfully applying social technologies, principles and strategies within organisations around the world.

The selection

The EIU’s social business leaders project was launched in late March 2014 with the establishment of an advisory board of leading social business and digital thinkers comprised of three independent experts, an Economist representative and an IBM representative.

The board’s duties included helping to refine a set of leadership criteria developed by EIU editors. The criteria were released publicly as part of an open, social call for nominations held between April 14-28, which yielded approximately 90 online nominations from the public. Additional nominations were made by the members of the advisory board, IBM and the EIU.

The 25 leaders  

The EIU narrowed the group to 40 candidates who most closely met the criteria. These 40 individuals were then ranked, based on scoring by the advisory board, to identify the strongest candidates and establish a list of 25 social business leaders. From the 25 leaders, the board selected five who they believe demonstrate the most exceptional or compelling work. Their approaches to social business are explored in a series of short videos.

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