In 2014, the Social Innovation team at Toyota Motors North America approached FSG to develop a strategy to align with core business goals and to create social impact. The Social Innovation group oversees corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. It also acts as the North American hub of the Toyota Mobility Foundation, Toyota’s global philanthropic division headquartered in Japan. The North American Social Innovation team had identified “mobility” as the underlying theme for its social impact efforts, in alignment with Toyota’s Global 2020 Vision, which aims to “Lead the way to the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people.”
LATONDRA NEWTON, FORMER GROUP VICE PRESIDENT, SOCIAL INNOVATION, TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA AND FORMER CHIEF PROGRAM OFFICER, TOYOTA MOBILITY FOUNDATION
FSG worked with leaders across various business units at Toyota Motors North America to develop a strategy that could advance mobility—a business goal—while also creating social impact for communities that needed it the most. This strategy focused on 2 areas:
- Personal mobility: FSG worked with Toyota to explore how the business could build on its vehicles, robotics, and expertise in universal design as well as its philanthropic assets to enable affordable mobility for people with disabilities, aging Americans, and their caregivers. This strategy focused on providing a range of solutions, such as on-demand transportation and accessible vehicles, with varying levels of integration in the business.
- Green mobility: FSG partnered with the Environmental Sustainability team at Toyota Motors North America to identify what it would mean to move beyond compliance and sustainability efforts to create environmental impact, particularly in low-income communities, while strengthening its competitive advantage. This strategy focused on how the Social Innovation team could support business efforts by driving market adoption of environmentally sustainable technologies.
In 2015, FSG designed a philanthropic strategy with a global scope for the Toyota Mobility Foundation. This strategy focused on 2 areas:
- Urban mobility: Aimed to put access at the heart of mobility systems in global metropolitan urban areas, which are expected to include 66 percent of the world’s population by 2050.
- Personal mobility: Aimed to address mobility challenges for people with disabilities and the elderly.
Throughout this work, FSG engaged global, national, and local experts in mobility to better understand the issue. Toyota business leaders and mobility experts worked together to develop engagement opportunities for Toyota. FSG conducted interviews and group discussions with Toyota executives from across business units, levels, and roles, to better understand the company’s journey, evolving corporate vision, competencies, and assets, as well as employee passions and capabilities. FSG mapped these insights to identify specific strategies, assign business units to lead the work, and suggest social and business metrics that the company could use to measure performance. Finally, these strategies were also vetted with regional communities where Toyota was considering implementation, as well as with brand strategists to better understand how consumers might respond to this shift.
One of the critical success factors for this work was Toyota’s executives’ commitment to the potential social and business impact they could create. In team meetings, FSG and Toyota executives discussed the questions that all organizations seeking to create social impact should consider: How might we make progress against this issue? What could be the business case if we did this work well? How might we engage in authentic partnerships to do this work more effectively?
This focus on impact helped Toyota’s team create a coherent vision and strategy across its functions and geographies to guide its work. Today, Toyota continues to make progress toward its goal to lead innovation in the mobility space.
About the Toyota Mobility Foundation
The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in August 2014 to support the development of a more mobile society. The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, governments, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world.