The Case for Shared Value in the Education Sector

One of the most critical factors in the success of any partnership is the alignment of goals.

Nowhere is this truer than in education. In the classroom, when a teacher and a student are aligned on a specific learning goal, growth occurs. When parents and teachers are aligned to the goal of supporting students, the potential for achievement increases. When a school system’s teachers, principals, administrators and other stakeholders are aligned on broad organizational goals, the cornerstone for systemic success is in place.

It is also important that businesses serving the education sector share their customers’ goals. Discovery Education, which I am privileged to lead as CEO, is dedicated to aligning our business goals to our educational partners’ academic goals. Therefore, creating shared value is one of our core principles. Discovery Education is the leading provider of high-quality, curriculum-based, digital content; professional development; and assessment resources to schools around the world. It is an organization driven by a dedicated team of education professionals passionate about creating the authentic digital leaning environments today’s students need and deserve.

The superintendents, administrators, principals, and teachers we work with on a daily basis share our desire for accelerating student achievement. Each day our partners tirelessly pursue their goal of preparing each student for college, careers, and citizenship.

Discovery Education and its school-based partners’ shared passion for student success creates what I believe is a rarity in the business world: a business relationship in which both partners’ interests and goals are fundamentally aligned.

This alignment creates a symbiotic relationship between Discovery Education and our education partners around the globe. Very simply, we operate within a system where our business only succeeds when our educational partners’ students achieve academic success.

This high level of interdependence can not only have a tremendous impact on the evolution of our business, it can improve academic outcomes for students worldwide. At Discovery Education, it has helped guide the development and delivery of groundbreaking resources such as the award-winning digital textbook replacement, the Techbook; our professional development services for educators; and our global professional learning community, the Discovery Education Network.

In addition, our deep understanding of our educational partners’ needs has helped shape Discovery Education’s creative partnerships with school systems and Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, associations, and others interested in supporting educators as they transform teaching and learning. Together, these examples demonstrate how Discovery Education is innovatively reconceiving products and markets, increasing productivity in the value chain, and improving educational outcomes in the areas in which it operates, all while growing revenue.

As a business, Discovery Education has embraced the philosophy of shared value. It has provided shape to our existing partner alignments; generated sustainable, long-term economic benefits for our business; and helped create the structures and services supporting the transition from a static, print-based learning environment to digital learning environments more in synch with the needs of modern students.

As the business community’s engagement with the education sector continues to deepen, I call on my colleagues in companies worldwide to incorporate shared value principles into their corporate cultures. The economic benefits to business are clear. Clearer still is the potential for long-term improvements to our education systems and our increasingly global society.

Bill Goodwyn is CEO of Discovery Education, the global leader in transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks – now used by over 1 million students nationwide — multimedia content that supports the implementation of the Common Core, professional development, assessment tools and the largest professional learning community of its kind.

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