The best businesses not only make profits, but bake society’s needs directly into their profit-making. And for the most part, companies are on-board with shared value – at least conceptually. In their Harvard Business Review article Innovating for Shared Value, FSG managing directors Marc Pfitzer and Valerie Bockstette agree, “Corporate leaders… realize that social problems present both daunting constraints to their operations and vast opportunities for growth.” But they add one major caveat: Many are struggling to implement the shared value approach.
On Jan. 15, Pfitzer and Bockstette will address this crucial execution question when they moderate the Innovating for Shared Value webinar, hosted by the Shared Value Initiative and FSG. In their research, they’ve found that private-sector companies often just don’t have the institutional knowledge to drive social change. For that reason they studied more than 30 firms who are excelling at coming up with smart ways to implement shared value. Turns out that they consistently rely on the same five interdependent ingredients for success:
- Purpose: They re-state their corporate purpose around meeting societal needs.
- Defined Need: They focus efforts on a well-researched, distinct unmet social requirement.
- Measurement: They track value creation, for both their business and society.
- Co-creation: They bring in partners at different phases in deliberate and mutually beneficial ways.
- Innovation Structure: They’re intentional about which parts of their organizations house and nurture social innovation.
Joining the conversation will be Mark Thain, VP of Social Innovation at Barclays, and Riikka Timonen, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Kemira. Barclays, the global financial services provider, has expressed invested interest in innovating for social good, mainly in facilitating economic development around the globe. Thain sees shared value as an essential part of executing that strategy: “[It] opens up a whole new opportunity set for us. It forces to think in new ways about our products and services.” Meanwhile Kemira has the clear social goal of serving customers in water-intensive industries, focusing on delivering products that “best improve our customers’ water, energy and raw material efficiency.” In her conversation in the Jan. 15 webinar, Timonen will reflect on how her company is truly living Pfitzer and Bockstette’s five elements, especially having a redefined corporate purpose and a clear social need.
Now is your chance to learn more about how real businesses are implementing shared value – and try your hand at its application. Register now or join the Shared Value Initiative Community to get $20 off the registration fee. Leave your questions as comments here, and we’ll try our best to address them. See you on Jan. 15!