In the nearly four years since the publication of "Creating Shared Value," companies have turned the concept of shared value into a reality—from theory to practice. Those who were already practicing shared value accelerated their sophistication and deepened their understanding; while new companies were compelled to get involved. Since 2011, hundreds of individual and institutional contributors around the world have done a tremendous amount of research and work to deepen understanding of the concept.

Yet at the same time, organizations are now asking deeper, more detailed questions about implementation. This should encourage us, as it illustrates the steady progress to actualizing shared value within organizations working on complex global issues. And that's why we're launching this research agenda: not as a static set of questions, but as a living, breathing representation of how to do this work. As we think through these questions with our partners around the world, they will naturally evolve into a new set. 

That's where you come in. We can't do this alone. There is a wealth of experience, innovative thinking, and research capacity that is largely untapped on shared value. So we invite you—practitioners, researchers, consultants, partners, and allies—to contribute to the growing body of evidence on how shared value works. Please contribute your ideas for how we can answer these questions together by commenting below or contacting us at info@sharedvalue.org.

 

 

1. How are companies around the world creating shared value, and what results are they achieving?


We are frequently asked for more examples and “proof points” of shared value in action. We also need a synthesized look at where companies are having the greatest impact through shared value and where they are experiencing the most difficult challenges.

Get up to speed:

 

Next questions to tackle:

  • How does implementing shared value change business practices and policies?
  • What business and social value have companies realized through their shared value activities?
  • What stumbling blocks do companies face along the way, how do they address them? Who is still failing—either at creating business value, social value, or both?)
  • What does it mean to be a shared value company?
  • Where can we find detailed examples from the developed world, Asia, and South America? In retail, B2B, B2C, and SMEs? Which nonprofits and NGOs are playing an exemplary role? 

 

2. How do companies measure shared value?


In the shared value community, this is the perennial rock in your shoe. While we continue to see shared value measurement as a process that requires customization for individual companies and activities, we also need to continue to push for additional insights, tools, and resources across industries, geographies, and investor groups.

Get up to speed:

 

Next questions to tackle:

  • What additional guidance and resources do you need for understanding how and what to measure in shared value?
  • What does the investor community need to know about shared value?
  • How can shared value measurement be complementary or additive to existing measurement and reporting models (e.g., integrated reporting)?

 

3. What does it mean to be a “shared value company”?  


Truly embedding shared value throughout a company requires shifts at many different levels. Shared value requires business leaders to have a different mindset, skillset, development opportunities, and performance incentives. Companies are recognizing that traditional business roles need to be redefined for shared value success. Structures and processes need to change. Goals and measurement changes.

Get up to speed:

 

Next questions to tackle: 

  • What are the core attributes of a shared value company? What behaviors or signals indicate the extent of shared value in the company?
  • How do companies set enterprise-level shared value goals?
  • What skill sets and experiences are important for shared value leaders? How should shared value leaders be incentivized or rewarded?
  • How does shared value change key management roles inside of companies: CEO, CMO, CFO, brand manager/marketer, innovation/R&D, or CSR professionals?
  • How does shared value contribute to attracting talent within a company?
  • What processes and structures need to change for shared value strategies to succeed?

 

4. How do companies innovate for shared value?


Building on the "Innovating for Shared Value" article in HBR and more recent writing, we are better understanding of how companies innovate to create shared value.

Get up to speed:

  • Innovating for Shared Value,” a Harvard Business Review article that outlines a framework derived from a study of more than 30 exemplary companies.
  • "Forging the Link between Economic and Social Value" from Salterbaxter MSLGROUP's 2014 publication of Directions outlines FSG's latest thinking on shared value innovation along with other shared value articles from Salterbaxter's Sustainable Business Forum.  

 

Next questions to tackle:

  • How might we also understand shared value in relation to other innovation concepts (e.g., human-centered design, other R&D processes, disruptive innovation)?
  • How can those processes and strategies be applied to shared value?
  • What do shared value innovators inside of companies need to succeed?
  • How can shared value be incoporated into existing and ongoing social innovation? 

 

5. How do companies create a shared value brand?


If shared value is different from other corporate social engagement activities whose primary purpose is reputation, how is “shared value for brand value” different?

Get up to speed:

 

Next questions to tackle:

  • How does a company’s “purposeful pursuit” as a brand connect to shared value?
  • How does shared value change the role of the brand manager?
  • At the initiative level, how does social impact drive consumer engagement/loyalty and vice versa?
  • How do we measure the brand value of shared value?
  • How is shared value different from other types of brand or marketing activities (e.g., cause marketing)?

 

6. What is the role of different sectors in shared value creation?


Partners from other sectors are often critical to enabling shared value. They may play a role in identifying unmet needs, sourcing shared value opportunities, implementing shared value initiatives, and measuring shared value creation.

Get up to speed on sector-focused research:

 

Next questions to tackle:

  • How does shared value partnership change the way that NGOs need to engage with their corporate partners?
  • How do government policies, programs, and partnerships affect companies’ interest in, or ability to, create shared value?
  • How do industry trade associations influence their membership, building awareness and “de-risking” shared value for companies?

 

The Shared Value Initiative will seek to collect, curate, and co-create answers, particularly when we can draw upon the expertise of FSG, our Partners and our Consulting Affiliate Network. For some topics, we have considerable knowledge to build on. For others, we are at the early stages of understanding potential solutions. In all cases, the community would benefit from a deeper understanding of topics as they occur in different markets, industries, and societal contexts. Please contribute your ideas for how we can answer these questions together by contacting us at info@sharedvalue.org

Comments

Misha Pinkhasov's picture

Early in the days of NAIR-SAFIR, my partner and I identified an important element missing from the CSV model. Experience shows us that notions of value in the business and social spheres tends to pull those two circles apart rather than enhancing the overlap. They are missing a third "atom" to bind the molecule. That third atom is the individual: the component part of both busines and society. 

Our central premise is that shared value creation requires an enabling environment of shared values that can guide business decision making and behavior in the right direction.

While CSV is very strong in looking at operations, it lacks the corporate culture elements of management style, human resource development, purpose/mission integration and communications that can foster stakeholder engagement and motivation at the individual level. Engagement, not just policy, is crucial to integrating shared value with corporate identity and demonstrating how it is a quantum leap beyond sustainability.

We have focused on the role of luxury brands, given their innate relationship to reputation, leadership and aspiration, and their ability to shape values and behaviors in both the community and the workplace. Our work in this area (more on that below) directly addresses several of the questions above:

#3. What does it mean to be a "shared value company”?
#5. How do companies create a shared value brand?
#6. What is the role of different sectors in shared value creation?

For input to these (and other questions), I would like to call your attention to the following: 

David Laurel's picture

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  I truly appreciate pushing the CSV discussion further.

  Here are some brief inputs:

1.How does implementing shared value change business practices and policies? 

This question could be asked the other way around, "How do business practices and policies affect the implementation of CSV? Perhaps from the persective of priority setting for strategy it may be useful to identify pre-existing issues that may become stumbling blocks or enablers towards the shift to CSV. This is included to in your 3rd set of questions which states,"What processes and structures need to change for shared value strategies to succeed?"

2. Another question that should be asked and discussed is exactly when is shared value actually created?  Or is that a nuance that is insignificant to the long term effect of CSV?

3. How can shared value measurement be complementary or additive to existing measurement and reporting models (e.g., integrated reporting)? In cadence with CSV's impact to both business  and society, I believe measurements and reporting of those effects should be better than any industry standard.  CSV impact should be simultaneously disussed with and understood by stakeholders even up to the beneficiary/grassroots level.  A societal benefit may not be recognized and appreciated as such if the stakeholders do not see the "before and after" in terms understandable and "relevant" metrics. 

Regards,

David
 

David Laurel's picture

Are there partners or members who may have experiences in converting an existing CSR programme into a CSV operation? It would be nice to share these experiences. Is the transition or "upgrade" possible? Advisable?  Thank you.

Regards,

David

Meghan Ennes's picture

Hello David: Thanks for your question. My FSG colleague Chile Hidalgo wrote a great post last year about how companies can take typical sustainability or CSR to the next level. Click here to read: Are Shared Value and Corporate Social Responsibility Different? A Sustainability Report Re-Imagined

I also suggest that you post this question in the general shared value community, which will improve its chances of getting answered by others. We will also crowd-source it to social media as well. 

David Laurel's picture

Thank you Meghan. I read the article also and the suggestions for transitions to shared value are great.  I would also be keenly interested in actual transitions that are ongoing. Thank you for reminding me to post in the general community section. I will do so in a short while. Hope to hear from you again.

Best regards,

David

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