As Social Facilitators we are part of a growing movement of people who believe passionately in finding new and innovative ways of doing business, which create both financial and social returns. In other words we believe in the importance of creating “Shared Value”.

The term ‘shared value” was coined by Harvard Business Professors and leading thinkers in competitive strategy, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer.

Shared Value’ is about doing business differently, and ensuring that your business is a “force for good” in your sector and the wider community.

Leaders across the globe are embracing this concept and finding new and innovative ways to grow their businesses by delivering social value. Like us, they believe that social change can happen as a result of doing ‘good” business.

Instead of seeing social issues as someone else’s problem, enlightened businesses are embracing the opportunity to leverage their unique resources and expertise, by delivering economic value through the creation of social value.

This starts by embedding a defined social purpose into the DNA of your business, and is made real by channeling resources to develop innovations that help solve social problems, whilst delivering business growth.

Company Shop is an example of such a business. It purchases surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, and sells it a deep discount to it’s members whose access to that food would otherwise be limited by it’s price. All parties benefit by extending the supply chain in this way. The food retailers and manufacturers gain revenue and limit their environmental impact by preventing good food going to waste. Members access high quality food at affordable prices. As membership is dependant on employers, those employers are able to add a meaningful employee benefit, whilst Company Shop creates employment for it’s colleagues and profits for it’s shareholders to reinvest in the business.

Defining the Social Opportunity

It’s all about gathering insights into the needs of the communities and identifying opportunities to add value whilst delivering your offer. The success of a Shared Value model depends on a deep understanding of how your business can work with partners and the community to truly make a difference, whilst enhancing and delivering your unique branded offer.

Measuring Shared Value

In order to deliver scalable social and business benefits you need to be able to monitor and articulate your progress.

Innovation

In order for this model to work, you need to break out from old ways of thinking and and embrace exciting and innovative ways of delivering social and economic solutions.

You can readily develop and launch social initiatives when you have a clear social purpose, a deep understanding of the targeted social problems, and the support structures and commitment of your people.

You can build a strong business case for the social initiatives around your normal ROI and defined SROI (Social Return on Investment) targets.

Co-Creating with External Stakeholders

Involving your stakeholders in identifying all the dimensions of the problem and co-creating the solutions is an approach that has been spreading throughout the business world.

It’s about deliberately and strategically enlisting your external stakeholders and strategic partners in your social initiatives to make the difference.

Being clear and explicit about the goal of creating business value alongside social value is at the heart of being able to choose and work effectively with the appropriate stakeholders and strategic partners.

It’s all about Partnerships

To create social and business value, five ingredients—social purpose, a defined need, measurement, the right innovation structure, and co-creation need to be identified and articulated clearly within your organisation.

Once you know your social purpose you will be able to identify the needs you most want to address. By understanding the social opportunities and problems more thoroughly, your teams’ commitment to your social purpose will increase.

A deeply held social purpose is also important for your co-creation enabling you to form deep, trusting collaborative relationships. Understanding a community’s particular needs helps define what can be improved and by how much, and the value of that change to your business.

The degree to which the potential for shared value can be anticipated and aligned with your company’s financial criteria determines the optimal innovation structure for your social venture. And the requirements for delivering both business and social value, in turn, establish which capabilities are needed from your team and your strategic partners.

How we can help

As Social Facilitators we understand how to put these pieces together and align your business to achieve success whilst doing good.