With her vast experience in business reporting around leadership, management, company culture, and innovation, Joanne will be a tremendous asset to the Board.
We talked to Joanne about her experience so far with shared value in corporate Australia and what she is looking forward to in her new role as a Director.
What does shared value mean to you?
Shared value means integrating economic and social outcomes into a business or a social enterprise from the beginning, and that there is accounting of all the benefits from across the spectrum.
What lead you individually to the shared value idea? How did you come across it?
3 years ago I met Jed Emerson who is the founder of the concept called ‘Blended Value’ for social enterprises. He wrote a paper for the Harvard Business Review, and that concept was then taken further by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer who developed it as a business strategy. That is where I first heard about the philosophy more broadly. When I first met Helen Steel, Executive Director of the Shared Value Project I was introduced to how ‘shared value’ was being implemented as a business strategy in Australia.
What has been your experience reporting on shared value activity?
I think we’ve been the main ones reporting on it. From my experience so far there has been a growing number of businesses taking on shared value, and more businesses with examples of how they are implementing shared value into the way they do business, and that is really a heartening thing to see – that is really where the rubber hits the road.
What role do you think business media can play in the shared value movement?
I don’t think it’s their job to do anything in particular. They can bring awareness to the idea, but it’s not the sort of thing where you can say, “you should be doing this”. Unless they are campaigning media, they are reflecting on what is going on. If it’s more about “how does business find out about this”, yes it is through the AFR and AFR BOSS, but I think it’s really up to business to be spreading the word in a way.
What are you looking forward to in being part of the Shared Value Project Board of Directors?
Separate to my role as Editor of AFR BOSS and at the AFR – as someone who has been a long time reporter and commentator of business and public policy, I’m really interested to see how this movement rolls out, and I’m really looking forward to helping business to understand how to integrate the strategy into business as usual. I have the feeling this is best practice for business, not something they do on the side.
What do you think are some pertinent issues in Australia that could be solved through creating shared value?
I think one of the really big social issues is homelessness. But to me I think every big social problem is a business opportunity.
The fact that there is a lot of people who are unable to be part of the banking system in Australia, even though we’ve got some of the most sophisticated, progressive, safest and strongest banks in the world – there area a lot of people excluded. If a bank can bring in new people into its network in developing economies and it’s working, why can’t similar approaches be applied in the economies that they’re based? I think there’s a lot of people excluded from the economy that business could be looking at as a potential market.
The other thing is, I think that there’s also a great opportunity in Asia for Australian business, and that shared value as a business strategy could be really widely applicable in some other developing countries as well.