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Porter: shared value at exciting inflection point

May 16, 2018

Shared value has reached an exciting inflection point according to Michael Porter, one of the co-creators of the shared value concept and a Harvard Business School professor, who opened the 2018 Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York on 1 May.

Porter told members of the global shared value community, including leaders from Australia, that this inflection point is of huge significance. He pointed to an article which showed activist investors pushing for corporate action that supports social and environmental change – a clear shift in support of strategies like shared value.

Porters comments were followed by two days of discussions by leaders from business, government and non-profit organisations who are using shared value to solve a range of social issues.

At the end of two days of discussions, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton closed proceedings celebrating the work of the shared value community and recognising the potential for it to become a global movement.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Long-term thinking critical for success of shared value

In her powerful closing remarks, Clinton pointed out one of the challenges to concepts like shared value saying that current corporate laws need to be reviewed to encourage greater long-term thinking.

Bain Capital’s Deval Patrick also highlighted the need for long-term thinking and said he was hopeful about the future of government to solve social problems, but did want to see a “return to a place where government or philanthropy let businesses off the hook.”.

Richard Kennedy CEO of Skanska USA said he felt “drawn to it (shared value) personally, it makes me feel good about being at Skanska and going to work everyday”.

SVP CEO Helen Steel at #SVLeaders

Speakers also included Shared Value Project CEO Helen Steel, who shared insights into the growth of shared value in Australia and the importance of developing a strong community.

A series of panel discussions and interactive sessions explored a range of topics from development of shared value ecosystems to exploring the leadership required to advance shared value.

Key highlights

  • We need to develop the language to help investors understand the future of business is shared value
  • Persistence, measurement and early wins are key to shared value leadership
  • Entrepreneurs have an important role to play in helping companies see shared value opportunities.
  • Companies can choose to lead or follow – change is inevitable, whether pressure comes from young employees or from customers
  • Shared value must be central to business strategy and good strategy people of the future must have strong shared value understanding
  • Diverse ideas is critical in the shared value equation
  • Short term thinking is impacting long term success and we need to get back to long term thinking for business and government

Watch our short video reflections on the first and second days of #SharedValue discussions at #SVLeaders.