In November 2011, our agency made a decision to establish a forum for dialogue about, and exploration of, the concept of ‘shared value’ – conceived by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer.
It was named the Shared Value Project.
At the time there was no destination for people inspired by the concept – or deeply skeptical of it – to engage in productive discourse.
The agency identified early on that shared value had merit but could quickly and easily be skewed and undermined before it had a chance to reach its potential.
We had our own healthy degree of skepticism; in the first instance, we asked if shared value is a noble concept and outcome, or would it evolve into a fully formed business practice?
Sharedvalue.org.au was also established in November 2011 and, progressively, throughout 2012, it took shape.
The Project shared information on domestic and worldwide activity and published articles from Australian practitioners wrestling with a range of perceptions and challenges.
We formed a leadership group, convened by Helen Steel and Chaired by Peter Yates AM. It attracted a strong field of directors and executives from leading companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organisations.
In February 2014, a decision was made to incorporate. Shared Value Project Inc was born with Helen Steel accepting the role of Executive Director. Now the Project could build the resources it needed to repsond to escalating demand for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities.
“Over the past two years the Shared Value Initiative has enjoyed a strong and mutually supportive relationship with the Shared Value Project as we have strived to raise awareness for the potential of shared value as a business strategy.”
– Mark Kramer, FSG.
In May, a major shared value milestone was reached.
The Shared Value Initiative, managed by FSG (a Porter and Kramer enterprise), entered into a regional partnership with the Shared Value Project to continue developing the practice of shared value domestically. Importantly, it enables us to link Australian companies to the international community, foster engagement locally and retain the integrity of the evolving practice.
> Read the press release here.
Now that the Shared Value Project is an independent organisation, Ellis Jones has moved to a founding partnership arrangement.
Rhod Ellis-Jones remains Deputy Chair and Founder, a less hands-on role enabling him to focus on public speaking, consulting to business on shared value related projects, and building on the approaches the agency has developed over the past three years (see Social Thinking).
It has been an incredible journey for our agency. We have faced all kinds of responses, investing time, energy, and capital – often against the odds.
Along the way we have extended our competencies from research and communications to social impact analysis and design, and strategic business improvement. We are focused more than ever on the social prupose of our work.
With Australia Post, National Australia Bank, GPT, Stockland, Bendigo Bank all making shared value a strategy at the heart of business transformation, we know this practice is ascendant.
No other ‘big idea’ or practice has the potential of shared value to recast the relationships between business, community and government to build a more just and prosperous society.
Talk to us about your social impact, shared value strategy and social brand equity.
Image at top: Rhod Ellis-Jones, Peter Yates, Mark Kramer and Helen Steel at the launch of the SVP/SVI partnership in Sydney.
Images below: 1) Rhod Ellis-Jones with Mark Kramer; 2) Trevor Clayton (CEO, Nestle Australia) with Rhod Ellis-Jones; 3) Peter Crewe (CEO, AIA Australia) with Shared Value Project leadership