A couple months ago we attended the Africa Shared Value Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Jo’Burg which was hosted by the Shift Social Development. We were pleasantly surprised to see the turn out and especially from big business in South Africa with the likes of Woolworths, Discovery Vitality, Nandos etc. We really found it really insightful and it was good to see what corporate SA are doing to offer shared value to the citizens of SA.
We did leave there though asking ourselves this question.
Why is the creation of “Shared Value” such a new concept?
Surely its a no brainer?
Maybe its because we have been in this sector of “doing good” for sometime now and trying to create shared value where possible but it did seem very strange that everyone is now suddenly trying to create business strategies, revenue streams and products that don’t destroy our planet, screw over our fellow man and at the same time still make a profit.
Why haven’t we been doing this from the beginning?
For those of you who don’t know what Share Value is all about. Professor Michael Porter in his Harvard Business Review article titled Creating Shared Value and Mark Kramer presented Creating Shared Value as a business strategy which focusses on the intersection of economic gain and social impact.
According to the Shared Value Initiative, the Creative Shared Value concept is based on the following
1) Re-thinking of products and services, through considering how business can meet the potential of new customers previously never considered to open new markets and products by creating products and services that address what consumers actual want and not told they need.
2) Redefining how we look at productivity in the value chain, all businesses, are and will be affected by resource constraints and environmental concerns which land up putting pressure on supply and making a profit, these challenges create a need for business to be innovative and use their resources to interact differently with suppliers and employees to create more stream lined ways of working.
3) Developing on the ground local cluster communities. Working with governments within their existing networks and supporting suppliers and your partners which affect business and what your business depends on. Co creation is important in order to scale any business efforts seeing the massive opportunity which exists for business to collaborate in overcoming the effort of doing things independently.
Bigger Than Me for sometime now has been helping and working with our clients to develop such strategies and ideas as its fundamental to how business should have been working for sometime now or even from the beginning.
Long gone are the days now of businesses selling, creating and exploiting the world and its customers for profit. The early adopters of this concept will be the ones that succeed in the future while the laggards will be left behind as the world consciously shifts to a more aware space and time.
With Africa fast becoming a untapped power house in the world economy and a continent that has probably the best chance of creating and implementing such strategies from the “get go” there is a massive opportunity for us as African’s to be part of a new shift in creating value that can be shared together and not just by the top 1%. As you all know the gap between the rich and the poor is getting larger but if we are creating products, entrepreneurs and businesses with people in mind as the main purpose, profits will follow and the gap will close.