by Justin Bakule, Executive Director, Shared Value Initiative

The curtain closed on our sixth annual Shared Value Leadership Summit last week. As the informal MC over the course of this two-day shared value event in New York, I was lucky to have a front-row seat to many enlightening conversations on the stage and off.


Having seen the event evolve from our first convening in 2011, here are my top five moments of inspiration, reflection, and learning from the Shared Value Initiative community:


Jim Kim’s Vision for the World Bank and Shared Value – In conversation with Michael Porter, the World Bank President called for increased partnership between the World Bank and the private sector clearly laying out how the two can work to meet both development and business objectives. Equally impressive? In a post-talk meet n’ greet with multinational execs, Jim suggested specific World Bank corporate partnership opportunities for each company to consider. Set the tone for the whole event, great vision.

Finding Tomorrow’s Talent Today – Attendees murmured audibly and shifted in their seats when Kathryn Minshew of The Muse and Ashifi Gogo of Sproxil mentioned 50 million users and 2 billion product authentications, respectively, through their start-ups taking on social challenges. The acquisition of next- gen talent is a top tier opportunity (or threat) for most large companies. Kathryn and Ashifi ably illustrated what many Millennials are expecting from employers – the full integration of business and social purpose, strategy, and execution. Makes you wonder what your next-gen talent thinks of you.


Making the Case for Equity – Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink’s President, made a compelling case for why equity matters both as a function of changing demographics of the U.S. and how the private sector should see equity as a business opportunity to be seized. Does anyone think this topic is going to diminish in importance especially in the U.S.? No way. Loudest applause over two days, no doubt.


Aligning Business-In-Society MovementsNew York Times columnist and moderator Eduardo Porter’s helpful skepticism of how companies will or won’t change with the times was met by the expertise of Raj Sisodia representing conscious capitalism, Mindy Lubber representing sustainability, and Mark Kramer representing shared value. Mixing high-level concepts with hard results, all three made the business case that redrawing the lines between businesses and society is far from a distraction but actually within management’s fiduciary duty. Great to see various business-in-society concepts coming together.


Complex Problems, Complex Partnerships – An Initiative partner day conversation laid out the case for how companies engage in complex change initiatives when the potential shared value returns go up but control goes down and the need for broader partnerships goes up. Foreshadowing upcoming FSG research, our leading companies are increasingly making the business case for exactly these kinds of complex investments and starting to illustrate the systems leadership required to deliver results. Are you on the cutting edge shared value practice?


Finally, I mentioned at the event that we have officially opened up nominations for Fortune Magazine’s Change the World list, in which FSG and the Initiative are assisting in research. If your company (or one you admire) is tackling the world’s social problems through business innovation, please nominate them for the Fortune ranking.


And of course, thanks to all who attended this year’s Summit. Please continue the shared value dialogue and momentum in the community on sharedvalue.org.

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