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New Tool Hits Go On Shared Value

26 April 2017 at 8:28 am
Wendy Williams
A new interactive tool to help business, not for profits and government work through the shared value opportunities in social issues could “be the answer to some of the world’s curliest problems”.

Wendy Williams | 26 April 2017 at 8:28 am


New Tool Hits Go On Shared Value
26 April 2017 at 8:28 am

A new interactive tool to help business, not for profits and government work through the shared value opportunities in social issues could “be the answer to some of the world’s curliest problems”.

The new book, SV GO, launched on Wednesday to coincide with the 2017 Shared Value Forum in Melbourne, provides a “how to” approach to solving some of the world’s biggest issues and offers a catalogue of projects that are “ready to go”.

Taking the top 10 ideas developed at last year’s forum, the book provides a framework to help teams combat issues such as heart disease, obesity, key worker housing, transport, aged care, loneliness, climate change, extreme weather, disaster recovery.

The ideas are all based on the Shared Value Worksheet, co-designed by Shared Value Project, IAG and Republic of Everyone.

Republic of Everyone founder and partner Ben Peacock told Pro Bono News it was based on “the idea on a page”.

“We looked at how you can essentially boil down a shared value idea into a page, which starts with an SDG [Sustainable Development Goal], works it’s way through to which target within that SDG you are seeking to improve or work upon, it then goes ‘OK outline your idea in simple terms’ and asks you to consider the social and economic or business benefits you are going to get out of it,” Peacock said.

“But it also integrated one more piece which is the concept of collective impact.

“Shared value and collective impact are quite close cousins, so who else would you bring along as partners on this program to really make it work well? And of course trying to think in terms of one business, one NGO, one government, but not restricted to, you can actually have one sector, one government department, one NGO sort of thing.

“So we developed that as this sort of one page template and it worked really well, we found, to be able to define an idea quite quickly, because if you start by knowing the problem you are going to solve, you can then sit there with a piece of paper or the whiteboard and a team and go what if, what if, what if.

“Like any sort of template, it forces you to think your idea through a little bit. And bang if you can put your idea on a page, pretty quickly in about an hour essentially you can design an idea. And we thought this was pretty powerful stuff.”

The worksheet was launched at a workshop, run by Peacock and Ramana James from IAG, at last year’s Shared Value Forum, where they challenged around 20 groups of 10 to come up with solutions for different problems which were then voted on.

Peacock said there were some “really solid ideas”.

“We thought it was a bit of a waste, just to have that as great we ran a workshop in the shared value forum,” he said.

“So we decided to package it all together in an inspiration booklet.

“It is 10 ideas waiting to be adopted. But also 10 thought-starters if you like, to make people realise that they may not want any of those 10 but they could do 10 themselves very quickly just using this sort of process. So it’s just trying to inspire people to get involved and get a project going in their own organisation.”

Peacock said shared value was still a new concept and tools such as this were important to inspire thought on how it could work.

“In a perfect world, I would love people to adopt the ideas and make them happen, that would be fantastic, that would be the ultimate crowdsourced idea, you got 200 people to help design it and then voted on it and somebody makes it happen, you go: ‘Wow that would be amazing’,” he said.

“Probably even bigger than that I’d really love people to go: ‘Geez this is a new way of looking at how fast and easy it is to start to create ideas. But then add their own creative open source thinking on how they do it. And sort of add to it. That is just our version from working in shared value for a few years, what do other people do? Can we all learn from each other.”

He said in particular it would be good to see businesses adopting the tool.

“Inevitably, if you look at collective impact marrying in in some way, the best shared value stuff involves more than one organisation,” he said.

“It involves business, government and NGO classically. But if you were going to choose a lead, I would always choose business because they have the resources, both time and money and the discipline, to make something happen.

“I think if you want to change the world, NGO and government are already sort of working on that, it is business that has the real power to add a new level to what’s already happening out there in the world.

“So I think it is relevant to everybody and of course it could be relevant to an NGO to help them have a tool to approach central partners for themselves but if I was going to choose a target, I would really love to see adopt it, it would be business.”

Peacock said shared value gave organisations an opportunity to do business better.

“You know everybody cares, nobody wants to make the world a worse place but I think that people feel the need…[to leave their] social and environmental beliefs at the door when they walk in sometimes,” he said.

“I think what this has done has given everybody in a business the right to say: ‘Oh wow actually those things can help me do business better if I have those social beliefs.’

“So it gives a very business focused approach at that board level, but it gives almost a right to bring that part of you to work as long as you can turn it into a business idea for everyone in an organisation.”

It comes as this year’s Shared Value Forum is set to explore the theme Business Reimagined: Innovating Through Shared Value and will focus on the innovation required for companies to create successful shared value initiatives that benefit society and create economic returns.

The forum, which includes in-depth case studies, lab sessions and panel discussions, will also seek to address the innovation required to fund initiatives, the industries that can benefit and the role that government can play in supporting their development.

Shared Value Project executive director Helen Steel told Pro Bono News one of the aims of the conference was for it to not just be a talk fest but to inspire action and have something concrete at the end.

“It is important for us as the concept grows and the community builds that we are providing additional resources for the organisations who want to tackle social issues in a big way,” Steel said.

“I guess what we would like with SV GO is a tool that any practitioner, or student even, could use to think about how they might approach thinking about some of the social issues that they might look to take on.

“[The ideas] could very well be something that a company or organisation decides to take on itself, or it could just be a source of inspiration and help an organisation go through a similar process in deciding what is the social issue that they potentially could, and should, be taking on. What are some of the ways that they can address some of those social issues.”

She said this type of thinking outside the box was really needed.

“If as a country, and across the globe, if we are really going to innovate to be sustainable and to change and adapt then it is this type of thinking that we are going to need to encourage more of to generate these really great ideas,” she said.

She said there was an increased awareness in business organisations as to the role they play in the communities in which they operate.

“I think that there is a genuine sense from organisations that they want to be able to contribute more and I do very much feel that that is a growing sentiment among particularly big corporate companies. They are really genuine in how they are considering it,” she said.

She said she was pleased with the number of new organisations who were attending the forum.

“That is kind of exciting in itself, just broadening the audience that we are getting that outreach to,” she said.

“For us it is just continuing to build an ecosystem to have a community of practice that is really thriving in this field to continue to see more and more companies across Australia adapting the shared value principles and using it as part of their business strategies, that’s really the outcome that we’re looking for.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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