Creating Social Value
What does it really take to create lasting social value within an organization? Bringing academics, MBA students and active practitioners together for the MBA course Social Value Creation Matters, we went on a 2-year journey to find out. Students were invited to arm themselves with the knowledge they would need to create social value by interviewing top executives who have successfully navigated this terrain.
“This was not a course in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Rather, it was a course in corporate social relevance. Whether inside of large organizations, venture start-ups, government organizations, or NGOs, being aware of what one needs to know, what one needs to do, and who one needs to be to drive both economic value and social value is the most relevant thing we can do to address and advance the new role of business in society.”
And what a journey it was. When we looked back, we realized that a lot of what it takes to move social value creation forward aligned with what we see as being present in successful entrepreneurs. We started to see that it absolutely requires entrepreneurial thinking and acting, and that creating shared value takes more than just a commitment from the top. It is not enough to put a lofty corporate strategy in place if the people within the organization don’t have the tools, mindsets and enabling environment to address new and old dilemmas.
We also saw that we need to change the way we’re educating leaders within an organization to cultivate individuals who can create shared value. It requires people to have an entrepreneurial mindset; to be, in Babson’s language, a “New Entrepreneurial Leader.” To be able to know when to use predictive and analytical thinking, and when to use entrepreneurial thinking or what we at Babson call cognitive ambidexterity. Make decisions through a lens of Social, Environmental, Economic Responsibility and Sustainability. And to be reflective – understanding themselves in the context of their increasingly unpredictable environments.
It is out of this course that the book Creating Social Value grew, and I am proud to announce its release through Greenleaf Publishing. In the coming months, we will be showcasing student perspectives from this journey and offering a look at some of the many stories that couldn’t make it into the finished book. We will also be highlighting some of the more detailed programs and strategies that our leaders and others use to create social value. We are excited about the potential of putting the insights from our two-year journey into the hands of so many aspiring and current change makers, and look forward to seeing the power of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™ inside organizations creating shared value.