Misconceptions about Social Value Creation
By Krista Buckland Reisner, Babson MBA student. This post is the first in a series providing a glimpse inside the stories and experiences in the newly released book, Creating Social Value.
Before taking a class on social value creation at Babson, these words had little or no meaning to me, other than the broad idea of people trying to make good things happen out in the world through shear will, their own sweat and blood and for free. I thought this mandate was solely owned by the non-profit world. Any for-profit company that proclaimed themselves as carrying forth this mantle, I believed, was either kidding themselves or spinning their marketing messages very effectively to influence customer perception and enhance sales. Luckily, it turned out I was wrong!
What I have learned is that social value creation is something any kind of company can make claim to and in fact, many for-profit organizations do this much better than those in the non-profit sector. I also learned from leaders in firms like Target, Verizon and Ford that social value creation does not have to be a noun. It is a verb. Social value creation can be the way you do all the steps in your process to get to your end product, or your noun. Specifically, social value can be created in the way supply chains are set up, in the way a company shares its assets (like buildings or profits) with its own employees, or the kinds of training programs and incentives offered to those who work for the company.
I now see social value creation as an ecosystem that can be applied internally and externally. If this eco-centric approach is the key driver held up by management, there will be a way to expand on the business adage of “Do well before doing good” to “Do good to do well so you can do good”.