The central premise behind creating shared value is that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. Recognizing and capitalizing on these connections between societal and economic progress has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth and to redefine capitalism.That's a big claim. I mention is now because Mark Kramer has been in Australia as guest speaker at a conference arguing that:
The Australian government should outsource social services to the private sector by providing tax breaks to corporations behind business ideas that help the vulnerable, leading US business scholar Mark Kramer has said.
The co-founder and managing director of US-based social impact advisory firm FSG said the government played a key role in galvanising companies to come up with services that would be both lucrative for the provider, and beneficial to the disadvantaged and neglected sectors of society – a concept he labelled "shared value".
On the surface, the idea that Governments should provide tax breaks to galvanise the private sector to come up with innovative solutions has little to do with the original concept of creating shared values. That focused on business doing things because, in the end, business would benefit, a very different concept from providing tax subsidies to unleash business creativity to solve social problems.
I mention this now in part because I am interested in the evolution of ideas about the role of business in society and the way this translates to rules and structures, more because it links to a very current trend, the search for "innovative solutions" in meeting social needs at a time when government action is increasingly constrained by the combination of cash constraints changing views about the role of government.
I call it the search for a magic bullet, and it doesn't work. This doesn't mean that I am necessarily opposed to the concepts of either corporate social responsibility or the creation of shared vales. It's just that I find current discussions very confused. Certainly they confuse me!.