Innovating through Shared Value partnerships

Article published on
February 19, 2016

Umalia and Cohesion Strategies, an expert consulting firm in brand strategy, jointly held the first Shared Value Lab in Montreal. These two companies chose to collaborate and thus demonstrate the essence of this approach focused on creating business and societal value, at the heart of which partnerships are a lever for creating business benefits and positive social impact.

The Shared Value approach, developed by Michael Porter of theUniversity of Harvard and Mark Kramer, stands out from other corporate social responsibility approaches in that it sees societal challenges are a source of innovation for businesses which can enhance the competitiveness and differentiation of the company while simultaneously advancing the economic and societal conditions for sustainable progress.

It is thus using the heart of the business, its strategies, products, services, to create economic and societal impact.

Fifteen executives from five Canadian firms, from different sectors and industries, were present and highly engaged, i.e. IndustrialAlliance, Jefo, Saputo, Shire Canada and Ubisoft. They joined a panel of several high quality international experts, coming from the Center for BusinessInnovation of the Conference Board of Canada, the Shared Value Initiative and formerly from the IBM Smarter Planet initiative.

During the day rich in mutual reflections and discussions, participants had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the approach and above all, to explore the potential for their own business. These discussions lead them to identify innovative strategies and concepts, allowing them to position themselves competitively, to address trade issues and to respond positively to the challenges of society, thus identifying the potential for them to become positive agents of change.

It goes without saying that these companies have only begun to explore what could help them grow their business while also creating a stronger society on all levels.