Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Shared Value Initiative headshot

FSG Sponsored Series

Building Shared Value

Intel and Cisco: Blazing New Ground in Shared Value

Learn More

The early, emergent days of measuring shared value

An audience member asked me, “Is that all you’re going to present? Is there some more data here?”

I said, “That’s it. After all, it is the New Metrics for Sustainable Business conference.”

My response, while a bit flippant, reflected today’s reality. Early days. Emergent. When it comes to “measuring shared value,” most companies are in the nascent stages of understanding how to do it effectively.

But they are thirsty to learn, which is why audience members were drinking in the advice and lessons from Intel and Cisco at the Sustainable Brands panel that I recently moderated in Philadelphia.

Both companies, long-time leaders in the corporate philanthropy/CSR space, are also blazing new ground in shared value. In the past year, both have invested in building knowledge and systems to effectively measure shared value in existing and new initiatives around the world.

Courtney Martin, Finance Specialist in the Corporate Affairs Group at Intel, shared how Intel has incorporated measuring shared value lessons into its new initiative design process. With its Girls and Women program that addresses gender-based barriers to education and technology, Intel knows it needs to anticipate both the business and social results of its shared value efforts and put in place measurement systems from the outset. Those systems need to incorporate business units such as sales and marketing as well as corporate affairs. Also, Courtney emphasized the importance of mapping your data collection process up front, i.e., who will collect it, from where, when, how, etc.

Tara Collison, Sr. Manager, Strategic Planning, Corporate Affairs at Cisco, described how their measuring shared value concepts help frame for executives the business value of CSR initiatives. Cisco’s Connecting Sichuan program began as disaster relief – helping the Chinese province recover from the 2008 earthquake devastation. But it evolved into a valuable pilot for using network technology to give rural patients and healthcare providers easier, more affordable access to urban doctors and facilities. It helped transform the Sichuan Province schools into models for 21st-century, digitally-enabled education. In addition to improving health and education outcomes, the project revealed a new commercial application of Cisco’s products in new markets. These insights will inform how Cisco will create and measure shared value in future innovation efforts around the world.

Naturally, we all left the conference with as many questions as answers about how to incorporate all these “new metrics” into existing business processes. But we also tip our cap to those leaders who, while experimenting along the shared value journey, are happy to quench our thirst for learning by openly sharing their lessons along the way.

Greg Hills is a managing director at FSGWith a global network of funders, FSG launched the Shared Value Initiative, a new community of shared value practitioners. Learn more at sharedvalue.org and join the community.

[image credit: Intel]

More stories from Investment & Markets