Optimize for both social and business value

To The Gold Mine

Key Points

This article is a quick 20 min read and great to skim through just before meetings or during short breaks during the day.

The article describes a framework around six imperatives that CEOs can use to help their organizations achieve both financial value and positive societal impact. It begins with reimagining corporate strategy, then involves transforming the business model, reframing performance and scorekeeping, leading a purpose-filled organization, practicing corporate statesmanship, and elevating governance.

The writers define a good company as one that delivers competitive financial returns while helping society meet its biggest challenges, and in doing so will enable sustainable business. Furthermore, it establishes the importance of demonstrating impact and collective progress to strengthen social permission for corporate capitalism.

Inspired Companies' key takeaways:

  1. CEOs should take advantage of the changing landscape and establish competitive advantage at the intersection of shareholder value, corporate longevity and societal impact.
  2. Sustainable business model innovation (S-BMI) takes a much wider perspective than traditional business model innovation by considering a broader set of stakeholders; the system dynamics of the socio-environmental context; longer time horizons for sustaining adaptable advantage; the limits of business model scale, viability, and resilience; the cradle-to-grave production and consumption cycle; and the points of leverage for profitable and sustainable transformation.
  3. Companies can compete in creating societal value by expanding the value of products or services on six dimensions: economic gains, environmental sustainability, customer well-being, ethical content, societal enablement, and access and inclusion.
  4. Companies can leverage by creating models that include the public and social sectors to improve the company’s business and societal proposition.
  5. Organizations should focus on insightful metrics that directly connect the company’s unique purpose and business models to the way the company creates differentiated value and societal impact. Moreover these metrics should be integrated into their managerial software, operating plans, target setting, investment decisions, executive compensation and employee recognition.