Mark Kramer on how creating shared value can transform business and the world - Kathy Varol
Mark Kramer
January 19, 2022   |   Episode #: 021

Mark Kramer on how creating shared value can transform business and the world

Show Notes:

Professor Mark Kramer is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, and a co-founder and advisor with both FSG and the Shared Value Initiative. Mark has worked with leading companies around the world to find sources of competitive advantage by incorporating shared value into their business. Shared Value is defined as “policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.”

Alongside his colleague Professor Michael Porter, Mark has helped to introduce new concepts such as catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, impact investing, and shared value.

His course “Purpose & Profit” teaches creating shared value to both MBA’s and executives alike.

Mark Kramer would love to hear from you! If you have examples of companies that are successfully driven by the principles of creating shared value, send him an email.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Paypal is impacting thousands of small business owners
  • How an insurance company expanded the average lifespan of their customers by 10 years
  • Why government and NGOs won’t be able to solve the world’s biggest problems

Key Takeaways: 

  • How you do business is a choice. Instead of setting a bar of “do no harm” we can choose to act in a way that will leave the world better off because we existed. We can aim to delight future generations by the choices we make today.
  • The examples Mark shared were so powerful at illustrating how, when a purpose is embedded into the heart of the business, it impacts innovation, identifying new revenue streams, and ultimately impact consumers in a positive way.
  • When looking for businesses that are purpose-led and focused on shared value, Prof Mark Kramer instructs his students at Harvard Business School to look for companies that don’t have a separate Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability department. If these activities are separate, they are rarely business integrated. What a great point, and a great reminder to business leaders. If you want your company to stand for something, and lead in that thing—whether it’s being the most sustainable company in your industry, or like PayPal, democratizing access to financial tools—everyone in the company should be working to make it happen, not just one department.


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