High Meadows Institutes research interest in this area focuses on two dimensions of new models for business leadership. The first is the role of private sector leadership in the development of public-private partnerships to enable more effective and efficient delivery of public services. The second is the role of private sector leadership in driving the innovations needed to address large scale systemic challenges such as education reform and global warming.
High Meadows Institute Insights and Working Papers
1. Business Leadership in Public-Private Partnerships for Public Benefit by High Meadows Institute Research Fellow Kevin Kromash, January 2014
This report provides a review and analysis of the unique ways in which businesses have taken a leadership role in collaborations that address important social issues. The report provides the context for why it is important to consider this particular type of collaboration in addition to a methodology for categorizing partnerships. It also includes six case studies exploring the positive and negative aspects of this type of partnership and lessons learned.
The Big Idea
1. Creating partnerships for sustainability by Marco Albani and Kimberly Henderson (McKinsey & Company, July 2014)
As pressure mounts for businesses to address environmental and social problems, the need for partnerships between business and NGOs and government is also increasing. This McKinsey piece describes the ways these partnerships can become successful, specifically focusing on clear reasons for collaboration, setting simple goals, allowing for flexibility, and dedicating resources to achieve the desired outcome. The article also lists many examples of public-private partnerships that have had a positive impact on local communities or the environment.
2. The Capitalists Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen and Derek van Bever (Harvard Business Review, June 2014)
This article analyzes how business has focused far too long on capital as the scarcest of resources, leading to investments that stifle opportunity and innovation, in addition to contributing to slow job growth and economic recovery in the U.S. The solutions proposed by the authors include new ways to assess investments in innovation, ending capital hoarding activities, and creating different tools to manage scare and costly resources other than capital, such as talent and time.
3. Defeating Short-Termism: Why Pension Funds Must Lead by Ed Waitzer (Rotman International Centre for Pension Management in partnership with Rotman / University of Toronto Press, Fall 2009)
In an ever-more complex and connected society, sustainable economic progress will require global cooperation. The author specifically focuses on how pension trustees and managers throughout the world should work together to create long-term vested ownership, good behavior and informed judgment, which could lead to higher standards, more accountability, and better alignment of interests. Through building public trust and thinking longer-term, investment management leadership can play a key role in stabilizing world markets.
4. Its Time To Do The (Right Sort Of) Lobbying by John Elkington (CSRwire, June 2013)
To create a more socioeconomic and environmentally sustainable world, the author argues for business and NGOs to lobby government on these issues together. This can be done through business-led platforms for change. One example is the American Sustainable Business Council, a national partnership of over 60 business associations representing 165,000 businesses and 300,000 entrepreneurs, managers, and investors lobbying against subsidies and tax loopholes for oil companies, for transparency in campaign finance, and for other sustainability legislation.
5. “Everybody’s Business” by Scott Goodson (The Huffington Post, November 2013)
This HuffPost blog profiles the book Everybody’s Business by Jon Miller & Lucy Parker, which argues that business should drive change for good in today’s world. This can be done, the authors assure us, via connectivity that creates greater understanding, social change, and idea generation. The book explores a variety of industries including manufacturing, technology, pharmaceuticals, and others to show how business can be an ally in solving the world’s biggest challenges.
6. Truly Great Companies Will Add More Value Than They Extract by Tony Schwartz (The New York Times, June 2013)
Business success can no longer base itself on past financial performance or the maximization of gains to shareholders, but rather should be measured by company innovation, quick responsiveness to consumers and competition, and company investment in all stakeholders. In other words, businesses must generate more good than harm, and more positive value in what they create and to the greatest number of people, to be considered successful.
7. Business Transformation Through Corporate Citizenship by Bruce Rogers (Forbes, August 2013)
As part of a Forbes series profiling thought leaders changing the business landscape, this article focuses on Stanley Litow, V.P. of Corporate Citizen and Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM Foundation. He manages programs that help build leaders at IBM, promotes new partnerships with government and nonprofits, encourages public policy debate, and is working to provide a measurable impact on improving the lives of the people IBM’s programs touch.
The Business Perspective
1. Redefining capitalism by Eric Beinhocker and Nick Hanauer (McKinsey & Company, September 2014)
This McKinsey Quarterly piece aims to broaden perceptions of capitalism and the role of business and government in solving today’s social problems. The authors first suggest that the role of capitalism is not allocation but rather creation: it should create incentives for solving human problems and make those solutions widely available, thereby generating more prosperity. Secondly, the authors argue that business’ role should not focus solely on maximizing shareholder value, but on transforming ideas into products and services that solve problems. Finally, government’s contribution to prosperity comes in the form of regulation that fosters trust and cooperation.
2. Business and social impact: Business Trends 2014 by Rhonda Evans & Tony Siesfeld (Deloitte University Press, March 2014)
In Deloittes survey of over 400 global executives, 72% believe that minimizing negative environmental impacts in emerging markets is the most important social issue for their company. To address this issue and thereby reduce operational risk, companies will need to provide living wages and enhance the local infrastructure. One way to accomplish these social tasks is through collaboration between companies, including competitors, and by partnering with the public sector and NGOs who have local knowledge and represent a way to share risk.
3. 17th Annual Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (2014)
This study of CEOs top concerns around sustainability identifies three trends that now impact business: technological advances, demographic changes and shifts in economic power. For business to move from survival to growth mode, they will need to assess how they function in conjunction with these trends. More will be demanded of them, and the need to innovate will increase. They will need to understand and connect with changing consumer demographics and help re-develop the workforce to meet the needs of tomorrow.
4. The Do Well Do Good Public Opinion Survey on Sustainability by Do Well Do Good LLC (2012)
The Second Annual Public Opinion Survey on Sustainability found that there is a large consumer and employee demand for corporate sustainability. To achieve this demand, business needs to pay employees living wages, provide benefits and training to employees, better manage the company’s energy use, and be transparent around their business practices and supply chains.