By: Ellen Martin | Associate Director, Partnerships at Shared Value Initiative | March 23rd, 2016

How might we catalyze shared value thinking in companies? The Consulting Affiliate Network is a key component of how the Shared Value Initiative thinks about influencing companies and helping them on their journeys toward creating and scaling shared value.

Therefore, it was a great honor to have joined two of our Canadian Affiliates, Cohesion Strategies and Umalia, for a Shared Value Lab in Montreal last month. Executives from five companies in different industries joined an expert panel with representatives from The Conference Board of Canada’s Center for Business Innovation, The Terrace (an alumnus of the Affiliate Network), former IBM ASEAN’s Smarter Planet Initiative, and Canada’s new Factry School of Creativity.

Our full-day’s agenda explored the concept of shared value and how it changes how companies think about their brand and partnerships. In mixed teams, we looked at innovations that sit at the intersection of societal needs and business opportunity for:

  • Industrial Alliance, iA Groupe Financier Financial Group, a life and health insurance company offering a range of insurance and financial products and services, with operations in Canada and the United States
  • Jefo, world leader in the field of non-medicated performance feed additives for poultry, swine, dairy, beef and aquaculture, with a presence in over 55 countries
  • Saputo, one of the top ten dairy processors in the world and largest cheese manufacturer in Canada, offering a wide variety of high-quality products, such as cheese, milk, yogurt and dairy ingredients
  • Shire, a leading global biotech company developing and delivering best-in-class therapies for patients with rare and specialty conditions
  • Ubisoft, leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, committed to delivering  original and memorable gaming experiences across all popular platforms

Each company had a 1-on-1 session with our hosts to explore interest and readiness for the workshop. Following the session, companies received a summary of the ideas that emerged and debriefed on how to move forward in the weeks and months ahead.

By the end of the day, it was clear that participants valued the extraordinary opportunity to problem-solve and co-create behind closed doors with experts and peers on hand. Thanks to my dear friends in the Affiliate Network, I had an answer to my question: The Shared Value Lab is yet another new way to catalyze shared value thinking in companies.

Photos (L to R): Cristiane Bourbonnais (Cohesion Strategies) and Lucie Bourgeois (Umalia) preparing panelists for the workshop; custom-made Lab notebooks; our workshop venue, the PHI Centre

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