Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Creating Shared Value: A Government's Initiative

Shared value has been a part of long term and sustainable strategic development for large multinational companies. While it is true that creating a shared value requires initial amount significant investment from the company, it is also important that the government regulation and policy supports these initiative. Creating a shared value proposition is committing to a win-win situation for both the company and the seller. It can only be achieved by fostering a sense of ownership and inclusion among the base of the producer pyramid.
As I was going through this week’s section, I was curious how would a government initiative implement such a strategy. In this blog I shall discuss, the case of ‘Biswa Bangla’ , an initiative by Govt. of West Bengal, India to save the dying of local art and culture.

Bengal’s folk art defies easy categorization. The designs are often particular to a specific region. Sometimes the entire village will specialize in a particular craft tradition, with artistic styles and techniques passed over generations. It is this rich tradition (an intangible cultural heritage), that Biswas Bangla (BB) is working to revive, preserve and promote. BB is an initiative to raise the level of development among Bengal’s artisans and weavers so that they can operate autonomously and flourish. It harnesses strategic market linkages to facilitate their big leap from drudgery, poverty and daily wages to the dignity of an artist. A series of interventions at the back-end supports the artisans grown into entrepreneurs.

BB’s business strategy is to create a marketing value for tourism and handicraft industry by introducing these local products to the world. To achieve this, they have opened showrooms in various national and Asian airports and displays products in international trade fairs. This strategy enhances the state’s income from tourism industry. On the other hand, the artisans and craftsmen can sell their products with proper market rates and channels. Not only these, under this brand the women’s development programme recruits rural women to works on local-handlooms set up by the government in villages. This provides a permanent and increased source of income to the villager’s family.

Started in 2013, this brand has provided the livelihood to more 50,000 villagers today and has increased a rural family income by more than 200%, where now most of the family members are earning livelihood. The earnings for government from this brand has been more than INR 40 billion. “As capitalism begins to work in poorer communities, new opportunities for economic development and social progress increase exponentially.” [2]

While it is true that a private company can produce a sustainable strategy by creating shared value, a similar government initiative can impact lives and also promote economic development of a nation as well. In terms of competitive edge, the ruling party bringing such social impact shall always be a favorable party in the eyes of the people. It’s definitely a win-win situation!

1.                [1]     Biswa Bangla, http://www.biswabangla.in
[2]       Creating Shared Value (Porter and Kramer, Harvard Business Review, January- February 2011)

[3]      http://bengalglobalsummit.com/pdf/Biswa%20Bangla.pdf, The Beauty of the Handcrafted

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