Social Change

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Why do we turn to nonprofits, NGOs and governments to solve society’s biggest problems?

Michael Porter admits he’s biased, as a business school professor, but he wants you to hear his case for letting business try to solve massive problems like climate change and access to water. Why? Because when business solves a problem, it makes a profit — which lets that solution grow.

Michael Porter

Fortune magazine calls Michael Porter simply "the most famous and influential business professor who has ever lived." His books are part of foundational coursework for business students around the world; he's applied sharp insight to health care systems, American competitiveness, development in rural areas. Now he's taking on a massive question: the perceived disconnect between corporations and society. He argues that companies must begin to take the lead in reconceiving the intersection between society and corporate interests -- and he suggests a framework, that of "shared value," which involves creating economic value in a way that also creates value for society. Porter is a University Professor at Harvard Business School, where he leads the Institute on Strategy and Competitiveness, studying competitiveness for companies and nations -- and as a solution to social problems. He is the founder of numerous nonprofits, including The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit, private-sector organization to catalyze inner-city business development.

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