Pearson Building Stronger Learners And Livelihoods
We could lift 170 million people out of poverty if we provided students in low-income countries with the most basic of reading skills. That startling statistic was delivered by Pearson CEO John Fallon (pictured) at last month’s Shared Value Leadership Summit. Pearson, one of the world’s largest education companies, is on a path to enterprise-wide shared value to help the livelihoods of those students while making a profit. The way the company creates impact is through efficacy; which Fallon defined as “quite simply that every product we sell should be measured and judged by the learning outcomes it helps to achieve.”
For a great example of an organization in the trenches of executing shared value, watch Fallon’s speech and read through the highlights below. For more real-world updates and case studies of shared value in action, join the community at sharedvalue.org/community.
“In the 20th century, we expected school systems to sort people. They sorted people into those who would go to university and those wouldn’t; those who would do the professional jobs and those who would fill the semi-skilled and the unskilled jobs for which minimal learning or more foundational skills are required. I think everyone in this room would argue and agree that in the 21st century, that isn’t good enough. It is not good enough morally. It is not good enough socially and it’s not good enough economically. All young people need to be able to learn, to create, to know important things, and to be able to apply what they know in ways that are engaging and solve real-life problems. And we know that the economic and social stakes of meeting that challenge are very high indeed.”
“This focus on efficacy now drives every decision, every process, every investment that we make as a company and we build it around an efficacy framework in which for every single thing we do, we ask ourselves four key questions: What learning outcome will you actually achieve? What evidence and what data will you actually use to measure the progress? Do you have a clear plan across the whole of the company that gives us confidence you can implement, not goal effectively and as we’ll always be working in partnership with other stakeholders, do we collectively have the capacity to deliver the outcome?”
“We have set a public commitment, which I made in this year’s annual report, that from 2018 we will report the audited learning outcome of all our products and services, every single thing we do as a company alongside our financial results. That is a big, bold commitment. We have a huge amount to do over the next four years to get close to achieving it.”
“We are mainstreaming this approach into the whole of the company, changing how we recruit, how we train, how we reward every employee in the company, the products and services we invest in, and as importantly, the products and services that we don’t develop or stop selling, marketing, and investing in. It brings with it, as you can imagine some very, very big and challenging cultural and commercial issues. And it requires us to take what is an incredibly daunting task with all-due humility but without a single ounce of timidity.”