Mark R. Kramer - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Mark R. Kramer

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Mark Kramer is a leading researcher, writer, speaker and consultant on strategies for social impact.  He is best known as the co-author of seminal articles on Creating Shared Value, Collective Impact, and Catalytic Philanthropy.

Together with Professor Michael Porter, Mark co-founded FSG, a 160-person global consulting firm with offices in the US, Europe and Asia.  FSG helps develop social impact strategies for many of the world’s largest foundations, corporations and nonprofit organizations.  FSG also operates and supports two communities of practice: the Shared Value Initiative and the Collective Impact Forum.  Porter and Kramer also co-founded the Center for Effective Philanthropy, a 30-person nonprofit dedicated to improving foundation performance.

Mark also serves as a Senior Fellow in the CSR Initiative of the Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard Business School. He has served on the jury of the annual Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award and the planning committee for the Clinton Global Initiative, and is a member of the Aspen Philanthropy Group and the Kimberly-Clark Sustainability Advisory Board.

Prior to founding FSG, Mark served as President of the private equity firm Kramer Capital Management, and as an Associate at the law firm of Ropes & Gray.   He is a summa cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, The Wharton School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

  1. Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

    Leslie Crutchfield, John Kania and Mark R. Kramer

    Do More Than Give provides a blueprint for individuals, philanthropists, and foundation leaders to increase their impact. Based on Forces for Good, this groundbreaking book demonstrates how the six practices of high-impact nonprofits apply to donors aiming to advance social causes. Rather than focus on the mechanics of effective grantmaking, reporting, or evaluation, this book instead proposes that donors can become proactive catalysts for change by rising to meet the challenges of our increasingly interdependent world. Key principles include: going beyond check writing/traditional volunteering; advocating for change; leveraging business; forging peer networks; empowering individuals; leading adaptively; and developing learning organizations.

    Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Philanthropy and Charitable Giving;


    Crutchfield, Leslie, John Kania, and Mark R. Kramer. Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.  View Details
Journal Articles
  1. Creating Shared Value

    Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer

    The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business has been criticized as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely thought to be prospering at the expense of their communities. Trust in business has fallen to new lows, leading government officials to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle. A big part of the problem lies with companies themselves, which remain trapped in an outdated, narrow approach to value creation. Focused on optimizing short-term financial performance, they overlook the greatest unmet needs in the market as well as broader influences on their long-term success. Why else would companies ignore the well-being of their customers, the depletion of natural resources vital to their businesses, the viability of suppliers, and the economic distress of the communities in which they produce and sell? It doesn't have to be this way, say Porter, of Harvard Business School, and Kramer, the managing director of the social impact advisory firm FSG. Companies could bring business and society back together if they redefined their purpose as creating "shared value"—generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges. A shared value approach reconnects company success with social progress. Firms can do this in three distinct ways: by reconceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain, and building supportive industry clusters at the company's locations. A number of companies known for their hard-nosed approach to business—including GE, Wal-Mart, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever—have already embarked on important initiatives in these areas. Nestlé, for example, redesigned its coffee procurement processes, working intensively with small farmers in impoverished areas who were trapped in a cycle of low productivity, poor quality, and environmental degradation. Nestlé provided advice on farming practices; helped growers secure plant stock, fertilizers, and pesticides; and began directly paying them a premium for better beans. Higher yields and quality increased the growers' incomes, the environmental impact of farms shrank, and Nestlé's reliable supply of good coffee grew significantly. Shared value was created. Shared value could reshape capitalism and its relationship to society. It could also drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy as it opens managers' eyes to immense human needs that must be met, large new markets to be served, and the internal costs of social deficits—as well as the competitive advantages available from addressing them. But our understanding of shared value is still in its genesis. Attaining it will require managers to develop new skills and knowledge and governments to learn how to regulate in ways that enable shared value, rather than work against it.

    Keywords: Customer Value and Value Chain; Economic Growth; Economic Systems; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Environmental Sustainability; Trust; Human Needs; Welfare or Wellbeing; Competitive Advantage; Value Creation;


    Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. "Creating Shared Value." Harvard Business Review 89, nos. 1-2 (January–February 2011): 62–77.  View Details
  2. The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy

    Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer

    When it comes to philanthropy, executives increasingly see themselves as caught between critics demanding ever higher levels of "corporate social responsibility" and investors applying pressure to maximize short-term profits. Increasingly, philanthropy is used as a form of public relations or advertising, promoting a company's image through high-profile sponsorships. But there is a more truly strategic way to think about philanthropy. Corporations can use their charitable efforts to improve their competitive context—the quality of the business environment in the locations where they operate. Using philanthropy to enhance competitive context aligns social and economic goals and improves a company's long-term business prospects. Addressing context enables a company not only to give money but also leverage its capabilities and relationships in support of charitable causes. Taking this new direction requires fundamental changes in the way companies approach their contribution programs. Adopting a context-focused approach requires a far more disciplined approach than is prevalent today. But it can make a company's philanthropic activities far more effective.

    Keywords: Strategy;


    Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. "The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy." Harvard Business Review 80, no. 12 (December 2002): 56–69.  View Details
  3. The Ecosystem of Shared Value

    Mark R. Kramer and Marc W. Pfitzer

    Governments, NGOs, companies, and community members must all be involved in programs to create shared value, yet they work more often in opposition than in alignment. A movement known as collective impact has facilitated successful collaborations in the social sector, and it can guide businesses in bringing together the various actors in their ecosystems to help remedy some of the world's most urgent problems. In the process, companies will find economic opportunities that their competitors miss. Five elements must be in place for a collective-impact effort to achieve its aims: (1) a common agenda, which helps align the players' efforts and defines their commitment; (2) a shared measurement system; (3) mutually reinforcing activities; (4) constant communication, which builds trust and ensures mutual objectives; and (5) dedicated “backbone” support, delivered by a separate, independently funded staff, which builds public will, advances policy, and mobilizes resources.

    Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship; Cooperation;


    Kramer, Mark R., and Marc W. Pfitzer. "The Ecosystem of Shared Value." Harvard Business Review 94, no. 10 (October 2016): 80–89.  View Details
Book Chapters
  1. Corporate Philanthropy: Taking the High Ground

    Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer

    Keywords: Giving and Philanthropy; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Social Entrepreneurship; Ethics;


    Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. "Corporate Philanthropy: Taking the High Ground." In The Accountable Corporation, Vol. 3: Corporate Social Responsibility, edited by Marc J. Epstein and Kirk O. Hanson. Praeger, 2006.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. Enel: The Future of Energy

    Mark R. Kramer and Bhanuteja Nadella

    Enel has transformed from the Italian state-owned energy monopoly into a global leader in renewable energy and shared value creation. Through its open innovation model, the company has catapulted to the cutting edge of electric mobility and distributed power generation, partnering with the likes of Google and Tesla. Under the leadership of Mr. Francesco Starace, the company has gone through a significant change in organizational culture and structure, committing to 100% renewables while placing an emphasis on growth in middle-income countries and capturing new revenue sources from energy management services. At the same time, Starace has had to balance stockholder pressure for short-term earnings with a legacy of coal and gas fired power plants against its futuristic vision.

    Keywords: Energy Generation; Renewable Energy; Growth and Development Strategy; Strategic Planning; Energy Industry;


    Kramer, Mark R., and Bhanuteja Nadella. "Enel: The Future of Energy." Harvard Business School Case 718-414, August 2017. (Revised September 2017.) (Updating exhibit numbers in case text.)  View Details
  2. Becton Dickinson: Global Health Strategy

    Mark R. Kramer and Sarah Mehta

    Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) was a medical technology firm headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, with 43,000 employees and 2016 revenues of $12.5 billion. For several years, the company had pursued developing products that created shared value, defined as those that both generated profits and created positive social impact. One of the primary ways the company advanced such products was through establishing and maintaining public-private partnerships (PPPs) with governmental or non-governmental organizations. In June 2017, Gary Cohen, an executive vice president of BD, and Renuka Gadde, vice president of BD’s Global Health function, were deeply engaged in a six-year PPP to bring a new low-cost labor and delivery tool called the Odon Device to market. This device had the potential to avert hundreds of thousands of maternal and newborn deaths, primarily in low-resource settings. Although they had faced many challenges in bringing together multiple organizations to develop and launch the device, Cohen and Gadde were convinced that BD’s ability to collaborate with governments and international agencies to address urgent global health needs was a source of competitive advantage for the company. Through these collaborations, BD had strengthened important external relationships and developed a distinctive corporate strategy for its expansion in emerging markets. Cohen, Gadde, and the BD Global Health team were also working to construct a framework for measuring both the social and financial impact of the company’s shared value initiatives, starting with the BD Odon Device. Cohen believed that creating shared value was “fundamentally a better way to do business,” but he wanted hard data to demonstrate the full economic and social benefit of BD’s shared value initiatives. The competition for internal capital and the challenges of taking on new types of products meant that any shared value initiative required a rigorous business case and clear indicators of social impact.

    Keywords: shared value; Creating Shared Value; Odon Device; medical technology; Value Creation; Values and Beliefs; Philanthropy and Charitable Giving; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Health Testing and Trials; Emerging Markets; Social Issues; Competitive Strategy; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Africa; Asia; Middle East;


    Kramer, Mark R., and Sarah Mehta. "Becton Dickinson: Global Health Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 718-406, September 2017. (Revised February 2018.)  View Details
  3. Walmart: Segmenting Social Impact

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer and Pamela Sud

    This case provides a sample of Walmart's social engagement activities and asks students to categorize each as philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, or creating shared value.

    Keywords: Creating Shared Value; Society; Value Creation; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Philanthropy and Charitable Giving;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, and Pamela Sud. "Walmart: Segmenting Social Impact." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 715-436, May 2015.  View Details
  4. Walmart: Segmenting Social Impact

    Michael Porter, Mark Kramer and Pamela Sud

    This case provides a sample of Walmart's social engagement activities and asks students to categorize each as philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, or creating shared value.

    Keywords: Creating Shared Value; Society; Value Creation; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Philanthropy and Charitable Giving; Retail Industry;


    Porter, Michael, Mark Kramer, and Pamela Sud. "Walmart: Segmenting Social Impact." Harvard Business School Exercise 715-435, November 2014. (Revised March 2017.)  View Details
  5. Nestle's Creating Shared Value Strategy

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer, Kerry Herman and Sarah McAra

    This case considers Nestlé’s creating shared value (CSV) strategy, which focused on the three categories of nutrition, water, and rural development. In the packaged food and beverage industry, pressure had mounted since the 1990s to improve supply chain sustainability and provide healthier, more natural foods, leading to consolidation and causing sales to decline in 2010. With 150 years' experience in the industry, Nestlé had transformed into a nutrition, health, and wellness company and made its CSV strategy explicit in the early 21st century. By 2014, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke considered how best to fully embed the company's CSV strategy and to communicate it to shareholders and external stakeholders.

    Keywords: shared value; health and wellness; nutrition; Nutrition; Health; Labor; Environmental Sustainability; Strategy; Operations; Food and Beverage Industry; Switzerland; Europe; Africa; Latin America; North America; Asia;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, Kerry Herman, and Sarah McAra. "Nestle's Creating Shared Value Strategy." Harvard Business School Case 716-422, November 2015. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  6. Discovery Limited

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer and Aldo Sesia

    Discovery Ltd. is a South Africa-based insurance company. Started in the early 1990s, Discovery used behavioral economics and data collection to innovate in the health care insurance industry. Its founder Adrian Gore believed that the company's products needed to not only make money but also have a positive impact on society. Using its Vitality Wellness program as its strategic lynchpin, Discovery expanded into other insurance areas and financial services products and also entered new markets abroad. In late 2014, Gore and his team had to decide how to further develop the company and prioritize among many growth opportunities.

    Keywords: shared value; health care; financial services; South Africa; strategy; Strategy; Value Creation; Health Care and Treatment; Insurance; Growth and Development Strategy; Financial Services Industry; Health Industry; Insurance Industry; South Africa;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, and Aldo Sesia. "Discovery Limited." Harvard Business School Case 715-423, December 2014. (Revised February 2018.)  View Details
  7. Dow: Breakthroughs to World Challenges

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer and Annelena Lobb

    Dow had adopted the "Breakthroughs to World Challenges" (BWC) program as part of its ten-year 2015 Sustainability Goals. BWC was an internal award recognizing products that effectively addressed one of five world challenges: energy and climate change, sustainable water supply, decent affordable housing, personal health, and food supply. By late summer 2014, two products had been designated as BWCs and two others were set to be announced in the fall. Dow senior executives believed that Dow was creating shared value through its BWC products. As management began drafting the company's sustainability plan for 2015 and beyond, CEO Andrew Liveris confronted the question of whether to maintain, modify or terminate the BWC program.

    Keywords: strategy; Value Creation; Strategy; Social Issues; Entrepreneurship;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, and Annelena Lobb. "Dow: Breakthroughs to World Challenges." Harvard Business School Case 715-403, December 2014. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  8. Social Business at Novartis: Arogya Parivar

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer and David Lane

    Late in 2013, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez was considering whether or how to deepen the company's investment in Arogya Parivar, its profitable program that sold Novartis medicines in rural India while expanding access to medicine and health information to millions of Indian villagers.

    Keywords: shared value; india; Kenya; Vietnam; Novartis; Arogya Parivar; social business; Multinational Firms and Management; Competitive Advantage; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Pharmaceutical Industry; Viet Nam; Kenya; India;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, and David Lane. "Social Business at Novartis: Arogya Parivar." Harvard Business School Case 715-411, December 2014. (Revised October 2017.)  View Details
  9. DBL Partners: Double Bottom Line Venture Capital

    Shawn Cole, Mark Kramer and Tony L. He

    This case explores the origins and current practices of DBL, a San Francisco–based venture capital fund and one of the first impact investment funds to achieve significant financial returns to scale. This case allows for a competitive analysis of DBL's investment strategy as it seeks to deploy $400m, as well as the opportunity to evaluate a specific investment in a solar power company targeting low-income consumers in Tanzania.

    Keywords: Venture Capital; Investment Funds; Financial Strategy; Financial Services Industry; Tanzania;


    Cole, Shawn, Mark Kramer, and Tony L. He. "DBL Partners: Double Bottom Line Venture Capital." Harvard Business School Case 217-022, September 2016. (Revised December 2017.)  View Details
  1. Creating Shared Value: Becoming a Movement

    Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer

    CSV presentation from the 2014 Shared Value Leadership Summit held by FSG. Topics include: shared value momentum, shared value in extractives, and shared value and investors.

    Keywords: Society; extractive industries; Investing; investment; Creating Shared Value; Society; Mining Industry; Energy Industry; New York (city, NY);


    Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. "Creating Shared Value: Becoming a Movement." Shared Value Leadership Summit, FSG, New York, NY, May 13, 2014.  View Details
  2. Creating Shared Value: Connecting Business, Societal Value and Opportunity

    Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer and Jane Nelson

    Michael Porter, Mark Kramer and Jane Nelson discuss creating shared value and give examples from HP, Nestlé and Novartis on how corporations can put this approach into practice. For more more information on creating shared value, visit

    Keywords: Creating Shared Value; Value Creation; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Business and Community Relations;


    Porter, Michael E., Mark R. Kramer, and Jane Nelson. "Creating Shared Value: Connecting Business, Societal Value and Opportunity." FSG, 2011.  View Details