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Creating and delivering public value is not just a buzzword—it’s a mission for both the public and private sectors, a goal to aim for that benefits everyone in society. But what does “public value” actually mean? It’s about the impact government actions and policies have on us, the citizens—from the quality of the roads we drive on to the safety of our neighbourhoods. And it’s not just governments that are in on this; private companies are also stepping up, recognising their role in making our world a better place.

What’s Public Value All About?

Think of public value as the sum of all the good stuff that comes from public services and initiatives. It’s about making sure that what the government does actually makes our lives better, safer, and happier. But it’s also about businesses contributing to society’s well-being, beyond just making money.

How Leaders Make a Difference

When it comes to making a real impact, it all starts with leadership. Effective leaders inspire and motivate their teams to work towards common goals that benefit everyone. They’re not just managing resources; they’re visionaries who can see the bigger picture and drive change. In the world of public value, this means being innovative, responsible, and ready to collaborate for the greater good.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work – The Power of Collaboration

No one can create public value alone. It’s a team sport that requires cooperation across the board—governments, businesses, nonprofits, and the community all need to work together. Public-private partnerships are a fantastic example of this, pooling resources and expertise to tackle big challenges like improving infrastructure, healthcare, and education. It’s all about sharing the load and the rewards.

Measuring Public Value

Now, here’s the tricky part: how do we know if we’re actually creating public value? It’s not enough to just do good things; we need to measure the impact. This means looking beyond traditional metrics like efficiency and profit, and considering how actions affect societal well-being, equity, and the environment. But finding the right way to measure these outcomes is a challenge. We need metrics that everyone can agree on, that show real accountability and make it clear that what we’re doing is making a difference.

Examples of Public Value in Action

Let’s get real for a moment and talk about how this all plays out in the real world. Take the City of Melbourne, for example. They wanted to make sure their future urban development reflected what the community really cared about. So, they asked the people! This led to policies that aligned with the community’s values and aspirations. Then there’s Unilever, a giant in the corporate world, which has committed to sustainability and social responsibility. They’ve shown that a business can be about more than just profits—it can be a force for good, creating value for society as a whole.

The Path Forward

As we look to the future, it’s clear that creating and delivering public value is more important than ever. It’s a complex, challenging task, but also an incredibly rewarding one. Leaders need to be bold, innovative, and ready to collaborate. We need to keep pushing for better ways to measure the real impact of our efforts. And, most importantly, we need to stay focused on what matters—making life better for everyone.

Creating public value is not just a goal; it’s a journey. It’s about constantly striving to do better, to be more inclusive, and to make a tangible difference in the world. Whether you’re a government official, a business leader, or a concerned citizen, we all have a role to play in this mission. Let’s work together to build a future that we can all be proud of.

Measuring Public Value – A Closer Look

Measuring public value is crucial—it’s how we know whether our efforts are truly benefiting society. But it’s also incredibly complex. How do you quantify things like happiness, safety, or environmental health? Traditional financial metrics just don’t cut it. We need to think bigger, embracing indicators that reflect societal well-being, equity, and sustainability.

Developing these metrics involves a lot of trial and error, and a willingness to learn and adapt. We need to engage with communities to understand what matters most to them, and then find ways to track progress towards these goals. It’s about creating a feedback loop that helps us refine our efforts and ensure we’re always moving in the right direction.

For governments and organisations committed to public value, this means investing in research and data analysis, and being transparent about the results. It’s not always easy to admit when something isn’t working, but it’s essential for building trust and making real progress. By focusing on meaningful outcomes, we can ensure that our actions lead to a brighter, more equitable future for all. One method for measuring the public value of initiatives and organisations and for identifying and monitoring the effects is the Public Value Scorecard developed by Meynhardt.

To make public value measurable, he developed a scorecard to compare the public value of every project, decision or transaction using five separate but interrelated dimensions. Public value is not new because it has been deeply ingrained in organisations for years. However, society is changing and, in my opinion is becoming more critical. Being able to demonstrate public value – whether that is what we contribute to society or identifying risks and opportunities or, indeed, identify needs within a particular segment of society – is surely the most important condition for any organisation’s right to exist?

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