Research Output

Community OR: Creating a ‘Shared Space’ to build value between business and communities

  The presentation provides examples on how systems approaches have helped identify better ways for communities and socially responsible businesses to build value. The examples are the outcome of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with a Scottish fund manager (manages funds on behalf of others), the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) who sought to ask:
1. How best to unlock and release the resources held by the for-profit sector (as part of responsible business practice) into communities?
2. How can these communities themselves, represented by third sector organisations help to evaluate the impact of this resource
The project followed a soft systems approach to gain the perspective from over 300 Scottish businesses, third sectors organisations, Scottish and local government and their agencies) on the problem area (a perceived lack of alignment and connectivity between and
within sectors to address the challenges facing communities) and to build practical solutions to address them. We argue that a fund manager, like VAF, can act as a conduit to unlock a ‘shared space’ based on a match of shared aspirations and goals, between multiple partners and collaborators and facilitate the co-creation of value that supports business growth and communities to flourish. This approach is outlined, including a set of guiding principles to
unlock and facilitate the ‘shared space’ with examples from an initial pilot. We also found that the approach adopted drew additional benefits to build social capital with collaborators, partners and clients that form part of the ‘whole system’; enter a strategic dialogue with those holding power (e.g. Scottish Government and their agencies; Umbrella bodies) and to develop new models informed and refined in consultation with stakeholders.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    12 September 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    Innovate UK


Weaver, M., Crossan, K., Tan, H., Paxton, S. & McCallum, L. (2017, September). Community OR: Creating a ‘Shared Space’ to build value between business and communities. Paper presented at OR59 - The Annual Operational Research Society Conference, Loughborough University, UK



Community OR; co-creation; sustainable business

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