What is Public Value?

More and more companies are looking for their purpose of social responsibility. The demand for an entrepreneurial focus benefiting society – especially from the younger generations- is becoming increasingly stronger. We call this the public value of an organization, or adding value to the common good.

»Free enterprise cannot be justified as being good for business. It can be justified only as being good for society. «

– Peter Drucker –

Public Value also affects your start-up! The social value of your products, services, or business activities determines how your start-up will be perceived by society. Essentially any organization, including those with strongly profitable or competitive orientations, can create value for society in different ways.

»We want to give start-ups the idea that they should see themselves as a part of society and make their decisions in the context of being valuable to society.«
– Markus T. Schweizer, EY –

The understanding of public value theory then creates a common good when central human or social needs, such as the need for clarity, orientation and functionality, recognition and affiliation, or the pursuit of positive self-esteem, are satisfied. If your start-up satisfies these demands, then it contributes to the common good and will be celebrated by society. On the other hand, if it goes against the public interest, it will be found unappealing.


The theory distinguishes five dimensions in which an organization can make a common good contribution.

content-related (task fulfillment)

This concerns, for example, the clarity, quality or functionality of your offers. Does what your start-up does, or offers, help people orient themselves better and gain security in everyday life?

moral-ethical (morality)

This concerns the integrity and respect of individual personality, as well as social values. How does your start-up shape the moral and ethical values in your social environment?

political-social (cohesion)

This concerns the coexistence in society. Does your start-up offer, for example, new communication possibilities or social interaction spaces? Does it strengthen the sense of belonging?

hedonic-aesthetic (quality of life)

This refers to positive experiences and the avoidance of unpleasantness. Does your start-up in particular make it possible to feel and experience enjoyment, beauty, joy or happiness?

financial-material (economic efficiency)

This concerns economic aspects. Does your start-up make economic sense from a societal perspective? Does it support people in their daily lives, and potentially increase their social standard of living?


The Public Value Scorecard determines how high your contribution to the common good is.

You are asked five basic questions:


Can you answer one or more of these questions with “yes”? Then apply now!