A mission shared by stakeholders, management and employees is a prerequisite for an engaging dialog about the many and substantial changes and challenges currently facing universities. Too often this essen-tial dialog reveals mistrust and misunderstandings about the role and outcome of the universities. The sad result is that the dialog about university development, resources, leadership, governance etc. too often ends up in rather fruitless discussions and sometimes even mutual suspicion. This paper argues for having a dialog involving both internal and external stakeholders agreeing on a shared mission aiming at value creation (in the broadest interpretation). One important aspect of choosing value as the cornerstone of the mission of universities is to stress that the outcome is measured by external stakeholders and by their standards. Most of the paper is devoted to discussing value in the context of universities. Although the economic aspects of value are important and cannot be ignored, we argue for a much richer interpretation of value that captures the many and varied results from universities. A shared mission is a prerequisite for university management and leadership. It makes it possible to lead through processes that engage and excite while creating transparency and accountability. The paper will be illustrated with examples from Denmark and the Helios initiative taken by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV) under the headline “The value creating university – courage to do more”. As an illustration we use the mission statement of the IT University of Copenhagen that has value creation as a key component.