Collaboration May Save the World

I’m an optimist by nature, but I’m sometimes daunted by the problems we face: war and human displacement, environmental degradation, global health crises, hunger, and poverty, to name just a few. Complex problems like these make us realize that we need to change many things to make a real difference. If a nonprofit, a business, or a government tries to solve a complex problem on its own, it may not have enough funding, trust or the right jurisdiction to make a difference. It might even create unexpected new problems. But getting organizations to work together across sectors is a powerful way (and perhaps the only way) to make progress on the most vital problems we face. My colleague Barbara Gray and I have written a book called¬†Collaborating For Our Future¬†that describes the potential and limitations of multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs). We draw on examples from around the world to show how to design MSPs, how to address conflict and power issues, and how to navigate the different world views that people bring to them. While they are not a panacea, MSPs hold promise for addressing both global and local problems.