March 24, 2015
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Interested in solutions to our world's most complex problems?

You're in the right place.


in•ter•sec•tor |in,tersektor|
1. a space where government, business, and non-profit sectors share expertise, resources, and authority to address problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone


Is collaboration the "next big thing?"

The public sector landscape is rapidly changing. A swarm of changes in workplace demographics, levels of trust in government, the blurring of sector lines, and more are poised to shape local governments in the coming years. How do we address the issues that will arise from these changes? What is the “Next Big Thing?” This was the topic of a recent webcast hosted by ICMA and the Alliance for Innovation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, collaboration and the increased involvement of non-state actors in the design and delivery of public services were seen as critical trends that will influence the future of local government. Read more.

Evaluating Cross-Sector Initatives Through a Lens of Complexity

Complex social problems invite intersector solutions  those that rely on the resources of government, business, and non-profit sectors. Because collaborations involve complex inputs (multi-stakeholder partners and a host of different approaches and resources) the outcomes of intersector projects can be unpredictable with many variables interacting in unknown ways.

“How can the practice of evaluation evolve to better reflect the complexity of social problems and their solutions today?” This was question tackled in an FSG webinar we tuned into recently, “What Makes Evaluating Complexity Different?” The webinar brought FSG’s Hallie Preskill, Srik Gopal, and Katelyn Mack in conversation with Cris Kutzli, Program Director at Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and Mona Jhawar, Evaluation Manager at The California Endowment. Read more.

What We're Reading and Following This Week


Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services

In this report from IBM's Center for The Business of Government, Professor Sherri Greenberg examines a dozen cities across the United States that have award-winning reputations for using innovation and technology to improve the services they provide to their residents, and explores a variety of success factors associated with effective service delivery at the local level.
We think these seven practical principles for data sharing from StriveTogether are particularly well-suited for cross-sector partnerships. "StriveTogether and the Data Quality Campaign have released a new Data Sharing Playbook to help community organizations effectively partner with schools on data-driven ways to improve education outcomes."

Rebooting Democracy

Great read from John Boik, Lorenzo Fioramonti, and Gary Milante in on the challenges our democratic systems have in solving our complex modern problems: “Civil society groups, cities, organizations, and government agencies have begun to experiment with a host of innovations that promote decentralization, redundancy, inclusion, and diversity. These include participatory budgeting, where residents of a city democratically choose how public monies are spent. They also include local currency systems, open-source development, open-design, open-data and open-government, public banking, “buy local” campaigns, crowdfunding, and socially responsible business models."


From the 4 C's of Credit to the 4 P's of Pay for Success

In this blog from Living Cities, Andy Rachlin of The Reinvestment Fund and Eileen Neely of Living Cities Capital Innovation cluster rethink the framework for underwriting pay for success initiatives, shifting from the classic four “C’s” of credit – character, collateral, capacity, and capital – to the four “P’s” of of pay for success – partnership, program, policy, process. “Do the partners instinctively frame work in shared terms? Can the partners clearly identify challenges they have faced in working together, and do their responses to those challenges suggest an ability to clearly communicate, put self-interest aside and compromise to find a solution? Do the partners have strong interpersonal relationships? The answers to these questions speak volumes.”


Open Datafest: 4 Tenets of a Successful Open Data Plan

At the recent annual Health and Human Services Open Datafest in Sacramento, California, innovation leaders from San Francisco and Los Angeles sat down to talk open data and articulated four tenets of designing successful open data plans: foregoing typical triages of data inventories and starting with a strategic focus on the city’s core objectives; creating data portals that are relevant to developers, journalists, citizens and researchers; building a common community identity among civic hacking communities; and collaborating with others to build coalitions around open data. “There’s really only so much you can do by yourself,” said Jason Lally, San Francisco’s Open Data Program Manager. “You really have to build coalitions within the city.”


​Introducing the Pay for Success Initiative at the Urban Institute

Urban Institute announced last week that it will receive $8.4 million in funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to help launch a new Pay for Success Initiative. "While these new social financing strategies have the potential to improve our communities, current deals are also complex. Such grand endeavors require coordination to ensure rigorous, transparent, and objective guidance and support...The Urban Institute is well-suited to help play that role."


We now publish a weekly briefing on our blog each Friday to capture the new intersector collaborations surfacing across the United States and new, fascinating research and commentary emerging that provides insight into the intersector – the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems.

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Case Study Corner: Healthy Living in Brownsville

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Learn about a group of health leaders who worked across sectors to design a farmers' market and an integrated network of initiatives including an annual weight loss event, an open streets program, and policy changes including a sidewalk ordinance, safe passing ordinance, complete streets resolution, smoking ban ordinance, and more. The work of researchers and practitioners in Brownsville, Texas, was recognized by the National Civil League and received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2014 Culture of Health Prize.


Upcoming Events


Working with Communities through Collective Impact: An E-Course
Are you participating? Living Cities' free e-course "to equip those involved in collective impact initiatives with tools for including and working with community members" is in its second week. To take the course, sign-up online now.


Civic Tech Cocktail Party at Fraunces Tavern Museum, NYC

On March 25, from 6 - 9:30 p.m., join leaders in the open data movement and government officials as they discuss fostering innovation and improving the way local government functions. (We'll be there!) To attend, register now.


2nd Annual Power of Collaboration Global Summit at the United Nations

This day-long conference in New York will focus on women, technology, and social innovation, as well as creating the future of inclusive, sustainable economies. To attend, register now.

Resources for Practitioners

Created for practitioners from every sector, our Toolkit enables leaders to design and implement successful intersector solutions.


Our case studies profile leadership and tactics from successful collaborations in a variety of issue areas, including community revitalization, health and wellbeing, infrastructure, education, and environmental conservation. Our case library is one of the country’s leading libraries on U.S. cross-sector collaborations.

Copyright © 2015 The Intersector Project, All rights reserved.

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