May 5, 2015
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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



Avoiding “coblaboration:” How engaging public sector leaders can lead to successful cross-sector collaborations


Our Executive Director, Neil Britto, asked a provocative question recently in RouteFifty: Are those of us who seek to improve cross-sector collaboration in the United States forgetting what could be our most important client — the public sector? 
In this blog post, Chris Thompson, Director of Regional Engagement at the Fund for Our Economic Future provides a thoughtful, compelling response. "Too often proponents of cross-sector collaboration assume that including the public sector in this work is just too hard,” he says, arguing that "advocates of cross-sector collaboration that fail to take advantage of the unique skill sets of public officials are...increasing the odds that their collaboration will be little more than...'coblaboration.'" Read more. 
(Interested in continuing the conversation on the importance of public sector leaders in collaboration? Contact us at

Research to Practice: Designing collaborative councils to encourage diverse policy outcomes


Every week, we see new, fascinating research emerging that provides practical insight into solving society’s most complex issues — intersector issues. Practitioners continually tell us they are interested in this research but lack the time and resources to extract takeaways that are truly meaningful to their work. This is why we profile new research on our blog with a focus on practitioners.
In this Research to Practice post, we focus on a recent article published in Public Administration Review that looks at collaborative governing councils and asks how stakeholder makeup affects the councils’ ability to produce the diverse policy outcomes demanded by complex issues. Read more.

What We're Reading and Following This Week


Panelists of "What Makes Evaluating Complexity Different?" answer your questions

We eagerly participated and blogged about FSG’s March webinar on evaluating complexity and are thrilled to see that FSG is launching a series of videos in which panelists Cris Kutzli, Mona Jhawar, Hallie Preskill, and Srik Gopal will discuss unanswered questions from the webinar. "We received so many great questions during the event that we couldn’t answer them all during the live Q&A...Here, we continue the conversation in a two-part Google Hangout series with the webinar panelists. In the video below, FSG’s Hallie Preskill and Srik Gopal discuss what it means to take a “complexity lens” during evaluation. Next week, Cris Kutzli and Srik Gopal will discuss keeping an “ear to the ground” while evaluating complex initiatives. Please share any additional questions on evaluating complexity in the comments below!"


Somerville enlists "Secret Residents" to monitor city services
We love this interesting enlistment by the public sector of a practice common in the private sector.


Bill to promote social impact bonds has support in high places
We’re following the progress of social impact bond legislation that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado are working to advance. The bill would appropriate $300 million for state and local social impact bonds over 10 years. Catch up on the bill’s progress by reading this recent piece from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.


Time to upgrade from the Walkman in education
We enjoyed this recent opinion piece in The Hill from Deborah Smolover, Executive Director of America Forward and Managing Partner of New Profit, and Shirley Sagawa, Senior Policy Adviser for America Forward. Regarding the importance of partnerships, they write, “Encourage school districts that receive funds to engage external partners that offer effective, evidence-based programs. Working alone, most schools do not have the capacity to provide students, teachers, and parents the effective supports and critical resources they need. High quality external partners can bring a fresh perspective and complementary supports to deliver results for learners.”


New MBA program masters the link between government & technology
California College of the Arts in San Francisco recently announced the launch of a new, one-of-a-kind MBA in Civic Innovation that will combine training and education in design, innovation, leadership, and technology. “Delivery of government services is stuck in the horse and buggy era,” Brian Purchia, a communications and policy strategist told California Forward. “Meanwhile Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Google are all based here in California but many of these folks don't know of an opportunity to build a company focused on government software. We have the best and brightest all over California and this MBA will provide training for them."


The future of civic technology
In this Brookings piece (which also was cross-posted on our blog), Hollie Russon Gilman, Civic Innovation Fellow at the New America Foundation, writes, "There are many conversations concerning ‘civic technology,’ or ‘civic tech’ and the opportunities for leveraging digital tools to benefit the public...There is debate about its precise definition including who is even involved in civic tech. For instance, does it include governments seeking to modernize their systems or people sharing resources better? Is it about efficacy or effectiveness? Should the emphasis be on people or politics? Perhaps a definition can be expansive enough to include a variety of actors and activities."


Bloomberg kicks off $42 million "What Works Cities" innovation effort
In case you missed the big news from Bloomberg Philanthropies last week, here’s coverage from Route Fifty: "Bloomberg Philanthropies on Monday unveiled a $42 million initiative to help 100 mid-sized cities use data and evidence to inform policy decisions, improve services and engage the public. Working with partner organizations over three years, the What Works Cities Initiative will seek to assist cities with efforts related to areas such as open data, program evaluation, and data-driven budgeting.”


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:

Creating a unified building code in Florida

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew left Florida devastated. As communities began to rebuild their homes and businesses, they faced numerous challenges and delays when filing insurance claims to receive disaster relief funds. The lack of a uniform, statewide building code and the insufficient enforcement of building standards prior to the Hurricane made the reconstruction process seem insurmountable. Read more about the intersector collaboration that brought together the non-profit, public, and private sectors to create a statewide building code. Read more.

Upcoming Events


Shared Value Leadership Summit

The 2015 Shared Value Leadership Summit, May 12-13, will gather the world's leading thinkers and doers of shared value to deliver the "how-to" of building a shared value strategy that truly showcases business at its best. Participants will share best strategies and roll up their sleeves to generate new business solutions to social issues, reimagining the role of business in society and the nature of competitive advantage. Learn more.


Ceres Conference 2015

From the plummeting price of oil, to the exponential growth of wind and solar energy, to the epic drought in California, the time is ripe for creative disruption. We must build new alliances, seize new technologies and innovate new business models to accelerate our critical transition to a sustainable global economy. Join us at the Ceres Conference, May 13-14, 2015 to connect with fellow leaders creating the innovative solutions that will build a more sustainable global economy. Learn more.


New York Ideas 2015

The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute's fourth annual New York Ideas, will be devoted to highlighting the biggest people, ideas and trends that will change the future. Exploring the possibilities that charm and challenge human intelligence and ingenuity, this year's festival, on May 20, will investigate how today's questions become tomorrow's answers.

From how digital and social networks have changed communication habits and the rise of breakthrough female writers in Hollywood, to the development of the creative class and how robots will change how we live, join us as we pause and ask: Where, exactly, are we going? Learn more.

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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