March 15, 2016
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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



Communicating power dynamics between people and organizations in cross-sector collaboration
By Kirsten Foot, author of Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross-Sector Challenges and Practices

Any time cross-sector collaboration is attempted, people are communicating — not only with words and not only as members of distinct sectors. The communication in and through which collaboration occurs is simultaneously interpersonal and interorganizational, as well as intersectoral. Because every organization occupies a particular social-political-economic position, and every individual also has a unique position plus — relatedly — a body and a culture, collaboration-oriented communication involves all those elements and constant power negotiations. Whatever status, authority, insecurities, goals, hopes, and fears each participant brings to an interaction shapes their communication as representatives of organizations and sectors. With all these elements in play, it is no wonder that tensions abound in cross-sector collaborations.
In my research on the challenges of collaborating across sectors to counter the crime of human trafficking, I find it helpful to view collaboration as a set of intricate interactions between individual idiosyncrasies, interpersonal dynamics, organizational negotiations, and the wider social, political, and economic contexts in which it all takes place. Read more.


Recent Events

A Global Partnerships Week Twitter Chat and the 2016 Social Enterprise Conference



On Wednesday, March 9, The Intersector Project and Concordia took to Twitter to moderate a discussion on “Pathway to Innovation: Cross-Sector Partnerships in the U.S. and Abroad.” See all the insights shared during the event in our recap and Storify.

On March 5 and 6, students from the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School brought together top leaders, practitioners, and students passionate about social enterprise for the 17th annual Social Enterprise Conference. This year's conference focused on the "untold truths of social enterprise." See our recap and Storify here.

Research Briefing, March 2016



This month's briefing includes articles about:

  • the evolution of collaborative processes over time,
  • community involvement in collective impact,
  • relationship learning in private-non-profit partnerships,
  • the impact of long-term uncertainty on P3s for infrastructure,
  • and the driving factors behind university-business collaboration.

Read more.

"The New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaboration for Education": examples from our Case Library



Released earlier this month, a new report from Teachers College at Columbia University, with support from the Wallace Foundation, examines a growing trend in education. Researchers found that communities are increasingly looking to cross-sector collaboration, particularly collective impact models, to overcome the complex problems faced by our education system. In our examination of functioning cross-sector collaborations for education across the United States, The Intersector Project has seen several encouraging examples of how combining efforts and resources among the public, private, and non-profit partners can provide results that no one sector could have achieved on its own. Read more.

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Case Study Corner:
Revitalizing Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston

Located within minutes of downtown Houston, Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre, 2.3-mile long public space that has been subjected to years of neglect. Surrounded on both sides by high-use thoroughfares, the park was also difficult for nearby neighborhoods to access. In 2010, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership received a $30 million grant from the Kinder Foundation, which served as a fundraising catalyst for the park’s revitalization. In 2012, collaborative partners including the City of Houston, the Harris County Flood Control District, and a variety of non-profit organizations, design firms, and community groups began reconstruction of the park. Read more.


Upcoming Events


The American Society of Public Administration is hosting its annual conference this month in Seattle. We'll be there moderating the panel, "Toward Intersector Collaboration: The Evolving Nature of Public Private Partnerships." Learn more and register.
The fifth biennial International Symposium on Cross-Sector Social Interactions in Toronto this April will bring together researchers and practitioners to understand better how business, government, and civil society interact to address social problems. We'll be there to lead the workshop, "Connecting Research to Practice." Learn more and register.

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 © 2016 The Intersector Project, All rights reserved.

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