Amplify Blog

Insights and ideas directly from New Profit

October 3, 2014

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"Now this same kind of thinking is being applied to other big problems that are crying out for solutions from the Ebola virus, early childhood health and development, and background checks for gun purchases to high school graduation rates, job training, and reducing carbon in the atmosphere."

New Profit board member Jeff Walker, author of The Generosity Network, has written an inspiring new piece about ways to increase collaboration to solve some of the world's biggest social challenges. In it, he outlines strategies for successful collaboration, powerful examples of how it is changing the world right now, and the massive potential as yet untapped. Jeff also gives a shout-out to New Profit,

"Fortunately, more and more people are recognizing the need for collaborative teams to tackle the biggest challenges humanity faces. We are seeing partnerships of this kind being built by organizations like New Profit to address issues such as early childhood education, college readiness, and the need for community health workers."

We encourage you to click here to read the entire piece, but the takeaways are:

  • "No single individual, organization, corporation, foundation, or nation can solve the significant problems of the world. So let’s stop looking for heroes to address the important issues of our day. Instead, let’s focus on the bringing together the teams of organizations and individuals that must collaborate to address problems."
  • "Start by identifying an honest broker to coordinate the collaboration—a person who is widely trusted and highly skilled in building partnerships. He or she will gather the limited funding needed to hold the collaboration together and measure its progress to common goals, the collaborative glue."
  • "Next, put together a Key Influencer Map to identify the people and organizations that need to be involved. Then meet with those influencers to launch a collaboration. If the problem doesn’t have a widely-accepted solution, the discussions may be heated—which may force you to simplify your goal or accept a partial solution on the way to your ultimate objective."
  • "Meeting periodically to share knowledge and measure progress can be useful. But deep collaboration is much more likely to produce fundamental/sustainable change."

Are you part of a collaborative effort to tackle a big social problem? Jeff wants to hear about it. He is working with the Kennedy School at Harvard University to focus on the intersection of philanthropy, cause-focused action, and collaborative leadership. You can reach him through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or here in the comments. Says Jeff, "The more we learn from one another—from our setbacks and struggles as well as our triumphs—the more we can accomplish together."

Photo: josefnovak33 / Flickr

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