A Winter 2016 Reveille Newsletter feature by The Intersector
Our mission is to advance what we call
the intersector: a space in which collaboration
among government, business, and non-profit results in
solutions to social problems that cannot be solved by one
We are seeing great promise as the movement grows. There's
a swell of academic research coming forward that provides
practical insight into solving society's most complex
But research only has value if people can access its findings
and put them to use in the real world.
Practitioners continually tell us they are interested in the
research but don't have the time and resources to extract
takeaways that are truly meaningful to their work. This led
us to launch our new
Research to Practice series, which focuses on
actionable intelligence for practitioners. We spend the time
reading and understanding the literature, and distill it
into what we hope is a usable format for those in the field.
Each installment is brief and includes three offerings: a
summary of the importance of the research, actionable
takeaways, and areas for deeper discussion and exploration.
Each study is specific to a particular issue but offers
commonality on the big picture that holds value for readers
from across the learning community.
We hope the Research to Practice series will inspire
practitioners of cross sector collaboration to integrate the
learning process into their work. We believe that
connections between researchers and practitioners can build
robust momentum for successful cross sector collaboration in
solving the social problems of our time.
A recent post in our series explores the growing integration
of public health and transportation planning considerations.
As with any skillful cross sector collaboration, the agendas
of each community can be supported and expanded through
their partnership with one another. Insights gleaned from a
focus group of practitioners from the public health and
transportation planning communities, supplemented by a
review of forty-three case studies of other similar
partnerships, can be found below.
THE RESEARCH TO PRACTICE SERIES
distilled research for cross sector collaboration
Public Health and Transportation Planning; eight
takeaways for successful cross sector
When choosing whom to invite to the table, consider
the big picture.
organizations, particularly those that may not think of
themselves as part of the public health or
— school districts, academia, and developers, for
example. This enables the collaboration to leverage a broad
set of resources, expertise, and authority.
Creatively overcome regulatory differences among
Variations in funding,
regulatory requirements, and populations served can appear
as barriers to collaboration, but these can be addressed
through the use of tools like MOUs, legal mandates, and
Use high-profile issues to help validate
collaboration between communities.
goal shared by two or more communities (i.e. public health
and transportation) to a broader movement can be helpful to
advance support for partnerships. For example, healthy
transportation planning has a natural connection to green
transportation and alternative energy.
Lead with shared goals.
While the public
health and transportation communities may have differing
motivations and priorities, by identifying the issues
important to both (walkable communities, access to healthy
food and transit), seemingly disparate sectors can both
advance their priorities.
Human connection and
relationships lie underneath any successful collaboration.
Maximize trust by keeping processes transparent, sincerely
committing to effort, using open and respectful dialogue,
and freely sharing expertise and data.
Leverage grassroots efforts.
efforts are greatly influential in shifting political will
in support of collaboration. Elected officials have built-in
motivation to consider the activists, community members, and
local organizations in their public policy making.
Assess and address knowledge gaps between
Every community has its own
language and context, and practitioners cited a lack of
understanding as a significant barrier to collaboration.
Sharing feedback, concerns, and opinions was present in all
forty-three case studies of successful collaboration.
Create and share data
Centralize data (on
evidence-based policies and best practices, for example) in
a database to which practitioners have access. This creates
a holistic picture of the issue, aids in planning and
evaluation, and reduces costs.
Intersector Project is a non-profit organization
that seeks to empower practitioners in the business,
government, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to
solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector
alone. We present real examples of collaborations in
many places and across many issues, and illuminate
the tools that make them successful.