Help ARSP honor the cross-sector leaders who inspired your research or practice

blogimage_ARSPlogoIn celebration of their 10th issue, the Annual Review of Social Partnerships (ARSP) is asking you to nominate your top thought and/or practice leaders who have provided inspiration for your cross-sector research and/or practice. The survey takes only four minutes to complete and will help ARSP acknowledge the work of pioneers who developed collaborations between the public, private, and non-profit sectors to provide innovative solutions to pressing social problems, and/or influenced the collaboration practice with landmark frameworks and insights.

We spoke with Lea Stadtler, PhD, a Research Fellow at the Geneva PPP Research Center, University of Geneva, for some context about the work of the ARSP, the Awards, and their 10th anniversary issue.

ARSP is seeking to honor leaders who have excelled in both research and practice. Building bridges between practitioners and scholars appears to be a key part of ARSP’s mission. Why is this so important?
By working in silos – whether it is sector-related or, here, research-practice silos – we miss great opportunities for cross-fertilization and improved outcomes. Crossing boundaries can be highly beneficial for both sides. For example, practitioners who support a strategy with relevant research findings may present more convincing arguments and better anticipate challenges and possible solutions. In turn, academics engaging in the field will have access to important and stimulating practice insights when nurturing an ongoing dialogue.

The aim of ARSP is therefore to bring together research and practice in the field of cross-sector collaboration. Interestingly, in this field, academics and practitioners not only have complementary knowledge, as in other fields, but they also share a strong interest in the impact of partnerships. The phenomenon-driven partnership research is deeply interconnected with partnership praxis, hence it holds a high potential in developing relevant and useful theory for practice.

The much-needed bridging may have many facets and the ARSP strives to enable a continuous open dialogue, for example, by seeking to give easy access and an overview of recent publications to practitioners and PhD students entering the field, and by presenting different practitioner perspectives in an open forum that spans organizational, country, and social problem boundaries. Additionally, bridging also occurs through improved pedagogy to train (future) partnership managers on the basis of practice and theory insights. I’m very much looking forward to my upcoming role as Editor of the ARSP Pedagogy Section.

Hence, just as the need for further interaction and collaboration is great, so are the opportunities to connect. The ARSP International Thought & Practice Leader Awards is one of our recent attempts to create awareness, mutual recognition, and stimulus for further exchange among the practice and research side of CSSPs.

For a deeper discussion of bridging the theory-practice divide, please have a look at May Seitanidi’s inspiring editorials in ARSP issues 8 and 9.

When you look at the field of cross-sector collaboration, what are the research questions you think researchers and academics can address that would be most helpful to practitioners?
This would be a very long list of topics that can range from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’ and ‘so-what’ questions of social partnerships. Many interesting research questions have been raised at the 3rd International CSSI symposium, especially questions linking CSSPs and innovation (e.g., how do specific innovations stemming from CSSPs tackle complex problems and differ from traditional innovation processes?). Likewise, the upcoming special issue on CSSPs in the Journal of Business Ethics will discuss interesting, practice-relevant research questions.

Overall, key questions relate in particular to interest alignment, and the ‘so-what’ questions investigating how different practices enable partnership impact that is beneficial to all the different partners involved and for society as a whole. That is, for the public sector: What is the impact for the beneficiaries? For the private sector: What is the impact for tangible and intangible resource acquisition or generation? For the nonprofit sector: What is the difference leveraged to their partners and how did the combined efforts benefit their target community? The more in depth we address these issues, the more questions arise.

What specific qualities is ARSP looking for as it receives nominations for individuals who have inspired others in the field of cross-sector collaboration?
We are inviting nominations from all over the world to acknowledge top thought and/or practice leaders who have provided inspiration for cross-sector research and/or practice. Actually, the awards seek to move beyond simple nominations: They are intended to capture and demonstrate how the theory or actions of a thought/practice leader have influenced people around the world. We want to back the nominations with clear examples and personal stories of impact. This will allow us to provide a full circle exercise i.e. from the originator of theory and/or best practices to the tangible outcome provided rather than simply putting forward names.

We are grateful for the support of The Intersector Project as the ARSP International Thought and Practice Leader Awards works to reach more people and make the nominations as wide and diverse as possible.

Do you have any other special features, topics, or awards planned for the 10th issue? And what special features should we look out for in other issues to come?
We are really excited as we finalize the 10th ARSP Celebratory issue. Not only will we include reflective commentaries from our own editors sharing their experiences of being members of the ARSP team and volunteering to advance our collective annual ARSP project, but we will also present testimonials from our readers all over the world on ARSP’s value for them.

The 10th issue will, of course, also include our standard sections. Many of these sections have chosen to celebrate the 10th issue by offering something special. For example, the Editor of the Community Section Verena Bitzer invited one of the cross-sector collaboration pioneers, Jem Bendell, to reflect on his personal journey. In the Pedagogy Section, we present a CSSP teaching toolbox with videos, cases, readings, and other teaching innovations. For the Praxis Section, Lucian Hudson interviewed Jim Thompson, the Director of Innovation at the U.S. State Department, who shared very interesting insights from the public sector.

Hence, in early September, you’ll be able to read over 100 inspiring pages with up-to-date publications, news, interviews, and reflections from people all over the world in a collective celebration of cross-sector collaboration.

Please – don’t forget to nominate by responding to our very short survey.