Intersector Reads 2017

blogimage_booksAs the New Year draws closer, we’re reflecting on a great year of intersector reads that examine business, government, and non-profit collaboration as an approach to remedying some of the most complex public challenges we face today. These books are targeted toward both researchers and practitioners interested cross-sector collaboration — and they tackle a range of topics from literacy coalitions to public-private partnerships for infrastructure. Here’s our list, along with publishers’ summaries, of the most valuable books on cross-sector collaboration published in 2017.

Inter-Organizational Collaboration by Design, Jennifer Madden (Routledge)

“Although difficult, complicated, and sometimes discouraging, collaboration is recognized as a viable approach for addressing uncertain, complex and wicked problems. Collaborations can attract resources, increase efficiency, and facilitate visions of mutual benefit that can ignite common desires of partners to work across and within sectors. An important question remains: How to enable successful collaboration?

Inter-Organizational Collaboration by Design examines how these types of collaborations can overcome barriers to innovate and rejuvenate communities outlining the factors and antecedents that influence successful collaboration. The book proposes a theoretical perspective for collaborators to adopt design science (a solution finding approach utilizing end-user-centered research, prototyping, and collective creativity to strengthen individuals, teams, and organizations), the language of designers, and a design attitude as an empirically informed pathway for better managing the complexities inherent in collaboration.

Through an integrated framework, evidence-based tools and strategies for building successful collaboration is articulated where successful collaboration performance facilitates innovation and rejuvenation. This volume will be essential reading for academics, researchers, leaders and managers in nonprofit, private, and government sectors interested in building better collaborations.”

Does Collective Impact Work?: What Literacy Coalitions Tell Us, Frank Ridzi and Margaret Doughty (Lexington Books)

The book seeks to demonstrate the ways in which collective impact approaches have guided the development of literacy coalitions over time. Since community collaboration strategies developed to address social issues, coalitions have grown from small networking organizations to powerful forces for change. The history of literacy coalitions offers a timeline outlining the why, who, what, where, when and how of communities that were influenced by social and political changes and the ways coalitions responded and thrived. The lack of literacy has held back economic development in the U.S. and coalitions shine a light on issues associated with illiteracy and low school achievement. Not all coalitions succeed and the book explores models of success, funding strategies, evaluation and impact. The goal is to assist those developing coalitions by providing not only lessons learned but a blueprint for success.”

Empowering the Public-Private Partnership: The Future of America’s Local Government, George Voinovich (Ohio University Press)

“America’s cities are increasingly acknowledged as sites of renewal and economic opportunity — but how can city leaders facing physical and financial constraints harness this positive energy to create sustainable development? The story of Cleveland in the early 1980s provides the necessary roadmap. Mayor George V. Voinovich, by drawing on the combined strengths of the public and private sectors, took Cleveland from financial default to becoming ‘America’s Comeback City,’ and he later used the best practices he developed there to tackle state-level challenges as governor of Ohio. The public-private partnership model that Voinovich pioneered has since become the gold standard for cities seeking to maximize resources.

Using lessons from Cleveland, Voinovich developed this handbook for governments and private entities seeking a mutually enriching partnership. It is his legacy to those who will guide America’s cities to new growth and vitality.”

A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance, Stephen Goldsmith and Neil Kleiman (Brookings Institution Press)

“At a time when trust is dropping precipitously and American government at the national level has fallen into a state of long-term, partisan-based gridlock, local government can still be effective — indeed more effective and even more responsive to the needs of its citizens. Based on decades of direct experience and years studying successful models around the world, the authors of this intriguing book propose a new operating system (O/S) for cities. Former Mayor and Harvard professor Stephen Goldsmith and New York University professor Neil Kleiman suggest building on the giant leaps that have been made in technology, social engagement, and big data.

Calling their approach ‘distributed governance,’ Goldsmith and Kleiman offer a model that allows public officials to mobilize new resources, surface ideas from unconventional sources, and arm employees with the information they need to become pre-emptive problem solvers. This book highlights lessons from the many innovations taking place in today’s cities to show how a new O/S can create systemic transformation.”

Public-Private Partnership Projects in Infrastructure: An Essential Guide for Policy Makers, Jeffrey Delmon (Cambridge University Press)

“Infrastructural investment is critical to economic growth, quality of life, poverty reduction, access to education, health care, and the achievement of many of the goals of a robust economy. But infrastructure is difficult for the public sector to get right. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) can help; they can provide more efficient procurement, focus on consumer satisfaction and lifecycle maintenance, and provide new sources of investment, in particular through limited recourse debt. But PPPs present challenges of their own. This book provides a practical guide to PPPs for policy makers and strategists, showing how governments can enable and encourage PPPs; providing a step-by-step analysis of the development of PPP projects; and explaining how financing works, what contractual structures look like, and how risk allocation works in practice. It includes specific discussion of each infrastructure sector, with a focus on the strategic and policy issues essential for successful development of infrastructure through PPPs. This second edition includes new sections on institutional frameworks, mechanisms for leveraging public financing, small scale PPP projects and more.”

Extreme Teaming: Lessons in Complex, Cross-Sector Leadership, Amy C. Edmondson and Jean-François Harvey (Emerald Publishing Limited)

“Today’s global enterprises increasingly involve collaborative work by teams of experts operating across different professions, organizations, and industries. Extreme Teaming provides new insights into the world of complex, cross-industry projects and the ways they must be managed.

Leading experts Amy Edmondson and Jean-François Harvey analyze contemporary cases that expose the complex demands of cross-boundary collaboration on management, and inform our understanding of teams. Containing powerful insights and practical guidelines that allow managers to bridge professional divides and organizational boundaries in order to work together effectively, this is a new exploration of the challenges involved in today’s global enterprises.

The authors demonstrate that the work done in the modern organization is less and less about looking inward and creating strong teams inside the company, and more about teaming across boundaries — that often are in flux.”

Just Change: How to Collaborate for Lasting Impact, Tynesia Boyea-Robinson (Living Cities)

Just Change is a collection of stories and case studies to evolve the way we think about and approach systemic causes of inequities facing low-income communities, particularly communities of color. The book successfully addresses:

  • Cross-sector collaboration as a requirement for sustainable social change;
  • Moving away from siloed programs with single-focused solutions to building systems and infrastructures that improve inequities at the population-level; and
  • Reframing how to think about and measure success in order to achieve scale and impact.”