Research Briefing, April 2016

blogimage_researchbriefingEach month, there is new, fascinating research emerging that provides practical insight into the intersector — the space where collaboration among government, business, and non-profit sectors enables leaders to share expertise, resources, and authority to address society’s most pressing problems. To keep our readers up to date, we compile a monthly briefing that captures the newest research, and publish it on our blog, for researchers who want to stay up-to-date on progress in the field of cross-sector collaboration and practitioners who are interested in how this research may be applicable to their work.

This month’s briefing includes articles about:

  • collective impact initiatives for education,
  • proving the “collaborative advantage,”
  • collaborative innovation in the public sector,
  • and community-academic partnerships.

Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education: A Nationwide Scan,” Teachers College, Columbia University, Jeffrey R. Henig, Carolyn J. Riehl, David M. Houston, Michael A. Rebell, and Jessica R. Wolff.

Abstract: “This report describes developments in the new generation of cross-sector collaborations for education and presents findings from a scan of such initiatives across the United States. We describe the broad ecology of cross-sector collaborations for educational improvement and examine various rationales for the current interest in collaboration. We explore the prominent new model of collaboration known as ‘collective impact,’ review the history of cross-sector collaborations for education, and revisit some reasons for cautious optimism about the changing context for collaboration. Then, using information from public websites, we describe characteristics of the national array of current collaborations. We report an additional analysis, based on multiple data sources, of factors that seem to position some cities to develop cross-sector collaborations while others are less likely to do so. To conclude, we revisit some trends and considerations that are worth watching, acknowledging that new efforts are often layered on the foundation of previous collaborations but also take place in an altered context with new possibilities and challenges.”

Designing Collaborative Governance Decision Making in Search of a ‘Collaborative Advantage’,” Public Management Review, Carey Doberstein.

Abstract: “Collaborative governance institutions consisting of government and civil society actors often emerge to solve complex policy problems. Yet decades of research on collaborative governance has found that realizing the ‘collaborative advantage’ is often very difficult given the multitude of actors, organizations, and interests to be managed. This article deploys a participant observation approach that also harnesses data from a natural experiment in collaborative governance for homelessness policy in Vancouver, Canada, to reveal the distinct collaborative advantage produced in terms of policy, using empirical decision data and counterfactual analysis. The data reveal that nearly 50 percent of the policy decisions made in the collaborative institution would not be made in the alternative scenario of unilateral bureaucratic control. The collaborative advantage realized in this governance institution that is premised on horizontality, deliberation, and diversity is the result of a series of small interventions and the strategic deployment of rules devised by the bureaucratic metagovernor in charge of steering the governance collaboration.”

Firms’ Reshaping of Commercialization Practices to Overcome the ‘Not Invented Here’ Phenomenon in Public Healthcare Organizations,” The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Helle Aarøe Nissen, Majbritt Rostgaard Evald, and Ann Højbjerg Clarke

Abstract: “The present study is rooted in Public Private Innovation (PPI) projects where public hospitals and private firms engage in cross-sector collaboration with a view to developing new welfare solutions targeting public-sector needs. Research into PPI is mainly focused on public management of innovation processes. Consequently, PPI is rarely examined from a private sector perspective, including how private firms seek to commercialize new innovations after cocreating these innovations in collaboration with public organizations. However, commercialization is a critical aspect of innovation because it embraces the learning process whereby newly developed innovations are put into use in society so that they may create value for citizens as well as public servants while generating value in private firms. This article contributes to the literature on collaborative innovation in the public sector by elucidating how private firms commercialize co-created welfare solutions. The empirical setting is a multiple case study consisting of four PPI projects conducted in public Danish healthcare. The findings reveal that PPI firms experience the ‘not invented here’ (NIH) phenomenon across Danish hospitals. This phenomenon appears in the short run to hamper the firms’ commercialization of new welfare innovations. However, in the longer run, firms respond to NIH by reshaping their commercialization practices as they redirect their focus towards the potential benefits of exporting their new welfare solutions to international healthcare systems.”

Community-Academic Partnerships: A Systematic Review of the State of the Literature and Recommendations for Future Research,” The Milbank Quarterly, Amy Drahota, Rosemary D. Meza, Brigitte Brikho, Meghan Naaf, Jasper A. Estabillo, Emily D. Gomez, Sarah F. Vejnoska, Sarah Dufek, Aubyn C. Stahmer, and Gregory A. Aarons

Abstract: “Communities, funding agencies, and institutions are increasingly involving community stakeholders as partners in research. Community stakeholders can provide firsthand knowledge and insight, thereby increasing research relevance and feasibility. Despite the greater emphasis and use of community-academic partnerships (CAP) across multiple disciplines, definitions of partnerships and methodologies vary greatly, and no systematic reviews consolidating this literature have been published. The purpose of this article, then, is to facilitate the continued growth of this field by examining the characteristics of CAPs and the current state of the science, identifying the facilitating and hindering influences on the collaborative process, and developing a common term and conceptual definition for use across disciplines.