Multi-stakeholder collaboration is increasingly touted as a major driving force
for progressive, intentional, system change.
The good news is that a growing number of case studies from around the world are demonstrating that this approach has merit. As a global civil society, we’re learning how to tackle entrenched social problems collaboratively – that is, by
bringing together individuals from deeply different backgrounds, whose perspectives and interests are widely divergent, to wrestle with their competing needs, find common ground over time, and co-develop fresh, new, practical
solutions that do indeed produce positive results.
Yet, it’s also true that multi-stakeholder change initiatives are expensive, time- consuming and difficult to manage. And even worse, they often fall apart long before they achieve their stated objectives. Far too many initiatives are poorly
organized, with fuzzy goals, awkward communication dynamics, sloppy governance, and sparse accountability.
We (Sam and Nelli) have spent years discussing this predicament with sponsors and funders and conveners and participants of these initiatives. These are people in good faith, who have invested their time, their energy, and their
resources. They believe in the potential of collaborative initiatives, but most of them have also been burned – and they’re searching for guidance. They’re looking for methods that work they need to plan better, to forecast, to help their groups self-organize. “We need a roadmap. A blueprint. A game-plan. Not just a mission, values and vision – those are good to have, but then what?”
Our goal is to send participants away with knowledge and competence to design collaborative strategy – the aspirational goals and the strategic goals, the stages and milestones, the structures and processes, the human dimensions and the logic
dimensions. This means learning about the many building blocks of collaborative architecture. It also means learning and practicing the design principles and tools that will enable you to develop your own collaborative strategies. And it means learning and practicing the partnership skills that will enable you to co-design and co-develop those strategies, as you work with sponsors, conveners, project managers and the other key players who share responsibility (and ownership) for putting their designs into effect. To meet this goal, we’re sharing our conceptual frameworks, and the many professional-grade skills and tools we’ve developed and vetted with our own clients, over many years.
As for the instructional design, it follows the same widely-praised approach used in all Community At Work courses and workshops: practice, practice, practice, in a supportive, respectful environment with colleagues who will offer direct, non-judgmental feedback in real time.
In this course, you’ll have many opportunities to practice these new skills and tools while working on your own real-life cases.
Here’s a partial list of the topics that will be covered in the curriculum:
- The Building Blocks of Collaborative Architecture
- Collaborative Strategies and Strategy Maps
- Design Thinking Applied to Collaborative Architecture
- Human Dimensions
Sam Kaner PhD
Sam is senior author of Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, an international bestseller with more than 125,000 copies in print. In 2006 Sam was named as “one of the world’s leading experts in collaboration” by Dr. Sandor
Schuman, author of Creating a Culture of Collaboration and co-founder of the International Association of Facilitators. As a system-change consultant for the past 30 years, Sam's social sector clients have included the United Nations,
March of Dimes, NATO, Tides, California Supreme Court, Special Olympics, Virgin Unite, The Puyallup Watershed Initiative, Hawaii Collaborative Leaders Network, U.S. Green Party, SEIU Local 1021, Omidyar Network, Stanford University Center for Social Innovation, many of the CGIAR Institutes, Humanity United, and more than 250 NGOs, foundations, and community-based organizations around the world. His private-sector clients have included Google, VISA International, SanDisk, Charles Schwab & Company, eBay, Prudential, Hewlett-Packard, Beverly Hills Conference & Tourist Bureau, Montage Hotels, Symantec, and more. Sam is the founder of Community At Work.
Based in San Francisco, he has served as the Community At Work executive director since 1987.
Nelli Noakes MBA, MPA
Nelli is a partner in the firm Community At Work, and a seasoned organization development professional, specializing in the design and facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration.
For nine years, Nelli was an internal consultant with the Australian Federal
Government. After managing and facilitating national stakeholder engagement campaigns for the Âustralian Taxation Office, Nelli was promoted to the Australian Public Service Commission, as the director of the entire Consultancy and Innovation unit. In that capacity she and her staff provided policy and organization development consulting to all federal public service agencies. Ultimately, she founded the highly-regarded private-sector consulting firm, Gestalt Enterprises, where her clients included the High Court of Australia (that country's Supreme
Court), Santos Energy, Australian Agency For International Development,
Australian National University, South Australian Department of Social Inclusion, University of South Australia and more. She has also served on the board of directors of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and she was the regional director of the IAF Oceania region.
Since joining Community At Work in 2013, Nelli has facilitated and consulted with a large portfolio of clients on many aspects of multi-stakeholder collaboration, including:
Wikimedia Foundation, Genentech, Google, The Russell Family Foundation, The SCAN Foundation, Tides, Aktana,
University of California Office of the President, First 5 San Francisco, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, DPR Construction, Civil Service College of Singapore, University of Oregon School of Law, Advent, University of Tokyo Global Health Leadership Institute, Canopy, City and County of San Francisco, University of California at San Francisco, Institute for Sustainable Energy and Economics at University of Illinois, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Watershed Asia, International Livestock Research Institute, Flexera-Appollo Consortium, Jack London Improvement District, University of Montana Western, San Francisco Department of Public Health, and more.