It is quite evident that to address some of the key social
challenges that we currently face (in health care, public school education, national
security, environment, energy, etc) organizations across the three sectors – public,
private, and non-profit – will need to come together and collaborate extensively. However, the infrastructure
or platforms to promote and facilitate such cross-sector collaborative social
innovation do not exist or are not well developed at all.
Lack of such collaboration platforms could seriously hamper
our efforts at developing and implementing innovative solutions to important social problems even if
individual organizations have creative ideas, practices, and technologies.
My research over the past couple of years indicates the need for three types of collaboration platforms:
- Exploration platforms to jointly formulate or define problems and identify preliminary solutions;
- Experimentation platforms to test or evaluate alternate solutions in "near real-world" contexts; and
- Execution platforms to develop and diffuse solution templates.
In an article titled “Platforms for Collaboration”, published in the Summer 2009 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, I describe these three types of collaboration platforms for social innovation and identify some of the capabilities that participating organizations would need to acquire (Note: SSIR is a subscription-based journal, however, many of the articles are available for free and it is likely that this article too would be made available free of charge in the near future).
Update: Here is a link to the full article: http://www.ssireview.org/images/articles/2009SU_Feature_Nambisan.pdf