Across the ages, human beings have recognised the need for, and to greater or lesser extent, developed tools and techniques to achieve agreed goals and objectives through cooperation.
Inclusion and participation are well established principles in global development and humanitarian activities, local to global – in communites as much as in the corridors of power – but at all levels, best intentions are easily be overwhelmed by structural and systemic injustice, requiring both a deeper understanding and a deeper commitment to better partnering principles if more than business as usual is what we have in mind. There is little debate about the importance of multi-disciplinary, multi-sector and multi-stakeholder partnerships, but here too, power differentials can result in killer compromises and organisational realities reinforce silo rather than complexity thinking and a coherent, integrated and futures-fit response.
The drive to ‘professionalise’ partnering has been observed in Official Development Assistance (ODA) since the 1980s, spawning a plethora of initiatives offering training in tools and techniques and a considerable lexicon in relation to multi-stakeholder engagement (principally tri-sector – public and private sectors and civil society – but also multi-disciplinary in terms of themes and skill sets). But regardless of how passionately it is held, our embrace of partnering and partnerships is often intuitive, based largely on ideology and subjective opinion, modestly supported by anecdotal evidence. Even when value is defined in terms of efficiency or productivity, there is a dearth of data, comparing inclusive and integrated approaches, alliances and platforms with exclusive, specialised and contract based business models on similar sets of issues and in comparable contexts, to support claims of added-value. The perceived absence of hard evidence to substantiate the claims of partnering enthusiasts has encouraged under investment in the so-called “soft” skills and processes, with incentive structures directing greater attention to areas of activity that are more tangible and more easily measured, in response to short-term political and other exigencies – local to global.
Partnership Brokers Association is determined to change that through its investment in raising awareness and strengthening capacity and competency for “better partnering” in all manner of contexts and situations.
Information, Knowledge and the Getting of Wisdom
Incitare’s founder is a member of the Advisory Board of GluoNNet and actively involved in discussions regarding SDG purposed uses of information, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Deep and Machine learning, cognisant that such systems cannot be assumed to be benign or even useful, absent more robust governance and management processes, local to global.
In discussions about “Financing for Development”, the term Innovative financing refers to a range of non-traditional mechanisms to raise additional funds for development aid through “innovative” projects such as micro-contributions, taxes, public-private partnerships and market-based financial transactions.
Our use of the term denotes a far more comprehensive approach to innovation in financing, applying a “futures thinking” framework (Causal Layered Analysis) to allow us to question assumptions about the systems, narratives and metaphors that we have inherited from previous centuries and, with clearer understanding of the implications for people and planet of current trajectories, imagine and then design alternative arrangements from the ground up.
Our “experimentation” with new models can be seen in initiatives under development on sustainable food, and nature based water and waste management systems to support local economies and short food chains.