A Meaningful Mashup

The Stanford Social Innovation Review has released a talk by Andrew Wolk, the CEO of Root Cause, on the need for cross-sector collaboration to tackle some of our biggest social problems.

Specifically Wolk calls for the creation of “social impact markets”—a combination of financial, volunteer and in-kind contributions that are carefully focused on some of our greatest challenges: education, healthcare, the environment, and more. Wolk suggests that by collecting and sharing information, among other crucial steps, it’s possible to spur innovation, maximize scarce resources and spread solutions. “There are early signs that we are moving in this direction,” Wolk says.

[EXPAND More]Peter Drucker—who advised corporate executives, nonprofit leaders and government officials—certainly understood the need for all to contribute beyond their own sphere. But he also cautioned that it was a tricky balance.

“There is need for the acceptance of leaders in every single institution and in every single sector that they, as leaders, have two responsibilities,” Drucker wrote. “They are responsible and accountable for the performance of their institutions, and that requires them and their institutions to be concentrated, focused, limited.

“They are responsible also, however, for the community as a whole,” he continued. “This requires commitment. It requires willingness to accept that other institutions have different values, respect for these values, and willingness to learn what these values are. It requires hard work. But above all it requires commitment, conviction, dedication to the common good. Yes, each institution is autonomous and has to do its own work the way each instrument in an orchestra plays only its own part. But there is also the score, the community. And only if each individual instrument contributes to the score is there music. Otherwise there is only noise.”

What do you think is a good example of organizations from different sectors working together to solve a major problem?[/EXPAND]