Dear Washaya - we have seen lots of climate-action oriented partnerships here in the U.S. in response to the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement - as Claire said, difficult conditions stimulate innovation.
From Transactional to Transformational Social Impact Partnerships, How Can We Partner More Effectively?
And when you get from transactional to transformational, it’s great to see there are broader benefits for both parties. At GSK, the Save partnership has improved employee engagement as employees associated with the partnership are twice as likely to say they feel proud of working for GSK, and feel more valued by GSK than their peers. The partnership has also, in select countries, led to improved discussions on public health and/or vaccinations programmes. And it has contributed to influential sustainability indices, corporate brand campaigns and awards. Save the Children say that GSK’s sharing of its expertise in supply, procurement and management tools, has brought real efficiencies and some cost savings, money which can be redirected into programmes around the world, helping children in some of the hardest to reach communities.
What about the [quote=“NorineKennedy, post:71, topic:1461”]
recognized review or reporting/acknowledgement
[/quote] that Norine mentions. Do you think there is a need or demand for a globally accepted standard here that ties back to progress against the SDG’s that could be used in the contexts we are talking about here?
Q3: What are lessons learnt and pitfalls to look out for in the pursuit of transformational partnerships?
A3: A couple of lessons we learned in our partnership with GAIN – don’t let differences paralyze progress and be persistent. After we finished the first dialogue in New York in October 2017, we had a difficult time finalizing the text of the seven Principles of Engagement – we just had some fundamental differences with GAIN over some of the concepts, and we were concerned about extended periods of silence in the editing process. But we did not give up – we escalated issues to our senior leaders, held in person meetings to work out differences, and keep at it until we achieved the finished product.
A3 : Where it makes sense, invite unlikely and/or disruptive actors into SDG conversations to create new discussions and ways of working to drive action on the goals. With the support of private-sector partners, the SDG2 Advocacy Hub has worked with chefs around the world to create the Chefs’ Mainfesto – a document created by chefs for chefs - which outlines how chefs can contribute to the SDGs through simple, practical actions.
thanks Tom - my view is that an airing of diverse experience, approach and impact will help - not sure a “standard” is needed, but as others have flagged - principles and good practices are very helpful.
I think the GSK / Save partnership is a really great example of which both organisations should be very proud. I wrote something about its shift from transactional to transformational partnerships here:
"So, with the ambition of the SDGs and the need to find more systemic solutions, can the organisations go beyond the immediate programmatic parameters of the partnership to create even wider impact?
There are clearly opportunities for GSK and Save the Children to continue to increase the impact of their partnership both in their current focal countries and in new countries (although replicating models is often much harder in reality as local operating contexts and needs differ so much). There will also of course be a significant amount of learning that both organisations can apply beyond the partnership as they look to execute similar programmes with other partners, and the wider business and development community can learn and benefit from their experience.
But perhaps the greatest opportunity for maximising impact is to look to integrate and work more collectively with health systems and the relevant actors at the national level. They have the potential to use the critical mass and existing infrastructure of the partnership to encourage all stakeholders with an interest in building community-level primary healthcare to cooperate more strongly towards more collective action that can unleash the greatest value from the resources available."
Taryn, Great point about employee engagement. To me, the best partnerships are those that are transformational on the ground, in terms of real impact for “end” communities/ecosystems, but that are also transformational for the organizations involved - their strategies, employees, organizational cultures. At Root Capital we’ve seen that the transformation on an institutional level can have long lasting ripple effects on the way each does business, manages partnerships, etc.
Q3 - stick at it and open your imagination…
In our case we went through a phase where we weren’t able to give each other sufficient attention but luckily we didn’t lose sight of the fundamental potential
A3: Talk about what isn’t working - there is often a tension between wanting to be successful so that the funding continues and the reality of what you are actually learning through the process. Open. honest dialogue makes for the strongest partnerships.
This is a great question because we have to be transparent not just on progress but also shortfalls.
Pitfall = do not let perfect become enemy of the good. Partnerships are not “the easy option” and should not be approached lightly.
Lesson learnt = think outside “sectoral” boxes when it comes to SDG partnerships, and pursue multisectoral approaches. One great example of the latter is the Fashion Industry Climate Action Charter” – this mobilizes the entire value chain of the fashion industry – brands, retailers, supplier organizations, shipping and others – to step up climate action. The “all of value chain” approach is a fantastic way to widen impact and get scale.
A3 There is a benefit to focusing the activity on where your greatest contribution lies,and doing so in the context of other private sector- NGO partnerships you are aware of in the area of focus. This helps ensure the private sector party is making their greatest possible contribution and prevents the development of competing or duplicative programmes. We’ve learnt this through our Health Access and Linkage Opportunities for Workers partnership with CARE International, and Marks and Spencer. It’s been set up in a way that draws on the various strengths of each partner. GSK draws on its scientific knowledge and experience of large-scale health-system strengthening projects. M&S is in the unique position to facilitate access to its own garment supplier factories and leverage its position within the industry to influence other actors. CARE guides the project using its experience of working in development programming in communities in Bangladesh.
One of the highlights of celebrating our Decade of Impact was being able to document our learnings. It’s been hugely valuable to do that and you can find out more from the report that we did with the Business Fights Poverty team - https://www.cargill.com/doc/1432128057778/cargill-care-business-fights-poverty-white-paper-pdf.pdf
Every partnership requires some compromise, meeting in the middle. But we can never compromise on the best interests of the communities we serve. From the NGO perspective, this is something we must constantly protect in building and maintaining partnerships.
Yes, I’ve loved tracking the Chef’s Manifesto. New/unexpected voices on key issues is so critical to for bringing the debate and action to brand new audiences. Chefs are such a great example!
Yes this has been critical. Cargill employees volunteer their time, expertise and passion – working directly with the communities who are part of this partnership.
A3 What I’ve learnt from experience is it is important to have good systems and KPIs in place for monitoring and evaluation of progress. We have just been through the process of establishing these for our Save the Children partnership and developed a partnership results framework out to 2022 that defines clear KPIs against our activities, setting realistic expectations of what progress we can aim to see by when. It is helping to instill a longer-term campaign mentality, so we are prioritising measuring the health outcomes of the work, versus focusing on evidence of project delivery.
Joan, I think you make a very valuable point. Every potential partner has “red lines” that must be respected. And I think any partner that would ask you to compromise core values would be a partnership that one should reconsider.