Better, Faster, Stronger

Shannon Green and Daniel Runde at the Center for Strategic and International Studies highlighted in their most recent commentary the argument to keep United States Agency for International Development (USAID) outside of the U.S. State Department. Green and Runde look for lessons from the consolidation of the U.S. Information Agency under the Department of State and prophesy that if USAID suffers the same fate the resulting loss of expertise, knowledge, and priorities would hurt development efforts just as they hurt public diplomacy. USAID has the structure and capacity to engage with partners from other sectors and to allow innovators to bring sustainable market solutions to fruition – while creating value for the United States. But, with the Trump Administration proposing a 30% cut to diplomacy and development budgets there needs to be a concerted effort on USAID’s part to show why they’re special. It’s not easy, but now more than ever development experts should look to multi-stakeholder collaboratives as sources of vision, funding, and action. By bringing in partners across sectors USAID can create more resilient development initiatives that highlight the unique skills and functions of an autonomous development agency.

How can development experts both inside and outside of USAID help make the case for keeping USAID separate from State? First, look to examples and lessons learned from the ongoing and past projects that the agency and partners around the world have helped lead . They can arm themselves with tools and knowledge, like our open-source Collaboration Canvas Toolkit and the Partnership Engagement System. And finally, for those looking for a deep-dive into the world of partnership, there’s CollaborateUp Academy. The Academy is a crash-course in collaboration which arms change-makers with the skills and know-how to tackle the world’s toughest challenges. This summer, you and your colleagues can attend the Academy on July 25-26th, and prepare yourself to face a budget-constrained world with innovation, collaboration, and lasting impact. 

By Richard Crespin, CEO of CollaborateUp

Title image by Gary J. Wood

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The course was great! Great value and great insights into collaborating with various partners in multiple situations. It really change my thought process and how I view situations with our clients and stakeholders. - CollaborateUp Academy Participant
"The CollaborateUp Workshop gave our delegates a set of tools they can use immediately to collaborate more effectively across multiple departments and organizations." - Erika Lopez, Global Impact
"Building up the capacity and capability of nonprofits to make a difference in the world is a core part of the Office Depot Foundation's mission. CollaborateUp had a really big impact on the nonprofits we support, giving them tools and insights they can use immediately." - Mary Wong
The course actually aids with more than just collaboration - it helps drive thinking into issue clarification, meeting handling and setting up, communicating with stakeholders. I loved it! - CollaborateUp Academy Participant
“Even with a diverse set of stakeholders and a very limited timeframe, the CollaborateUp Formula allowed us cut through a complex set of issues and develop a concrete and pragmatic proposal for tackling a very tough problem. Richard Crespin is exactly what you want in a facilitator, someone able to bring people together to recognize their shared goals and the best ways to achieve them.” - Amit Ronen Director, George Washington University Solar Institute
Extremely practical and extremely easy to implement once you have an understanding of the steps and the formula and the requirements of the process. - CollaborateUp Academy Participant
I soon discovered that it doesn’t really matter whether your introduction to CollaborateUp is through an issue solving workshop, or at an event as Richard brings all the chaos together with his savvy charm and good humour - the most important thing is that you get to engage and work with these great folks! My biggest take out over the past five years of being a part of their world – collaboration is a process and you’re not going to get very far unless you know what problem you’re all trying to solve together. The CollaborateUp framework helps by asking simple questions to help reveal the big answers. - Cate O’Kane, Founder, &co partnership consultancy