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Cross-sector collaboration: Insights from a leaders' Playbook

Engaging with Evidence is a series of interactive online convenings hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) and designed to encourage a greater understanding of the latest evidence on the use of cross-sector partnerships focused on outcomes. The sessions are hosted monthly, and attract a diverse range of practitioners from different sectors, as well as researcher from across the world.  

Building independent, high-quality evidence 

At the GO Lab, we believe in the importance of building independent, high-quality evidence and disseminating it effectively to inform policy decisions and improve practice on the ground. As new evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches is starting to emerge, we hope that with this series of online convenings we can continue to bridge the gap between evidence and practice, and help foster real dialogue between policymakers, practitioners and researchers in an honest, transparent and constructive way. Both veterans and explorers interested in better understanding the latest evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches are welcome to join these sessions.  

Throughout 2023, Engaging with Evidence will offer an open platform for policymakers, practitioners and researchers around the world to engage with key findings from the latest research and evaluation work in the field. They will have the opportunity to discuss new evidence directly with the authors of research and evaluation studies, hear the practical insights of the partners involved in the development and implementation of the projects under discussion, and reflect on the relevance of the evidence to their own work.  

What to expect

Each session lasts 90 minutes and features contributions from a diverse panel of experts, as well as ample time for contributions and questions from all participants. Discussions at each session are grounded in the findings of a recent evaluation or research study, with additional practical insights brought in by stakeholders directly involved in the work or project under discussion. Each session follows a set format:  

  1. Setting the context & presentation of the evaluation/ research findings
  2. Discussion with the panel and audience questions
  3. Closing remarks 

If you’d like to suggest a topic or highlight a recent study that you’d like to see discussed on a future session, please contact our moderator Srinithya Nagarajan

Session Recording

Session Recording

Listen to the audio recording of the session here.

Session Overview

This session of Engaging with Evidence looked at an exciting new publication on transformative cross-sector collaboration that the Whitehall and Industry Group and the Blavatnik School of Government have commissioned. The work by Ian Taylor and Nigel Ball, entitled ‘The Collaboration Playbook: A Leaders’ Guide to Cross-Sector Collaboration’, surfaces considerations for effective cross-sector collaboration presenting tactics that draws on academic literature, thought leadership and case study examples from various contexts.

The challenges facing our societies and economies today are so large and complex that in many cases, cross-sector collaboration is not a choice, but an imperative. Yet collaboration remains elusive for many, often being put into the ‘too hard’ category. The collaboration playbook has been researched and written with ideas on how to seize collaboration opportunities successfully and rise to the challenges, focusing on the intangible aspects of collaboration that often prove to be the most challenging for collaborating partners. The 18 discrete ‘plays’ presented in the playbook will be outlined, alongside the five themes of power, culture, trust, leadership, and learning.

This session was joined by leaders who have been engaged in cross-sector collaboration and experts who have researched and taught on the subject. All speakers in this session were involved in contributing to the Collaboration Playbook project and each will speak about their experiences.

The speakers will be:

  • Paul Morrison - CEO of the Planning Inspectorate
  • Mike Adamson - CEO of the British Red Cross
  • Anna Keeling - Former Managing Director, Boeing Defence UK
  • Nigel Ball - Director of the Social Purpose Lab at UAL and Author of the Collaboration Playbook
  • Cathy Butler - Head of Leadership at the Whitehall & Industry Group
  • Ian Taylor - Author of the Collaboration Playbook and Research Associate at the Government Outcomes Lab, Blavatnik School of Government

Participants to the session had the opportunity to:

  • Learn about the need for a collaboration guide.
  • Hear how the collaboration playbook attempts to help leaders with cross-sector collaboration.
  • Hear advice and opinions from organisational leaders from the private, public and third sectors who have been at the coalface of cross-sector collaboration.

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