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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Innovation Lab tackles the challenge of collaborating across organizations

  • Matthew Lynch
  • |
  • Nov 2, 2020
Innovation Lab tackles the challenge of collaborating across organizations

Jorrit de Jong, Harvard University.

Harvard University

Organizations increasingly need to innovate solutions to problems that extend across organizational boundaries.  A company looking to prevent waste from disposal of its plastic packaging or improve housing affordability for employees is unlikely to be able to solve these problems on its own.

But how do you work with other organizations, such as governments and NGOs, to address such complex issues and innovate shared solutions?

Answering this question was the focus of the latest Ivey Innovation Learning Lab session, held virtually on October 30.

The keynote speaker, Joritt de Jong from the Harvard Kennedy School, is one of the world’s leading scholars on collective governance to address multi-stakeholder problems. De Jong is the Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, which is equipping mayors from 240 cities around the world to solve complex civic challenges.

Through real-world teaching cases, the Lab group looked at distilling the ‘real problem’ to be solved in a multi-faceted challenge, and how to build effective models of collaboration for different organizations to come together to work on solutions. In many instances, the shared journey and learnings from these collaborations may be as important as the outcomes they produce.

For some further detail and insights, please see this blog piece, cowritten by four Ivey PhD students who observed the session. A joint blog was also prepared by four international PhD students, who were also invited to observe.

More about the Innovation Learning Lab

The Lab brings together 21 organizations from diverse sectors. BC Hydro is the latest company to join, with a new primarily-virtual meeting model making it easier for organizations from across Canada to participate in the Lab sessions.

Other participating organizations include: 3M; Ashoka Canada; Bell Canada; Co-operators Group; CPA Canada; Georgian Partners; Interac; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Maple Leaf Foods; Mattamy Homes; McConnell Foundation; National Research Council Canada; NGen; Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund; Royal Bank of Canada; SAP Canada; Suncor; Triovest; Vale and Walmart. Participants assemble every quarter to discuss the innovation process.

The Centre for Building Sustainable Value runs the Lab in partnership with MaRS Discovery District. Each session is animated by a world-class thought leader and includes discussion on the latest best practices and research, including Ivey’s own work on innovation and disruption.

Ivey Professor Tima Bansal created the Lab to bring together innovation leaders from the private and public sectors to improve their innovation process. The Lab deploys a cutting-edge approach to executive education, convening senior leaders and academics to co-create new insights on the frontier of knowledge.