Skip to main content
Exploring new models of collaboration

The search for more effective ways to deliver public services dates back to the early 1980s. Service innovations increasingly rely on cross-boundary collaborations among government agencies, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations. Within the advent of e-government, these attempts to improve public services now make extensive use of advanced information technologies. The synergy between government reform and new technologies has opened new opportunities to redesign public services.

This overview summarizes a more complete guide that was developed from the results of a multinational research project designed to understand how these collaborations work. It involved a network of field researchers in Canada, the US, and Europe who studied more than a dozen collaborations to uncover critical success factors and lessons about how these new organizational forms are designed, managed, and perform.

Four critical success factors were evident in these experiences:

Leadership – political, managerial, and individual leaders play mutually reinforcing roles.

Trust – public trust and interpersonal trust are both necessary for project success.

Risk management – risks to sustainability lie in the external environment and in the inner workings of the project itself.

Communication and coordination – principles, structures, and innovative problem solving all contribute to good performance.

The complete guide, including management essays, twelve case study narratives, and more information about the research can be found on our Website at