Before the final chapters of World War II—when business leaders across the country, from national conglomerates to local service providers, were called to embrace the challenge of absorbing millions of servicemen, returning from the battlegrounds in Europe and the Pacific, the Committee for Economic Development took root. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were needed, and when this challenge was met, it jump-started an extended period of economic expansion that made the US economy the envy of the world.

A smooth transition from a wartime to a peace-time economy was far from certain when the conversation began, the scope of engagement envisioned, and the plans were laid out. It required all hands on deck—and an ability to put the health of the system—and in this case, the nation—first.

The collective challenges we face today are just as complex—in significant ways, more so. The cacophony of voices calling for bold changes can be hard to hear clearly amid protestations by those who benefit from the status quo. The confusion in the public square, and fears of both unintended consequences of taking action—or the prospect of inaction—emerge in this moment of low trust in institutions of all kinds. This moonshot moment on climate; the need to prepare for mass recalibration of work in an era of artificial intelligence; to open up the economy to face economic exclusion, racism, and inequality—a persistent blind spot in our economic evolution—each of these challenges requires business at the table with clarity of purpose and long-term commitment to the health of the commons. These challenges require new forms of partnership, embracing your competitor, and in many cases working alongside them to better the industry as a whole—for the good of the commons. Contemporary problem-solving requires all of the parties at the table.

Read the full article about co-creation in business by Judy Samuelson at Stanford Social Innovation Review.