Giving Compass' Take:

• Stanford Social Innovation Review discusses a more effective approach to corporate responsibility partnerships and how it requires collaboration from a variety of stakeholders.

• Are we doing enough to encourage more cooperation between the private and public sector, between companies and nonprofits? The effectiveness of certain programs will rely on buy-in across the board.

• Here's how such collaboration can offer transformative positive change.

When it comes to social corporate responsibility partnerships, the high failure rate and the preponderance of one-off, short-term projects is made worse by the fact that both corporate and social sectors tend to understand social innovation approaches as discrete models they can adopt wholesale. And then use to the exclusion of other approaches or combinations of approaches.

The ongoing debate about what makes for a successful multi-sector partnership reflects, in part, how the discipline and practice of social innovation have evolved and matured. The range of models for partnerships between the social and corporate sectors has grown considerably in recent years and now includes transactional support, corporate philanthropy, employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, and shared value.

None of this is easy. It requires that each partner gain executive support and to invest time and effort to work across multiple divisions in partner organizations. It also requires a flexible governance framework. Lastly, each partner must designate a relationship manager — or even a team — to coordinate within and across organizations so that different groups can engage where appropriate.

By taking a much more systematic and dynamic approach to identifying promising opportunities, we have can utilize all of the models for corporate engagement in social innovation in different combinations, depending on the needs of a given project. We are moving forward with new initiatives focused on child and maternal health, malaria prevention and treatment, and improved access to vaccines, drugs, and devices. All of these are supported by more deliberate employee alignment and advocacy engagements.

We’ve found that the amount of time it takes to define and coordinate a relationship and drive an engagement to the point where it is delivering tangible results raises concerns about opportunity costs. Success depends on our ability to engage the right corporate leaders and employees, ensure the support and engagement of the board of directors, and develop the right governance models.

Read the full article about a portfolio approach to social innovation partnerships at Stanford Social Innovation Review.