PIA 2018 Annual Meeting: Hybrid Partnerships Working Group Releases P-ACT

April 20, 2018

On the last day of the annual retreat, PIA members participated in a workshop aimed to build knowledge and a range of skills necessary for effective partnering.

The workshop unveiled the output developed by the 2017 PIA working group “Hybrid Partnerships for Impact” which focused on identifying ways for supporting corporations, social ventures, NGOs, and government agencies to more effectively initiate, manage, and grow successful collaborations. Co-led by MIT D-Lab, Intellecap, and Blood Orange, this working group developed the Partnership Activation Tool (P-ACT) to foster open and constructive dialogue during the activation phase of hybrid partnerships. The P-ACT output aims to be practitioner friendly, modular and collaborative.

Participants at the PIA annual retreat had the opportunity to test the P-ACT card deck through an interactive case study. The workshop experience was designed around the fictitious Republic of Hydoria, an emerging economy in West Africa, which faces chronic water insecurity. In the case study, the government convenes the W3 Corporation, the social venture Rayndrop, and the INGO Water Alliance to set up distributed water purification solutions for rural areas. Participants, divided into tables of four, each assumed the role of one of the key partners. The participants then acted out the assigned roles within the narrative of the case study which tasked them with negotiating a partnership around improved water quality and economic development in rural Hydoria.

The P-ACT tool was at the center of the workshop partnership journey providing critical insights, thought-provoking dialogue questions, and rich case studies, to facilitate conversations and unlocking partnership success. P-ACT helped unearth partnership priorities, challenges and pitfalls and guided participants on how to approach alignment through co-design and dialogue.

Groups explored different critical, but often neglected, partnership dimensions:

  • Partnerships Goals: Developing alignment & coherence
  • Culture: Building awareness & shared values
  • Risks & Benefits: Fostering transparency & balance
  • Resources: Establishing complementarity & sufficiency

A debrief brought together the whole group and feedback was collected on how to improve the prototype and the overall workshop experience.

In addition to the role play format explored at the PIA annual retreat, the P-ACT tool can be deployed for self-guided learning, in partner-run workshops, and in facilitator-run workshops. MIT D-Lab invites development practitioners to continue to test the P-ACT tool. Please contact us at impact-alliance@mit.edu if you would like to use the tool with partners.

-Jona Repishti, D-Lab Social Entrepreneurship Manager