LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Research by Jane Wei-Skillern offers insights into how champions in the local government and stream stewardship sectors can ensure that their collaborative efforts can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (November 2021)
NOTE TO READER:
Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate; and embrace “design with nature” approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes.
The edition of Waterbucket eNews published on November 23, 2021 featured the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Annual Report 2021. Written as a communication tool to present a big picture look at the work of The Partnership, the document comprises a set of “30-second takeaways” that illustrate the breadth and depth of initiatives and programs.
Growing the Living Water Smart Network in British Columbia through Collaborative Leadership
“At the beginning of 2021, the Partnership leadership reflected on our long-term commitment to collaborative leadership and growing a network. From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of ‘the mission’. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? In 2015, for example, United States Senator Patrick Leahy reached out to The Partnership to provide an inspirational address at his 2nd Environmental Summit held in Burlington, Vermont. When I asked why they approached us, the summit organizers responded that they could find nothing in North America comparable to what The Partnership is doing.”
“Although our Vermont experience provided anecdotal evidence, we decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer this question: Has anyone else tried to do what we have been doing for the past two decades under the “collaboration umbrella” that is the Water Sustainability Action Plan? “
Is Our Experience Unique?
“Mike Tanner, a founding Director, took on the research task. He found the groundbreaking paper co-authored by Dr. Jane Wei Skillern in 2008. Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, her work provided us with the textbook reference to describe what we are doing intuitively!”
“Fast forward to October 2021. The Partnership leadership reached out to Jane via email. We wanted to learn more about her research findings. Jane responded within minutes. Were we ever impressed. Within days, we met via Zoom. Jane kicked off the conversation by telling us that she had heard about the work of the Partnership and had long wanted to connect with us.”
“The focus of Jane’s research is on non-government organizations (NGOs). The Partnership is unique in that our main focus is on evolving a network that is government-based. Governments, especially local governments, are also nonprofits. From experience, we can draw the conclusion that the research findings for an NGO-based network apply equally well to the Partnership’s government-based network.”
“Jane Wei Skillern introduced us to a set of four counter-intuitive principles that are critical to collaboration success. Her findings offer insights into how champions in the local government and stream stewardship sectors can ensure that their collaborative efforts can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts.”
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete story published on November 23rd 2021, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Growing the Network through Collaborative Leadership.
To explore the Annual Report 2021, which comprises a series of 30-second takeaways, download a PDF copy of Growing the Living Water Smart Network through the Power of Collaborative Leadership.