Collaborate Boston 2014 | City of Ideas

Posted 03/25/2014 by Paul S. Grogan

Collaborate Boston logo

No one has a better perspective on that effort than the people of the neighborhoods themselves. That is why the Boston Foundation is collecting ideas for collaborative solutions to neighborhood problems – in our second annual Collaborate Boston competition. (Entries are due this Friday, March 28.) Four groups will share $100,000 in prizes and technical assistance to advance their ideas for collaborations that benefit the people of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park, with no restriction on the issue to be addressed or the population to be served.

It’s a slight change in focus from last year, when about 70 groups proposed collaborative efforts to improve the outcomes for boys and young men in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan – and from the 70, two winners were selected: Black and Latino Boys at the STEM of Success and Codman Square Brotherhood Project. Both brought together innovative collaborations of nonprofit, civic and community partners around shared goals.

The takeaways from the 2013 contest extended beyond the winning projects. First of all, there were a dozen exceptional finalists, all of whom combined innovative ideas with collaborative energy. But we also took away some lessons on successful collaboration:

  • Mutual Trust is imperative to effective collaboration
  • Goals must be Shared, Defined and Consistent with motivations and shared interests
  • Inclusive Participation makes collaborations stronger

This last point is not one you often hear mentioned on the list of lessons about collaboration but is perhaps the one we feel most strongly about.  So this year, we decided that instead of defining a specific problem statement, we would seek resident led collaborations focused on challenges identified by the collaboration itself.

We are encouraging resident-led efforts, knowing that empowering those most affected by issues to solve them can have a powerful impact. We are asking all the collaborations to include nonprofit, public sector and/or private sector partners, because challenging issues need cross-sector solutions. And we’re focusing on the neighborhoods along the Fairmount Corridor because with the recent and ongoing re-opening of the Fairmount-Indigo rail line we care deeply about supporting opportunity for current residents.

The power of collaboration is no secret. With Collaborate Boston, we hope that we can inspire new partnerships and create new solutions.