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The Science of Collaborative Governance

A Learning, Analytical and Design Platform

Ag Resource Strategies, LLC

on 15 October 2017

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Transcript of The Science of Collaborative Governance

Collaborative Governance Framework
Collaborative Governance

The essence of
collaborative governance
is a new level of social/political engagement between and among the several sectors of society that constitutes a more effective way to address many of the
societies’ issues beyond anything that the several sectors have heretofore been able to achieve on their own.

Wicked Problems
Rittel and Webber (1973) identified these
society issues as "wicked problems"; those issues that could not be solved through typical analytical and engineering processes used on "tame problems".

Tame Problems
Tame problems may be very complicated, such as putting a human on the moon, splicing DNA or wiring a building. But with time, and trial and error these solution processes can be replicated and the outcomes achieved.

Wicked Resolution
On the other hand, resolutions to wicked problems are on-going, never fully replicable and often it is not know if the optimum outcomes have been achieved. Examples of wicked issues is life-long education needs, human health, economic stability and sustaining the environment. Due to the socio-economic nature of these issues, collaborative governance is an innate component.

The Governance Paradox: To resolve complex social issue, multiple and diverse organizations are needed, yet when combined inherent conflicts and confusion arise.

Organizations have the tendency to view their governance style as optimum along with the expectations other organizations should adopt their style. Hierarchies have expectations other organizations need to follow protocols. Market style organizations assume other organizations will seek efficiencies. Network organizations expect partners will compromise and resolve the issue in the most effective manner.

In many scenarios, organizations are not aware of their or others' styles.

There is a difference between governance and government.

is the process by which society manages itself to achieve a particular outcome, such as water quality. Governance includes the goals and activities of government entities, businesses, nonprofits, communities, and individual citizens.

refers to the laws and rules of the country, state, or locality
and the entities given authority by those laws and rules.

Government is
piece of the governance framework, but citizens and
private organizations are critical, as well. They may or may not have
formal authority and policing power over policies, but their actions are important aspects of the public management of resources and communities.

In the most simplest terms, governance is "how things get done"

*Citizens League 2009


"Governance" can be a confusing and vague term. It is often used in different contexts and because it sounds like "government" many think it solely resides with public institutions.

This awkwardness has increased during the last couple of decades as organizations have converged to work on multi-stakeholder efforts such as government watershed programs and corporate sustainable supply chains.

In fact, never before in human society has so many organizations with difference governance frameworks existed side-by-side while working on achieving the same objective. This convergence has led to a so-called governance paradox; where increasingly numbers of diverse organizations are needed to resolve complex social issues, but when combined conflicts and confusion arise.

The problems associated with the governance paradox include misalignment of strategy, structure, process and function of a multi-stakeholder effort. This analytic framework assists in identifying these pathologies or problem sources and provides a design template to actively resolve them.

The Science of Collaborative Governance
Components of Collaborative Governance
Three Governance Styles

Four Governance Actors
Public Policy-Makers
Public Practitioner
Private Policy-Maker
Private Practitioner

Governance Footprints
Ratio of governance styles

Governance Framework
How the styles and actors come together to achieve outcomes

Collaborative Governance Framework: A Learning, Analytical and Design Platform
Definition of Governance*
Governance Styles - Typical Characteristics
Governance Actors
Governance Framework
Governance Paradox
United Nations Foundation (2013) Solutions from the Land
Evolution of Governance Styles
The juxtaposition of three typical styles of governance is a relatively recent phenomenon. While hierarchy governance emerged centuries ago, market and network governance styles are recent evolutions of governance styles. Their emergence coincided with increasingly complex social issues and the need for public and private entities to manage them.

Influence: Top-down Bottom-Up Reciprocity
Role in Society: Ruler Service Partner
Metaphor: Stick Carrot Lecture
View of Actors: Subjects Clients Partners
Control Method: Authority Price Trust
Strategy: Planning Entrepreneur Learning
Relations: Dependent Independent Interdependent
Communication: Informing Marketing Dialogue
Interaction Style: Telling Bargaining Debating
Legal Basis: Legislation Contract Covenant

(C) Ag Resource Strategies, LLC
2016 All Rights Reserved

Phase 3: Collaborative Design

Phase 3 is the on-going, collaborative process at the inter-organizational level where the governance frameworks are designed. Customized templates are generated and actor data presented using information gathered in Phase 1 and 2. Core leadership convenes and begins to design frameworks for specific objectives and consider strategies to include other community organizations.

As the templates are completed for each objective, graphics illustrate the ratio of primary and secondary governance actor sectors, styles chosen and footprints created.
The Emergence of W
Landscape Governance Issues

Sustaining agricultural landscapes has always been a technical, scientific and political challenge, but during the last few decades it has evolved into a socially complex, wicked problem of conflicting social governance and economics. This scenario is illustrated by the
Solutions from the Land
graphics showing the increase in agricultural stakeholders prior to the 1970s and post-1970s.

United Nations Foundation (2013) Solutions from the Land
Taking a New Scientific Approach

Solutions from the Land
graphics provide a stark picture of the increase in social complexity and the shift in landscape governance from a handful of well-acquainted stakeholders to a seemingly unlimited number and diversity of today's stakeholders.

It is this scenario that has compelled researchers to state:
1) Governance is a topic whose time has come
2) The issue of sustainability is the issue of [collaborative] governance

It is within the context of the post-1970s graphic that today's conservation, watershed and sustainability governance emerges. In fact, multi-stakeholder governance often
just happens -
without awareness or deliberations

The intention of the three phase learning, analytical and design platform is to:

Phase 1)
Enable stakeholders to understand and describe how the governance actors and styles "come together" to create governance frameworks

Phase 2)
Enable a group of stakeholders to understand and manage benefits and conflicts within their unique governance framework.

Phase 3)
Enable organizations in multi-stakeholder efforts to design the optimum governance framework using adaptive governance and transparent collaborative processes.

This approach enables organizations to maintain their sovereignty while collaborating. It leverages the two powerful forces of organizational self-interest and symbiosis.

Four aspects of governance; public, private, policy-maker and practitioner generate the four actor sectors:
Public Policy-Maker
Public Practitioner
Private Policy-Maker
Private Practitioner

Note - the examples of actors are specific to the conservation and sustainability efforts but this compass is applicable to any effort
A governance framework is how the combination of actors and the styles
come together
to achieve an objective. A governance footprint can be calculated for an organization's vision/strategy, structure, processes, functions and overall.

It should be noted that no organization relies solely on one type of footprint, but utilize a mix of governance styles to best gather data, develop relationships and conduct transactions/interactions.
Governance Shifts

Shifts in governance styles and footprints occurs 1) as organizations adopt new governance characteristics and strategies, 2) to address issues as they evolve, and 3) if new stakeholders join or new policies are passed. In today's environment, dynamic and adaptive governance strategies are becoming the norm and no organization can rely on a single, static governance style. Shifts in governance footprints can occur quickly or over several decades depending on the internal needs and external forces.


In the mid-1990s, as agriculture sustainability issues become more complex, the NRCS incorporated private sector professionals by adopting the Technical Service Provider program. Thisincreased technical capacity, connected with more farmers and gathered data more efficiently. In governance terms, the NRCS hierarchy governance footprint shifted a bit toward market style governance.

In 2014, the NRCS' Regional Conservation Partnership Program was created to include new partners to the conservation mission. This shifted the governance style a bit toward the more inclusive network governance style. It should be noted that entire organizations do not have to or should shift governance styles across the board. Governance styles should not be viewed as better than another style, as each have their advantages and limitations depending on many factors.
Applying Collaborative Governance Science

An online three-phase approach supports the design of collaborative governance frameworks. The process recognizes multi-stakeholder governance is both an emergent quality of the mix of actors and styles and how they come together and as a key component of the overarching organizational structure. This dual perspective ensures partnership, accountability, ownership and equity become part of the design process.

Phase 1 - A governance footprint survey is completed by [all] stakeholders from the perspective of their organization. This process generates new information and creates ownership and trust in the assessment.

Phase 2 - Organizational leaders convene to compile and discuss Phase 1 findings and learn about their and other organizations. Complementary and conflicting issues relative to their governance footprints are reviewed. Phase 1 & 2 are completed in the short-term and set the stage for the longer-term, on-going process for Phase 3 collaborative design.

Phase 3 - Organizational leaders reconvene (online and/or in person) to initiate the on-going, collaborative process. Framework templates and information gathered in Phase 1 and 2 are used to design governance frameworks for achieving specific objectives. As frameworks are developed, core leadership discuss the potential to include other community organizations and governance actors.

Phase 1: Intra-Organizational Perspective

Phase 1 is designed as a learning and analytical process.
, as a term and concept, is introduced to all stakeholders while they assess their organization's vision/strategy, structure, process and function. The ~ 60-question survey is akin to completing a "personality test" for the governance footprint of their organization. Data gathered begin to tell the governance story related to style and actors using reports and graphics. This data base can then be queried and applied in multiple ways in Phase 2 & 3.
Governance Footprints and Actors
The NRCS example illustrates how governance shifts are a normal and natural evolution of organizational governance. It is presumed that this shift and the countless other shifts occur without deliberate discussion on governance styles per se, but through innate recognition that the structure in place is not able to accommodate the new or pending situation. In today's dynamic society, it is presumed that an 'organic' strategy is no longer sufficient to meet current needs as successful enterprises no longer have decades to shift into their ideal mode.

Modern enterprises and complex corporate and government ecosystems will require a cognitive approach to analyzing, designing and managing collaborative governance schemes. "Meta-governors" will have these skillsets to recognize, design and implement cross-disciplinary governance models for multi-stakeholder efforts.

A "meta-governor" could plot multiple sustainability efforts to describe the status and shift of governance styles of their own effort relative to others and over time.

Diagnosing status and shifts can reveal what styles of governance
for particular issues are successful and why. It provides a starting
point for managing collaborative governance systems.

The graphic illustrates the status and shifts of 11 agriculture sustainability case studies. Generally speaking, there is a trend toward more nimble and inclusive governance styles and outcome-based accounting system.

Phase 2: Inter-Organizational Perspective

Phase 2 is an analytical and convening step from the inter-organizational perspective. Phase 1 survey results are compiled and presented as "parts of the whole". Governance footprints are plotted (below) for each organization to get a sense of compatibility issues (a.k.a governance paradox) relative to strategy, structure, process and function.

The convening of core leadership initiates discussion based on findings in Phase 1 & 2. Reports, graphics and analysis is generated and distributed as a basis for discussion relative to styles and actor expertise prior to the design and negotiation steps in Phase 3.

The ternary graph illustrates and compares the governance footprints of six organizations. The graphic shows most of the organizations rely primary on hierarchy governance styles with secondary characteristics of network and market governance. One organization (green) in lower right uses predominantly network governance.

Plotting these points provides insights into compatibility issues among the organizations and strategies to draw on the diversity and strengths.
Primary Actors
Secondary Actors
All Actors
Governance Footprint
The governance frameworks can be used to 1) communicate strategies, 2) leverage funding and resources, 3) as supporting documentation for inter-organizational and legal agreements, 4) to identify where specific expertise is needed and 5) to create a balanced representation and approach that is best suited to accomplish specific tasks.

A Collaborative Governance Framework can act as a common foundation for multi-stakeholders in their efforts to address the technical, scientific and political aspects.
Governance is increasingly becoming a vital aspect for all socially-complex issues, but one that is often avoided due to its perceived complicated nature. In reality, governance is very intuitive for individuals and organizations to apply if it is presented in straightforward terms and in a useable manner.

The Collaborative Governance Framework Design Platform presents governance using an inclusive and learning platform. It enables anyone to participate at the level most comfortable for them, most efficient for the organization and most valuable for community at-large.

This simplified approach to collaborate governance is applicable for business ecosystems, corporate supply chains, government watershed efforts, creating more efficient eco-markets, for NGOs policy organizations and the myriad of expanding efforts that require multiple and diverse organizations. A version of this platform is being developed to create a Scope 3 Supply Chain Governance Assessment for ESG that parallels the scopes of carbon emission reporting.

Contact Information

For more information on how your organization or multi-stakeholder effort can adopt this emerging strategy contact:

Tim Gieseke
Ag Resource Strategies
(507) 359-1889
tim (at) agrsllc.com

(c) 2016 Ag Resource Strategies, LLC All Rights Reserved
A Learning, Analytical and Design Platform
Shared Governance for Sustainable Working Landscapes

This approach to collaborative governance is based on a Taylor & Francis/CRC Press book (Aug 2016) that addresses the wicked problem of landscape sustainability by using a shared or collaborative governance model. http://bit.ly/1PMW2rA

Introduces the concept of the governance paradox and uses the concept and practice of governance as the integrating process
Includes eleven agricultural sustainability projects that occurred over the course of decade which are examined and reconstructed as a continual transdisciplinary study
Uses a rich picture approach to define the system "as it is" and the system "as it ought to be".
Conservation Governance Pre-1970s
Sustainability Governance Post-1970s
The Science of Collaborative Governance
Collaborative Governance Framework Design
Collaborative Governance Framework: A Design Platform
This massive convergence of disparate organizations during the last four decades has manifested itself in thousands of watershed and sustainability efforts at local, state, national and global scales. It is through a scientific approach to collaborative governance that this becomes a more manageable opportunity.
Governance Actors
Hierarchy Perspective
Market Perspective
Network Perspective
Note - Market governance should not be confused with "the market" but it refers to characteristics often associated with the open market place.
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