The Intersection of Collaboration and Innovation

Innovation Transcends Boundaries

A key success factor in today’s business world is fostering interdisciplinary, collaborative teams that constantly innovate. Social entrepreneurs and impact investors are marrying the social good aspects of philanthropy with sound business practices to prove that having two bottom lines need not be mutually exclusive. At the same time, philanthropy, and both traditional and corporate social responsibly initiatives, is also undergoing a transformation in the ways donors connect not only with each other but also with beneficiaries who are no longer seen as dependents but as partners.

Yet despite all these seeming convergences, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists and the corporate world still operate in their individual silos far too often. Even with all the talk of an interconnected world, systemic changes in each of these areas are slowly emerging to enable greater cross-sector collaboration leading to greater impact.

It is with that in mind that Asante Africa Foundation conceptualized the Intersection Thought Leader Series. Each series in the first year focuses on a relevant topic in Africa — investment, gender and innovation — and brings together internationally recognized thought leaders and practitioners to facilitate an intimate, highly engaged dialogue. The goal is to share practices and learnings across sectors to leave with practical actionable ideas on collaborating with a range of diverse actors.

Why is all this cross-collaboration important when it comes to solving some of our pressing global needs and why does this lead to innovation? International agencies and governmental organizations have made great strides since their inception and collaboration within sectors has been happening for a long time yet challenges continue to plague us. For far too long only specialists have tackled their respective fields leading to incremental change at best or, more often to solutions that are sound but fail because they fail to account for cross-sectoral factors.

Research and the lessons of Silicon Valley show us that most innovation is the result of multiple people working together bringing their unique perspectives and talents to generate new ideas and bring a fresh approach to solving the same problems. Innovation happens when those new ideas are implemented.

Stay tuned for the next in the series to meet some of these internationally recognized thought leaders who will be joining us on September 17th in Silicon Valley.

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