Lessons Learned: Cross-Sector Collaboration

Becca Weinstein is a second year student at NYU School of Law and a Co-corrdinator of NYU's 5th Annual Social Innovation Symposium.

Last month NYU’s Kimmel Center was buzzing with the 5th Annual Social Innovation Symposium (SIS) -- a unique collaboration sponsored and planned by graduate students from three distinct NYU programs: the Stern School of Business, the Wagner School of Public Policy, and the NYU School of Law. The conference opened with a Social Innovation Showcase: an intimate space where attendees learned how to become active participants at socially minded organizations. Following the Showcase, dynamic speakers -- including Jim Brett, President of West Elm, and Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America -- shared inspirational accounts of integrating corporate missions with sustainable social policy, commitments to the Clinton Global Initiative, and new legal frameworks, including b-corp classification.

A particularly exciting forum introduced at the 2015 Symposium was the first annual SIS Workshop. Michael DelGaudio, Creative Director for frog’s New York office, and his frog colleagues lead the Workshop, titled Ideation for Impact: A Hands On Approach to Social Innovation. Mr. DelGaudio emphasized how partners can build bridges in the social entrepreneurship design process through structured creative activities. To demonstrate, each workshop group was assigned a public and private entity and guided to develop data analysis solutions that could foster partnerships between the assigned organizations.

Highlighting the common goals of policy, law, and business validated to Symposium participants that cross-industry collaboration holds powerful and potentially profitable outcomes. The strength of such cross-sector issue spotting, idea sharing, and business development was a clear take-away for both the multi-school SIS planning committee and for the attendees at the 2015 Social Innovation Symposium.