Engaging diverse stakeholders

Each sector does certain things better than others, and it is important to realize that not everyone can do everything. The government is good at scale and at creating incentives. One example I always use is the desegregation of schools in the American South. It was able to go from 16 percent desegregated schools to 84 percent in a matter of seven or eight years, because the federal government enforced it and put money behind making that outcome happen.

What the private sector is good at is knowing what the problem is and what skills are needed. What they may not be as good at, particularly if they’re publicly traded, is the long view, because it’s just not the nature of their incentives.

If you can think of who can take the most risk, because they don’t have voters and they don’t have shareholders, it’s the not-for-profit space. Understanding what everyone is good at allows you to begin to think about a division of responsibility and labor between these stakeholders that’s most effective.

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