Collaboration for Healthy Living: From Bottlenecks to Solutions

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Addressing the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors challenges traditional models of work for public, private and civil society stakeholders and puts more pressure on them all to work collaboratively.


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However, such collaborations are not without challenges. Under the umbrella of the Healthy Living Initiative, the World Economic Forum has conducted an exercise to map the most common bottlenecks for multistakeholder collaborations. This has included a series of 40+ in-depth interviews with public sector, private sector, civil society and academic experts, input from over 120 participants from four multistakeholder dialogues held in Cape Town, New Delhi, Washington and New York, an extensive literature review and the practical lessons learned from the Healthy Living in India Initiative catalysed by the World Economic Forum in 2013. The most frequently mentioned bottlenecks included: mistrust, fear of conflict of interest, lack of transparency, lack of leadership and fundamental organizational differences.



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Orit Gadiesh, chairman, Bain & Company, joined other world leaders from a range of industries who shared their thoughts on the value of good health and the need to promote healthy living.



The objective of this brief is not to simply highlight these key bottlenecks, but to provide workable solutions for overcoming them. This will be done by providing practical guidelines for making multistakeholder collaborations successful on the ground (using a "five star" framework for multistakeholder collaboration) and creating a global environment conducive to collaboration (the five "Critical Enablers"). The five star framework included in this document highlights the need for:

  1. Building trust and transparency: outcomes to work proactively towards
  2. Clear objectives, monitoring and evaluation: identifying group goals and mechanisms to achieve them
  3. Effective governance: the backbone of effective, sustainable and flourishing collaborations
  4. Secured resources: financial, human and technical resources to drive and deliver multistakeholder collaboration
  5. Strong leadership: invested in the success of a collaboration

Furthermore, the five Critical Enablers for building a global environment that facilitates and promotes multistakeholder collaborations must also be pursued. This requires developing a partnering mind-set, which can be achieved by:

  • Sharing data and disseminating information, tools and evidence
  • Increasing capacity for implementers to partner across public sector, private sector and civil society
  • Acknowledging the differences across stakeholders and building a common language for collaborations
  • Increasing opportunities for solution-oriented dialogue with stakeholders from sectors beyond healthcare
  • Developing and disseminating guidance on how to build trust and manage interests

Tackling NCDs is a journey that the global community must travel together. The global community needs to continuously bridge different organizational cultures and “languages” in order to find the space where collaboration will bring different benefits to the stakeholders involved as well as to the target populations. When such opportunities are identified, it is critical to ensure that the public sector, private sector and civil society work together effectively to make an impact.

This brief, in combination with the guidance and templates of the Multistakeholder Collaboration for Healthy Living – Toolkit for Joint Action (World Economic Forum, 2013), can help prepare for the journey ahead and act as a “health check” for on-going collaborations.

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