The Eight Neighbors: A Case Study in Collaboration and Formalization

Abstract

Started in direct response to the economic crisis in September 2008, the Eight Neighbors partnership has spent two years trying to build a collaborative, cross-sectoral partnership in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  During this time, the group has undertaken several different activities and in doing so, has explored the ways that they can best work together.   Some of these activities exceeded expectations and were a big success.  Others provided some benefit, but did not leverage the full power of the group.  And some work was spent on ideas that never were realized. The group has shifted over time from a relatively informal partnership driven by reactive impulses to one that seeks to be more strategic while preserving the strengths of the informal nature of the group.  In August, 2010, the members of the partnership are at a critical decision point and have to decide how to proceed with the partnership. They must come to some agreement on how to move the collaboration forward so that their goals for the Washington Metropolitan Area and the power of the group can be more fully realized.

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