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Recent Posts


“Intelligent governance: an alternative paradigm”

Presentation to the 68th IPAC National Annual Conference, Toronto, 28-29 June 2016

“Not Anti-Government but Irrelevant Government”

  Presentation to the Public Administration Theory Network Conference, Vancouver 28 May – 1 June 2015

Re-imagining Government

Presentation to 14th International Conference on Knowledge, Culture & Change in Organizations, University of Oxford,  August 2014

Moving from Leadership to Stewardship

Presentation to 2nd Annual CAPPA Conference
May 27-28th, 2013

Mechanisms of Collaboration & Engagement

Presentation to IPAC Annual Conference
August 19-22, 2012

Developmental Evaluation

Learning as you go

Setting Up for Collaboration: Top Four Things to Keep in Mind

Key questions to consider when thinking of collaboration.

Metaphors, Biases & Learning Partnerships:

10 Ways to Promote Effective Knowledge Mobilization. This talk was given to the PHAC ISHLCD workshop in Ottawa,
Feb. 8-9, 2011

Complexity, Risk & Collaboration

Quick summary of how complex problems lead to collaborative solutions & the need to develop collaborative skills

The Community We Want  

If community is the artifact of the conversations we have amongst ourselves, this describes a process for transforming those conversations.

‘forging better results through collaboration’

This is the homepage for Christopher Wilson and Associates (CWA), a management and research consultancy operating in Canada's National Capital since 1997. We specialize in issues of collaborative governance, regional stewardship and community-based action. Frequently acting as a learning coach, we work with clients to help them assess and reframe issues, build partnerships, create practical strategies, form effective policies, and evaluate outcomes. 

Our mission is to help organizations forge better results through effective collaboration. Our passion is to work with community innovators who recognize that making a difference, means bringing people together to work collaboratively. Our work with partnership organizations has led to important insights into partner management and governance renewal (see Resolving Collobration Issues) .

Our philosophy is that people can accomplish more together than they can separately . This in fact is the philosophy that underpins every community and organization.  In addition, we are commited to the principle of stewardship in organizations. We believe that those most affected by problems and those most influential in resolving them should take ownership and accountability for doing so. Top-down, patriarchical management practices are neither innovative enough nor compelling enough to produce the necessary commitments from stakeholders or employees to achieve effective and lasting results. Yet if we can redefine how we are with each other and create more welcoming and authentic conversations together, we can  forge new visions of possibility that we can all begin living into.

See our
sample Wish List of projects we would be excited to participate in.

The core of our work, aims to address the problems of collective action and overcoming the ‘social traps ’ that are created when individuals and organizations work together. To accomplish this, we help to foster collaborative capacity among participating utilizing a variety of techniques, tools and mechanisms that contribute to trusted relationships and collective learning. Our goal is to improve the quality of partner conversations drawing from our own knowledge and experience and that of our network partners.

Christopher in conversation with Toby Fife, editor of Canadian Government Executive magazine,
during IPAC annual conference in St. John's, NFLD 21 August 2012
The Community We Want
The practice of collaboration is not formulaic but the result of learning while doing. We encourage the development of new guiding frameworks and paradigms , the improvement of trust and transparency, and the creation of better mechanisms to satisfy contingent cooperation so that citizens, business leaders, and governments can make better use of their common resources to respond to their collective challenges. See our recent article on collaborative co-governance as a framework for approaching collaboration as a checklist of 'things to pay atention to'.

As a point of departure, we also encourage you to take the Partnership Test below to begin reflecting on the challenges that may be present in your organization or collaboration.

Our network of associates and partners includes: leading academics; business and community leaders; and senior public service professionals; and technology application developers.

We have been effective interviewers, program evaluators, case writers and facilitators, engaging clients in the processes of both meaning making and analysis. CWA also designs and delivers professional development and learning programs (see Services).

See Christopher's recent book Intelligent Governance co-authored with Gilles Paquet, one of Canada's foremost scholars and economists. Intelligent governance is about striking the ‘right fit’ between multiple contributors to complex problems when no one is in charge. It is the practical application of an evolving worldview that is a less conflictive, more intelligent, more cooperative and a wiser mode of achieving human coordination. This short book proposes some guideposts for intelligent governance, and a prototype for a process of inquiry that can help organizations find a way forward (through innovation and value adding), deal with some of the most toxic pitfalls likely to materialize – mental prisons, lack of mindfulness, etc., and take advantage of some the most promising opportunities or initiatives likely to nudge collaborative inquiries in successful directions towards the most promising wayfinding and stewardship.

Our experience covers all four sectors – public, civic, educational and private, including:

Public: The Public Health Agerncy of Canada, HRSDC, CIPO, Industry Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, the City of Ottawa, Canada’s research granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC and MRC);

Civic: The National Ballet School, PHE Canada, IPAC, the Commonwealth Secretariat, CARE Canada, the Canadian Active After School Partnership, Ottawa Youth Services Bureau, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, and Electronic Commerce Canada;

Education: The University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board,  the Canada Council on Learning, and Algonquin College; and

Private: Isaix, Invenire, Nortel Networks, Mitel, KAO Infosystems, CGI and the Internet Institute.


Our focus has been in six principal areas:

  • Distributed, multi-stakeholder governance;
  • Mass collaboration and e-government;  
  • Community-based collaboration, community networks and smart communities;
  • Private public partnerships;
  • Regional workforce systems; and
  • Local innovation systems and regional advantage.
Stewardship Book
This is the first volume in a series that attempts to scope out, in a provisional way, the modern challenge of coordination when nobody is or can be “in charge”, which necessitates a strong emphasis on collaboration and partnership and where stewardship, mechanisms and affordances are the primary tools of facilitating that collaboration.

Teaching Links

PPP image
For students of MBA5210

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last updated 1 April 2015