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Recent Posts

“Not Anti-Government but Irrelevant Government”

 Presentation to the Public Administration Theory Network Conference - Vancouver 2015, May 28 – June 1, 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 compelli 3ng 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 Community We Want
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 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.
See Christopher's recent article "Illustrations in Public Health of a More Collaborativer Public Service" in The Journal of Public Sector Management . This paper provides some illustrations of the emergence of collaborative governance and partnerships in the world of health in Canada. It draws lessons from these experiences, and reflects on the evolution of collaborative practice in Canada.
In working recently with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, CWA has identified 10 collaborative practices to encourage community knowledge mobilization, the development of a community of practice, and online collaborative tools by community stakeholders... more
As a learning partner, 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).

Our experience covers all four sectors – public, civic, educational and private. Previous clients include: 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, the Ottawa Carleton Board of Education, the Commonwealth Secretariat, CARE Canada, the Canadian Active After School Partnership, Ottawa Youth Services Bureau, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, Canada’s research granting councils (SSHRC, NSERC and MRC), the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, in addition to private clients like Nortel, Mitel, 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

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For students of MBA5210

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last updated 1 April 2015