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Group decision making, Public policy -- Citizen participation, Public policy -- Decision making, Local government -- Citizen participation, Political participation -- Case studies


Collaborative governance is the process of public, private, and non-profit sectors jointly developing solutions to public problems.

This process—convening people from different sectors to work together on a shared issue—can yield the best solutions to public problems. Research and experience show that solutions created in a collaborative governance process are “better informed, stronger in concept and content, and more likely to be implemented,” according to Terry Amsler, Director of the Collaborative Governance Initiative.

These solutions go beyond what any one sector could achieve on its own. They are more lasting and effective than solutions from traditional approaches. They are more lasting than legislative solutions because they will not be undone in the next year or legislative session. They are more effective than solutions from traditional processes because they integrate resources from across agencies and sectors to address the problems.

In addition, these solutions are more likely to be implemented because stakeholders (interested parties) are involved in the process from the start and have a role in the final decision. This promotes ownership by stakeholders and thereby helps the solution be put into action promptly and without litigation.

This report explores how leaders can create even better solutions by combining collaborative governance activities—engaging the public in discussion and implementing their ideas through a representative group of stakeholders.

This type of integrated collaborative process could first engage the public in a dialogue to hear their values and ideas about an issue or a project. Then, a stakeholder group could implement the ideas that were developed in the public forum.


A product of the National Policy Consensus Center, part of the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.

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