Problems Aren’t Siloed, so Why Are Solutions?

Posted by on January 8th, 2013

–>Who:  Peggy Clark, Vice President of Policy Programs at…
–> What: …the Aspen Institute talks about working across silos and moving past basic ROI to drive more integrated, holistic impact.
–> How: Listen to this interview, and learn more about the Aspen Institue and their Last Mile Conversation.

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On her journey to spotlight the people and organizations that are making the world move in new and exciting ways, Sonia Chokshi talks to Peggy Clark, VP of Policy Programs at the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Aspen Global Health and Development.

In this interview, Clark delves into what she calls the “Achilles heel” of social entrepreneurship and international development – the fragmentation of initiatives into disjointed silos. Not only does this hinder collaborative efficiencies, but more importantly, our limited innovations do not address the problem in the way that our end stakeholder (a woman in Tanzania, for example) experiences them.

For Clark, this issue was brought into focus when she met that woman in Tanzania. Due to changes in climate patterns, food insecurity for farmers became an increasingly acute problem. At the same time, lack of access to family planning meant this woman was feeding not just two or three, but six or seven children. For her, the environmental, economic, and sexual issues she faces are complexly interrelated, not neatly compartmentalized.

So, why can’t our solutions address the problem in the way it’s actually experienced?  Why don’t the climate change people talk to the population people? Well, for many reasons, but a big hindrance lies in the current incentive structures for entrepreneurs. Investors look for targeted innovations, and it’s messy to work across sector lines, especially when politicized issues are at play. Even the MDGs drive a siloed framework for development.

The Aspen Institute is trying to break down these walls by starting collaborative conversations. Their Last Mile conversation brings together those who work in the hardest-to-serve places, where collaboration isn’t just an ideal but a necessity. By bringing people to talk at the same table from the areas of health, energy, economic development, etc., Clark and her team aim to uncover collective efficiencies that help create a deeper impact.

Learn more about the Aspen Institue and their Last Mile Conversation.

 

This article is a part of a series produced at SOCAP12 by New Empire Builders. New Empire Builders is a SOCAP12 media partner.

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