CLI History
The Collective Leadership Institute is a cutting-edge organization with deep expertise in bringing emerging paradigm leadership concepts to multi-stakeholder processes and projects in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Empowering people to address complex challenges in collaboration
Fostering economic development, addressing climate change, ensuring food security, meeting health challenges, enhancing good governance, ensuring responsible supply chains, and improving natural resource management are complex challenges that can only be effectively addressed through robust collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders and institutions with different interests, viewpoints, and competences. These and other sustainability challenges require building functional multi-actor collaboration ecosystems that can deliver results. Leadership in navigating such complex challenges depends on the capacity of a collective to catalyse and implement change for the common good. Up-scaling collaboration skills globally is the Collective Leadership Institute’s passion – for responsible business, people-oriented public service, and a strong civil society.

Based on 20 years of experience in making collaboration work and on sound scientific research, the Collective Leadership Institute’s methodologies:
• strengthen the collaboration skills of individuals and teams,
• help build functioning stakeholder collboration around an issue of common concern within and across organisations,
• empower large groups of actors to address complex challenges jointly, and
• build competence to transform systems towards sustainability.

Our multi-level approach for capacity building
INTERVENTION LEVEL SCALING UP COLLABORATION SKILLS
Leaders and change agents Strengthening capabilities for better co-creation and collective results
Multi-stakeholder action groups Empowering collaborative effectiveness and impact of collective action to navigate complex change
Action networks Building cross-functional and cross-sector networks for large systems change
Complex landscape of actors Enhancing systems resilience to address complex challenges jointly among a wide range of actors
Collaboration that delivers results

Achieving impact in a multi-actor setting requires expertise in how to make collaboration work. Learning a tested methodology and using a common language for complex collaborative change empowers people to make change happen faster – across institutions, stakeholder groups, and societal sectors. Results are more easily achieved and become more resilient.

We partner with the public sector, private sector, and civil society to scale up collaboration skills by:
• identifying existing collaborative competence,
• implementing capacity building approaches to strengthen and improve collaborative capacity, and
• helping to shift multi-actor settings towards successful collective action.

Collective Leadership Institute's core approach

Our core approach is building functioning collaboration ecosystems by creating a culture of collective leadership. Our methodologies, based on our Collective Leadership Compass, focus on invigorating human interaction and networks to drive transition processes and help plan, enact, and assess collaborative change. They strengthen individual leadership, enhance the leadership capacity of a collective, and shift organisations or systems of collaborating actors towards better co-creation.

Our practical experience in making large systems stakeholder collaboration work includes the following collaborative initiatives:
• Responsible supply chain initiatives such as the Common Code for the Coffee Community, the Global Seafood Sustainability Standards,
the German Initiative for Sustainable Cocoa, the German Aliance for Sustainable Textiles, the African Cashew initiative
• Public Private Dialogue (PPD) for economic development (e.g. in Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal)
• Dialogue and collaboration structures for improved water and natural resources management (e.g. in the MENA region, Laos)
• Stakeholder collaboration in climate change responsibility (e.g. in the MENA region)
• Policy development and implementation in dialogue and collaboration (e.g. in Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa,
Togo)
• Multiple local, regional and international action networks (e.g. Public Private Partnership Network for Infrastructure in Southern Africa, The Partnering Alliance, the Emerging Potential Initiative for large systems change)

Partnering for impact

We see ourselves as partners of organisations, leaders, change agents, networks and multi-stakeholder action groups who – like us – are driving a paradigm shift towards sustainability. Our role is building competence for collaboration in complex change. We help drive a global agenda that shows that the quality of collaboration has a direct impact on results on the ground.
• Mission-driven: as an international non-profit organisation we strive for global impact as we know that the Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved with more effective cross-sector partnerships, international multistakeholder alliances, and citizen engagement in societal change.
• Experienced experts: our expertise is based on more than 20 years of successfully supporting transformation towards sustainability as well
as on in-depth research on well-functioning collaboration ecosystems.
• Results-oriented: our resilient methodologies help change agents navigate the complexity of multi-stakeholder collaboration for concrete
results.

The Collective Leadership Institute's background

Founded in 2005 with offices in Germany, South Africa, and the United States, CLI is an international non-profit organisation with the mission to scale up collaboration skills for a sustainable future. Our capacity building approach empowers people and organisations to address sustainability challenges successfully with a focus on high quality stakeholder collaboration, dialogic change, and collective leadership.
More than 2500 alumni of our programmes and more than 25 successfully supported projects showcase our experience in helping to shift multi-actor collaboration to deliver tangible results. Thanks to our proven methodologies, excellent reputation and achieved impact, the Collective Leadership Institute is one of the world’s leading mission-driven organisations in the field of making collaboration for sustainability work. We look forward to partnering with you to achieve your mission and enhance global and local sustainability efforts.
With our Collective Leadership Academy, our Transformation Support, our Network Building, and our Research we empower people to lead collectively towards a sustainable future – for responsible business, people-oriented public service. and a strong civil society.

Build your collaboration skills

CLIs courses in stakeholder collaboration and collective leadership are tried and tested. Find out about these courses in open or tailor-made formats.

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