Radical Collaboration in Makana, South Africa - From the individual, to the collective, to systems change

In South Africa, Synergos and the Kagiso Trust are helping a municipal government become more collaborative and better able to meet the needs of residents and local businesses.

In 2020, the High Court in the country’s Eastern Cape found that that the Makana municipal government failed its constitutional duty to provide public services that residents had paid for.

Through a process of “radical collaboration,” Kagiso and Synergos are working with government officials and community and business leaders to develop more inclusive, impactful programs on issues from waste management issue to water to youth development.

This effort uses Synergos’ bridging leadership approach to build trust and collaboration. Elements of this approach include:

  • Systems thinking - using data and analysis to understand the situation at hand
  • Deep listening and sensing - through learning journeys and other practices
  • Inner work - in which leaders work on themselves as they enter into collaborative spaces.

Marlene Ogawa of Synergos South Africa and Paul Smith of Kagiso Trust recently presented learning from Makana to the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute. We are delighted to share video of that with you.