Designing Successful Governance Groups

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, together with the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC), is pleased to announce the release of a new publication, “Designing Successful Governance Groups: Lessons for Leaders from Real-World Examples,” authored by Ryan Budish, Sarah Myers West, and Urs Gasser.

Solutions to many of the world’s most pressing governance challenges, ranging from natural resource management to the governance of the Internet, require leaders to engage in multistakeholder processes. Yet, relatively little is known how to successfully lead such processes.  This paper outlines a set of useful, actionable steps for policymakers and other stakeholders charged with creating, convening, and leading governance groups. The tools for success described in this document are distilled from research published earlier this year by Berkman and the NoC, a comprehensive report entitled “Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: Observations From Case Studies,” which closely examines 12 examples of real-world governance structures from around the globe and draws new conclusions about how to successfully form and operate governance groups.

This new publication, “Designing Successful Governance Groups,” focuses on the operational recommendations drawn from the earlier case studies and their accompanying synthesis paper. It provides an actionable starting place for those interested in understanding some of the critical ingredients for successful multistakeholder governance.

At the core of this paper are three steps that have helped conveners of successful governance groups:

  1. Establish clear success criteria

  2. Set the initial framework conditions for the group

  3. Continually adjust steps 1 and 2 based on evolving contextual factors

The paper explores these three steps in greater detail and explains how they help implement one central idea: Governance groups work best when they are flexible and adaptive to new circumstances and needs and have conveners who understand how their decisions will affect the inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of the group….(More)”