Collaborative capitalism is the key to transforming public services

Collaboration between private companies and public and voluntary bodies is the key to improving public services in many countries according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas author of Transforming Public Services. The University of Greenwich professor was commenting on his special address at the 8th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility held in Bangalore, India.

The professor feels companies should collaborate for mutual advantage as well as compete: “Collaboration with customers, the public sector and other communities of interest can advance both social and business agendas. Corporate initiatives can have greater impact when implemented in collaboration with other organisations that have compatible aims and complementary capabilities. It is easier to attract, engage and energise people when corporate aspirations are turned into causes.”

Coulson-Thomas believes mutually beneficial public-private collaboration can energize both sectors and benefit the wider community: “Public sector bodies in many countries face financial constraints and/or increases in demand that are outstripping available resources. As expectations rise and new possibilities emerge, many public sector leaders face the challenge of doing more with less. ”

In his report Transforming Public Services the professor shows how it is possible to work with existing people and budgets to quickly build higher performance organisations that can achieve multiple objectives and provide clear benefits to various stakeholders. The new leadership he advocates involves changing the emphasis from managing, motivating and leading people to helping them. This includes helping them to take better informed and more sustainable decisions.

Coulson-Thomas suggests “Companies need to step up from existing CSR initiatives to using core corporate capabilities to profitably address pressing issues facing mankind. Collaborative and responsible capitalism can further social and organizational objectives. Strategic responses can deliver multiple benefits for our businesses, our customers, our people and the environment. ”

Prof. Coulson-Thomas, who also produced the theme paper for the international conference, believes the many possibilities he has identified for collaborative capitalism, public-private partnerships and the transformation of public services represents a historic business, political and social opportunity. He called upon delegates to work together and grasp it.

The 8th International Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility organised by the Institute of Directors of India was held in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India at the Hotel ITC Windsor Manor. Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of Transforming Public Services and over 40 other books and reports is a member of the business school team at the University of Greenwich and holds a portfolio of private, public and voluntary sector appointments. He can be contacted via Transforming Public Services and his other recent books and reports can be obtained from


27 Jan 2014
Colin Coulson-Thomas