P-ACT: Partnership Activation Tool

A dialog tool to catalyze critical partnership conversations


Despite a strong and growing consensus on the importance of partnerships involving corporations, social ventures,NGOs, and government agencies to achieve and scale up social innovation, practitioners from within these organizations struggle to effectively initiate, manage, and grow such collaborations successfully.

In 2017, the Practical Impact Alliance convened a working group to review the growing body of knowledge generated around this topic, and explore the barriers and enablers of
social impact partnerships.

Co-led by MIT D-Lab, Intellecap, and Blood Orange, the working group developed P-ACT, a dialog facilitation tool that fosters open and constructive dialogue among practitioners during the partnership activation phase.

P.ACT Partnership Activation Tool

Explore the P.ACT card decks below and learn how to use them here: PDF iconP-ACT: Partnership Activation Tool (Introduction)


Partnership goals

Partnership Goals: Developing Alignment and Coherence

  • Achieve transparency on key partnership goals
  • Establish priority among partnership goals
  • Expose potential goal divergence or conflict of interest
  • Develop alignment on most critical partnership goals
  • Obtain a template for continuing conversation on goal alignment in the future

Download Partnership Goals cards here

Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture: Build Awareness and Shared Approach

  • Foster awareness of cultural similarities and differences among partners
  • Assess cultural fit for partnering
  • Develop a shared approach and a common language under which to undertake partnership activities
  • Obtain template for continuing conversation on culture alignment in the future

Download Organizational Culture cards here

Risks & Benefits

Risks & Benefits: Create Transparency and Balance

  • Achieve visibility of benefits and collaborative advantage gained by partnering
  • Expose and mitigate critical risks that individuals/teams/organizations are exposed to by partnering
  • Achieve transparency in risk-benefit allocation among partners Re-balance risks and benefits incurred in partnership
  • Obtain template for continuing conversation on risks & benefits in the future

Download Risk cards here

Download Benefits cards here

Capabilities & Resources

Capabilities & Resources: Establish Complimentarily and Sufficiency 

  • Achieve transparency on tangible and intangible resource contribution/s made by each partner
  • Assess balance and (in)equity of contributions made by each partner Evaluate the complementarity of resources among partners
  • Determine the sufficiency of resources to carry out partnership objectives and expose dangerous resource gaps
  • Obtain a template for continuing conversation on resources in the future

Download Capabilities & Resources cards here