Darian Stibbe is an internationally-recognised pioneer in multi-stakeholder collaboration, developing much of the theory and practice of partnering now being integrated as standard into partnerships and organisations around the world.
His cutting-edge conceptual work makes sense of complexity, building much needed clarity on everything from how partnerships can deliver more than the sum of their parts through their collaborative advantage, to what organisations must do to become institutionally fit for partnering; from the process of partnering to the building blocks of effective platforms that catalyse collaboration. He is lead author of the SDG Partnering Guidebook (developed as a TPI / United Nations collaboration), quickly becoming the ‘standard textbook’ for in-country partnering around the world.
He has had considerable influence in helping to shift the UN system to become more collaborative, particularly with business. As well as training over a thousand UN staff, he has worked on the partnering strategies of multiple agencies, as well as analysing and supporting them to become more fit for partnering.
His influence on international policy can be seen through multiple policy documents and side events, his engagement as the private sector representative on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (for which he developed the seminal Roadmap for the effective engagement of business as a partner in development), and through his occasional curation of the ECOSOC Partnership Forum.
Darian has worked extensively with the private sector – both supporting multi-national companies and foundations to maximise their partnering impact, as well as driving wider change through collaborating with membership organisations including the ICC, WBCSD and ICMM.
The Annual Review of Social Partnerships has recognised him for his inspirational work as a ‘Thexis Leader’: the ability of people to move to an evolved understanding in any field by merging theoretical and practical insights, theories and experiences. The award noted: “One nomination referred to Stibbe as ‘a bit like the partnering Oracle, offering a wealth of practical delivery experience and an amazing ability to generate knowledge capital that quickly becomes international best practice.’ Another stated that ‘Darian is steeped in partnership theory and practice. His depth of knowledge inspires you to go beyond what you thought possible’.”
Darian was previously a theoretical quantum physicist, including as a NASA scientist.
Darian has a somewhat unusual career path: following a physics degree at Oxford and a Ph.D. at London and Harvard, he became a quantum physicist, first as a NASA scientist and then as a Marie-Curie Fellow at the University of Paris, before segueing into sustainable development and cross-sector partnerships.
He lives in Oxford with his family and enjoys running, playing in a rock band and growing unfeasibly hot chillies – all with more enthusiasm than discernible talent.