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The dynamics of human services convergence

Explore insights from the 2014 human services summit at Harvard University.


Convergence is here to stay. It is the combination of forces from all sides—technological, economic and social—that are reinventing the human services environment. It is driving a clear and immediate need for new ways of working—from new operating models to creative partnerships centered on serving the whole person.

There is no doubt that the dynamics of convergence are a force to be reckoned with in human services—and there is potential for great peril or exciting promise here. So how can agencies ensure that they benefit from the rewards of convergence without the risks?

This was the focus of the fifth annual Human Services Summit, and this report offers the key highlights and important takeaways from this inspirational and foundational event for the human services community.

Leadership for a Networked World originally published this report.

Download PDFDownload the full report to explore the dynamics of convergence in detail


The 2014 Human Services Summit—the fifth annual Summit—was held on October 24-26, 2014 at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. APHSA leaders also held their annual CEO retreat on October 24. For the next two days, a passionate group of human services policy makers, researchers and executives attended sessions on top-of-mind-issues to share leading practices and get ideas to take back to their own communities.

Download PDFDownload the full report to review case studies of organizations winning through convergence.


The Summit explored the five dynamics of convergence:

  1. Systems & Structure. The alignment of health and human services with education, workforce development and public safety will yield new partnerships and pathways to sustainable, population-based health and wellbeing.

  2. Platforms & Engagement. The fusion of technological platforms, mobile applications, data-driven analytics and social networks will afford new ways to engage with citizens, evaluate programs and customize services.

  3. Capital & Investment: The intersection of demand for preventive services with public and private investment models will improve and increase the use of financial mechanisms.

  4. Behavior & Design. The merging of ideas in behavioral economics and evidence-based program design will set new standards and methods for how policy and programs are developed, how outcomes are valued, and how impacts are measured.

  5. Mindset & Models. The combination of new research in brain science with human services practice models will inform intervention designs and empower families to succeed.

Download PDFDownload the full report to learn more about the impact of the 2014 Human Services Summit.


Convergence is not going away. It is yet another “new normal” condition that human services leaders must adapt to and manage through.

Human services leaders have a clear choice when it comes to convergence. They can either seize it as an opportunity to deliver better outcomes to people in better ways or fall behind and experience declining outcomes. Some of the keys of winning at human services convergence include:

  • Develop a constructive response.

  • Drive progress with a bold vision.

  • Articulate a clear strategy.

  • Embrace transformative solutions.

  • Focus on outcomes measurement.

  • Support an adaptive agency culture.

  • Build creative partnerships.

Download the full report to seize the possibilities in the dynamics of convergence.