Achieving goals faster, optimising the use of available resources, achieving funding targets, mitigating risk, navigating Brexit comfortably, learning and developing as an organisation and increasing the skills and experience of a staff team are all potential reasons why external collaboration with other groups should always be at the top of your strategic priorities list. Collaboration has always been a demonstrably positive way for organisations to formally and informally join together to achieve shared aims with a common purpose. Achieving responsible and sustainable aims is a huge challenge and something that Henry Ford understood well as he developed his great thinking around collaboration as a pioneer in the early manufacture of motor cars, and a thought that has stood the test of time.
The range of collaborative efforts
is wide. Huge global firms collaborate on everything from shared transport
to move goods and services through to the collaborative efforts of big pharma and tiny biotech companies to deliver new, novel life-saving drugs. Hyper local informal groups collaborate all the time, throwing celebratory events to reclaim the streets
on a one-off basis and individuals coming together to introduce old books
, free to people in deprived neighbourhoods. All great stuff, so what next??
An important place to start is to understand how your organisational vision, values and objectives are articulated and what restrictions or boundaries you have in place. These need to be clearly articulated so that a clear match or conflict can be raised and then addressed. Selecting partners with shared goals is not an easy task! Hosted by the North East Leaders for Social Change
, the recent North East Collaboration Conference
made some fantastic progress into this area and put hard cash into collaboration projects. Impressively, the money was purely to explore and discern collaboration opportunities, a very brave and forward-looking approach from these funders. For example, one group was looking at using the funding to set up a collaboration of addiction services in one area to make sure that beneficiaries could access services quickly and to reduce a duplication of services.