The big idea
Collaboration or joint working has been increasingly in the spotlight in all sectors. With the economic downturn forcing a drive towards efficiency and performance improvement, collaboration is likely to come to the fore even more. Some public funders may even expect it of their clients. It is covered in this toolkit because:
- Inter-organisational working, partnerships, collaboration … Call it what you will, it has already been happening for some time. It is not unusual in the creative and cultural sectors for artists to come together with venues, or music organisations to collaborate on festivals and so on
- Successful collaboration can bring real benefits. It extends resources, expertise and experience. It brings new perspectives to an opportunity or a challenge and can lead to real innovation. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts
- However, it can also be a challenging route to take. Issues of trust, power and control need to be carefully managed and can easily consume the project. To work effectively, members of the consortium have to give things up to gain the intended benefits – and that does not suit everyone. It can also be time consuming, slow moving and frustrating to manage
This tool provides a mechanism for reviewing any inter-organisational working that you may be involved with. It looks at how collaborations develop over time. Research in this area shows that inter-organisational collectives go through a number or phases: some are able to reach what might be regarded as full collaboration while others remain at a more ad hoc level. Being able to spot where your collaboration is positioned may help you take action to improve its effectiveness and achieve your goals.
The tool consists of a number of statements to help you assess your collaboration. Your answers will show which stage in its development your collaboration has reached. You can complete it on your own or with your group. It is suitable for any business working in collaboration with others and should take about 30 minutes.