I'm thinking about...
#collaboration #buildbackbetter # workingbettertogether
In our first article of this series, we built the case for “why” collaboration is critical for regional impact (and indeed in other areas too) and offered some definitions of collaboration for consideration. In this second article, we continue to develop these ideas and build on the “how” and “what” of collaboration, by considering two collaboration success stories in a New Zealand regional context.
The goal of creative collaboration is to explore unknown directions and to develop new possibilities. It’s not about knowing the answers – it’s about learning through exploration and experimentation.
We didn’t start with the answers. Through the processes of collaboration in quite different contexts, partners were able to identify common agendas and work together to find collective solutions. In these examples, we demonstrate both internal and external collaboration, as well as complex cross-sector and system collaboration successes.
Common threads across these successful programmes of work include:
●An investment of time at the beginning of the journey to agree why we are collaborating – this means we are working to an agreed shared agenda (which has some fluidity and can adapt through the process).
●A strengths–based approach across all partners. We each acknowledge that the effort required is beyond any one of us, we identify each partner’s contribution and value-add to the whole (we move beyond competing for the same space).
● Throughout, we are utilising frameworks and approaches in an organic way, artfully mixed and adapted to meet the needs of the context and changing dynamics.
●Recognising that collaboration is a stand-alone skill set and capability; there is committed investment in building the collaboration muscle.
● We have created open environments where sharing ideas and discourse of ideas is safe and all the voices are heard.
●Collaborative Leadership: there is a focus on empowering leaders across the organisations. The focus and reliance on hierarchies and titles is taking a back seat, as thought leaders emerge and are enabled.
●There is a readiness to move beyond individual partner foci to a system-wide collective focus.
We have incredible opportunity to act collectively for impact in areas we care about, In the face of challenge people do amazing things.
What follows below are two collaboration success stories in a New Zealand regional context, which we have had the privilege of being part of. We highlight these to illustrate how collaboration has made a difference for these businesses, regions and communities and how collaboration might benefit you and your organisation.
Nazanin Jenkin is a Persian Kiwi - a Persian by descent and a diaspora by circumstance. She lives in New Zealand; along with her husband of thirty years and two surviving, adult children.