The tools and approaches collaborations use when working and problem solving with partners will be flexible and creative. This will ensure partners are able to tailor the tools and approaches to their needs and preferences and express ideas, thoughts and opinions easily and in ways meaningful to them.
A tool with the above characteristics was used as part of a study examining collaborative working amongst different types of nurses and between nurses and other professionals, patients and carers. The tool, called a Pictor Diagram, required individuals to create visual representations of their experiences of collaborative working within specific situations. The tool required the use of arrows and colours: the arrows indicated how an individual perceived relationships amongst the different actors involved; the colours indicated how an individual perceived the roles of the different actors involved. The tool was flexible and creative because it allowed the arrows to be used in any way that made sense to the individuals, and it allowed the individuals to use any colours to represent the various actors. This approach encouraged exploration and comparison of personal experiences and perceptions. It also enabled the study to gain insights into how different types of nurses experienced collaborative working with each other, other professionals, and patients and carers.
To read a detailed account of this study and its use of Pictor Diagrams click here.
The way in which collaborations record their progress and achievements will also be tailored to the individual. In addition to creating an objective and impersonal record of their activities and achievements, which will be part of their project management and evaluation methodology, collaborations will maintain a chronicle that filters through the prism of personal perspective their journeys and achievements. Partners will be invited to contribute personal stories and experiences, so splitting the bland white light of official reports and jargon laden records into the separate emotional colours of partners' human reactions and interactions.
The stimulating spectrum of differing perspectives offered by the above chronicles, tools and approaches will encourage partners to share in each other's experiences and empathise with each other's feelings. The colourful mix of personal stories and insights will also help others with whom collaborations interact gain an enriched understanding of collaborations' work, partners and context. This will contribute to the gaining of allies and the strengthening of support for collaborations' activities and aims.
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