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Tuesday 18 June 2019

Secrets of successful collaboration: 19. co-create unique artefacts that will facilitate the emergence of mutually understood and agreed collaborative processes

As well as adapting existing tools and techniques to their needs and purposes, partners can co-create unique artefacts (tools, checklists, techniques, etc.) that will help them address their collaboration's specific requirements and challenges.

The close collaboration required to co-create these artefacts, plus the positive feelings and enhanced self-esteem associated with having taken the opportunity to contribute something not only unique but also useful to the collaboration (and most likely to others outside of it, so enhancing its reputation and perceived worth) can positively transform partners' interactions and relationships; increased mutual trust, and with it partners' increased willingness to welcome each other's interdependence, can hugely enhance overall collaborative effectiveness.               

The artefacts created do not have to be complex. Indeed, some of the most effective can be very simple. Such an artefact was co-created during the DREAM-IT programme in Mongolia. 

This programme, which sought to identify how best to encourage the socio-economic development of Mongolia through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), brought together key players (donors, recipients, project members, and evaluation experts) to collect, discuss and analyse evaluation findings concerning the effectiveness of DREAM-IT's various projects.

During this process, the expertise, experience, perspectives and ideas of all those involved eventually (and unexpectedly) combined to create a checklist for the planning and implementation of innovative projects.

The evaluation findings had found that projects that needed to be significantly innovative had not performed well and that, if they were to improve, they would need to be worked with and managed differently. The checklist, which was created by Mongolian researchers (with significant input from the other key players mentioned above) encouraged new collaborative and management processes to develop and embed themselves within the DREAM-IT programme of projects: funders began to use the checklist to work collaboratively with applicants who were requesting support for innovative projects, and leaders of innovation focused projects began leading and managing in ways appropriate to the planning and implementation issues associated with working creatively to achieve innovative goals. 

In addition, the sense of having contributed to creating a practical and useful tool that would significantly enhance the effectiveness of the programme bolstered the confidence of the local Mongolian managers and researchers and motivated and encouraged everyone (including governmental and international partners) to continue developing their collaborative relationships and processes.

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