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Friday 12 July 2019

Secrets of successful collaboration: 25. manage the process of collaborative growth (3)

Here are the four main issues to address when managing the growth in influence of a collaboration:
  1. Maintaining and enhancing the relevance and helpfulness of a collaboration's influence.
  2. Freshening and diversifying a collaboration's influence.
  3. Dealing with the consequences of a collaboration's influence, both for itself and for others it sits beside and/or collaborates with.
  4. Ensuring growing influence is transformed into sustainable long-term benefits within mainstream practice.          
The key to doing the above effectively is engaging: engaging early, engaging continuously, engaging purposefully, and engaging widely and creatively.

Engaging early and with key people, groups, organisations and other stakeholders already active within a new collaboration's area of activity (be this geographical, sectorial, vocational or professional, etc.) will help ensure a collaboration's efforts and influence are not only immediately relevant and helpful but also readily welcomed and supported. 

Continuously engaging with the above people and groups, etc., will help ensure a collaboration's activities remain relevant and helpful and welcomed and supported. It will also help enable the timely identification of any unforeseen effects and consequences of a collaboration's influence and encourage action to address them.

Researching people and groups, etc., active within a collaboration's sphere of influence and purposefully engaging with those most relevant and significant to a collaboration's activity will not only help achieve many of the above aspects but also, most crucially, help transform current and growing influence into sustainable long-term benefits within mainstream practice. Commonly, the latter is achieved by encouraging influential and relevant mainstream organisations and institutions to get involved in a collaboration's activities and identify how emerging insights and new and innovative approaches could be incorporated into widespread common practice.
Identifying the shifting views and opinions of all the people affected by and who can influence a collaboration's work by engaging widely and creatively, through the use of social media and innovative conference and meeting approaches (e.g., unusual suspects conferences and scouting meetings) will freshen and diversify a collaboration's influence. It will achieve the former by encouraging a collaboration to change the way it goes about its work and achieves its goals, so altering the nature and manner of its influence. It will achieve the latter by increasing the amount and different types of people and groups, etc., a collaboration engages with, so adding to the channels of influence available to it.

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