So the future can be summed up as both hopeful and scary, and it is people working effectively in collaboration that will help realise the former and avoid the latter.
In order to survive and thrive in this increasingly complex and demanding future world partnerships and collaborations will need to be:
- Pioneering pathfinders
- Masters of the paradox
- Challenging and disruptive
- Influential players
- Socially enterprising
- Populated by a new breed of collaborative worker
- Purposefully transformative
Be influential players
Collaborations and partnerships will need to become adept at exploiting their unique positioning, status, knowledge and expertise to gain influence with and get things done through key people, organisations and institutions. They will need to emphasise the value of the trust and credibility they have developed with the people they represent and serve, clearly demonstrating how these can be useful in the achievement of mutual goals. They will need to build strong alliances of like-minded people and organisations that will work towards ensuring the improvements and successes realised through collaborative efforts are thoroughly embedded within the main stream of organisational and institutional best practice. In achieving all this they must not be timid about exploiting the 'conscience capital' they have accrued through consistently championing ethical behaviour and doing the right things in the right way.
An employment and training project had problems with office security and threatening behaviour towards its staff, until a local partnership that was representative of the community and well known within the area offered to assist with the running of the local office. Security concerns and problem behaviour quickly diminished, thus demonstrating the usefulness of gaining trust and credibility within a local area.
15 UK Social Enterprises have formed the Social Economic Alliance to act as a powerful lobbying group that will champion the cause of social enterprise and seek to influence mainstream party political policy during the run up to the next UK General Election. The first social enterprise bank Big Society Capital has been created, so making a significant step towards embedding the collaborative social enterprise approach within the key mainstream institution of banking and finance.
Social enterprises are further exploiting their collaborative approach by creating commercially focused partnerships and networks of like-minded businesses. These will gradually form a global eco-system of social enterprise businesses that will rival the power and influence of traditional private sector companies.
Ethical Glass is a partnership between Belu, the bottled water social enterprise, and Rawlings the glass packaging specialist, that makes good use of its conscience capital to increase its influence within the bottled water industry. The partnership makes clear that the bottles it provides are the most ethically and greenest produced in the UK. Belu also generates useful ethical capital by publicly donating 100% of its profits to the charity WaterAid.
So, what are you doing to increase the influence of your partnership with those that matter? How can you demonstrate the value and usefulness of your local knowledge and expertise and/or the trust and credibility you have built up with local people and communities? What powerful alliances can you help create and/or join to increase the influence of your activities and approach upon mainstream organisations and institutions? What commercially focused partnerships and networks can you form with like-minded businesses and other groups to widen the scope and influence of your activities. How can you make your ethical credentials clear and use them to progress your work and achieve your objectives?
For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition
Follow on Twitter at charles_lines