Monday, 17 November 2008

Reflections on the Edinburgh FAN Club meeting on 13th November, 2008

The meeting in Edinburgh was a great place to launch this initiative. Personally I got a sense of entrepreneurism, innovation and a willingness to engage from our Scottish colleagues. And I was delighted with the number of conversations I had during the breaks about collaborative working generally and this initiative specifically. I look forward to speaking to you in due course and to engaging with those of you unable to be in Edinburgh for this meeting.

My observations and assumptions.

Given my observations and assumptions that I shared in my presentation, I was really looking forward to an opportunity to test them during the day and with that in mind listened with a different mind-set than I might otherwise have done.

I heard a lot of good intentions; words like conversation, sharing, discussion, consultation were all used during the day. My sense is that these deeds can be used as a surrogate for collaboration. None of them commit the individual to co-creation; to giving something up in attempting to achieve a shared goal.

I’m not advocating that every interaction should be collaborative in nature, indeed there is a strong argument that says true collaboration or partnership should be the last thing you try, particularly when other business / management approaches remain valid options.

Using collaboration or partnership as words to describe how we do business is becoming very common. But these words describe potentially complex interactions and more importantly can mean different things to different people. Collaborative working is best embarked upon on the basis of an already mature relationship where open and honest conversations can take place about wants, offers, shared risk and reward and a common understanding of how shared stakeholders will benefit from our endeavours.

So what’s different about collaboration?

I was very pleased to have been able to answer one question at the end of my presentation with a description of the Collaboration Cycle and have included a description of the cycle in this blog. CLICK HERE to see the details of the Collaboration Cycle.