What makes partnerships successful? Collaboration is the process of shared creation. Two or more individuals with complementary skills interact to create a shared understanding that none had previously possessed or could have come to on their own.
Collaboration creates a shared meaning about a process, a product, or an effect. The true medium of collaboration is other people. Real innovation comes from this social matrix, according to Michael Schrage, author of Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration.
In today’s world economy, many companies are struggling to maintain quality while functioning with fewer resources. The economic and social issues can become real barriers to innovation, quality improvement, and successful services for today’s businesses. One way to combat the economic and social environment is by creating new and improved partnerships to use resources and share expertise to provide better services.
When two or more organizations are considering a partnership, the first question should be: Do the organizations involved have similar values that allow the partnership to function in a synergist way? It needs to remain positive and productive through both successes and challenges.
Second, ask: Does the partnership enhance our collective value proposition to the client? Will the client truly benefit? If the partnership doesn’t provide tangible value to the client, then the premise of the relationship should be revisited.
The third question is: Will each partnering organization be strengthened through knowledge transfer or capacity building within their entity?
Successful business alliances or collaborations begin by understanding how to create effective, productive partnerships. In partnerships, two or more entities or people come together for mutual benefit. Often, organizations spend much of their time assessing the financial terms of a partnership. While the financial aspect of partnerships is important, truly successful partnerships include understanding the need to manage the partnership in human terms (Cockerell, 2008).
In a 1994 Harvard Business Review article, Rosabeth Moss Kanter outlines eight elements that are needed for partnerships to succeed:
These eight characteristics form the foundation for successful alliances, partnerships, and collaborations.