Collaboration “the action of working with someone to produce something” brings mutual benefits, to be delivered successfully needs effort from all.
In this guest blog, Paul Young, KBR, describes his personal view on public/private collaboration and the skills leaders need to bring.
When I started out in UK law enforcement collaboration was all about your team, as time has gone by, I believe it is essential to widen the collaboration and use skills that exist in other sectors. The 4th Industrial Revolution is blurring the boundaries that public service is used to and now it is time to evolve how we think and approach the pace of change.
Having been (unintentionally) guilty of siloed working in the past I can see how a lack of real collaboration hinders the transformation needed quickly enough. Every description of the actions required to collaborate successfully includes, having a clear cause, communicate and ultimately building trust with each other.
The changes I have seen within law enforcement have come about through a reaction to something, generally when it has gone wrong! There is little opportunity given to leaders for thinking and planning, as we all know there is precious little time left in a relentless workday. By adopting some true collaboration, could we give back some of that time?
What collaboration involves
I think to collaborate means working together for a clear and common aim, free to view articles on collaboration include setting team goals, communicating expectations (implementing a Command & Control approach where appropriate) and identifying team members strengths, from leading teams, I have seen this build trust internally. We need to expand this with a wider team outside our own organisations. This can’t be rushed, it’s built over time with honesty in approach, the willingness to change and for all sides to learn.
Allowing SME’s to gain a full understanding of the issue and not just be tasked with a solution brings out creative thinking. I believe the subsequent ideas and required solutions generated can be utilised in other settings offering additional value, while sustained and successful change is implemented.
As more of our world becomes connected with IoT devices, smart cities and an ever-increasing number of providers of tech services, I believe the future of collaboration will move from a traditional, transactional procurement process. The complex arrangements of suppliers will be the new “norm” and the solutions scalable and flexible at speed. I hope it evolves to a model which can provide long-term value & allow an innovation space to build and deliver collaborative change.
Working with multiple partners and industry SME’s will become more common place. Encouraging SME’s to have social value at the forefront of their thinking, should change mindsets and opinions, we are dealing with intelligent customers who may not be the most digitally minded, but who through their work serve and protect the public. Where pockets of ‘collaboration’ have occurred, this should be shared widely along with the lessons learned.
How do we measure Social Value and collaboration?
The concept of social value can be used to show benefits of what has been achieved, rather than using static methods of measuring public sector performance. Examples of this can include an engaged workforce identified through staff surveys along with reductions in abstractions and staff leaving their role on promotion or career progression. Being confident in measuring a negative also helps the change behaviours by failing fast and moving on.
Investing in people, trusting them (whichever sector they represent) to get a job done and allow different thinking needs to happen on a wider scale, with the results shared. Do you dare to share?
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