Actioning a Complex Collaboration: Building the Innovation Process from disruptive idea to concept and through prototypes and pilots to routine operation

The CCM visual shows the collaboration catalyst and the various stages of action across the top of the diagram, as the actions contributing to the desired outcomes.

Actioning a collaborative project starts with its catalyst– a mandated collaboration such as this can be as effective but will have a slightly different starting point than a voluntary collaboration.  The seven Stages of Action then move through preparation and a disruptive idea, prototyping and pilot testing before ultimately integrating into routine operation. In a multi-organizational collaboration all steps must be operationalized in all organizations.

The Stages involve iterative diverging and converging discussions, to make sure the collaborators are exploring the widest possible range of opportunities while at the same time making timely progress. Go/NoGo stages between steps enable collaborators to assess, with the benefit of deeper understanding, whether their involvement on an ongoing basis is possible or appropriate for their organization.

In a complex collaboration it is especially important for representatives on the Coordinating Committee to be clear about their relative roles. They have BOTH a role in representing their organization, perhaps their sector, AND a leadership role acting for the whole region. This will place them in conflict unless the group agrees to work for BOTH / AND strategies. Supports for this approach come from multiple directions:

  • Clarifying the rules of consensus decision making
  • Members believing there will be strategies that enable mutual gain – that Both/And is possible although it may require considering other strategies than an initial position
  • Growing the level of trust in the group so that individual members are comfortable in raising requirements from their organization, so that the group can widen the solution space to find strategies that provide mutual gain.