Evidence-based assessment of successful collaboration highlights six partnership principles:
Recognise and accept the need for partnership
Develop clarity and realism of purpose
Ensure commitment and ownership
Develop and maintain trust
Create clear and robust partnership arrangements, and
Monitor, measure and learn.
The development of a shared vision and values between collaborating organisations, has been highlighted as crucial to successful collaboration.
A successful collaboration or partnership also needs to be approached systematically. Without clear goals and careful planning, collaborating organisations risk misunderstandings, disagreements or other problems arising.
Systematic planning for collaborative ventures involves:
- Assessment of the likely benefits to the organisation and the venture's impact on its services or activities, the attributes and suitability of potential partner/s, and the venture's potential risks.
- Alignment of goals and values. There needs to be a basic agreement about the purpose of the collaboration, what the organisations will try to achieve together, mutual expectations and the principles or values by which the partners will operate. The principles need to include agreements to operate with transparency and openness in dealings with one another.
- Negotiation of details. The agreement between organisations needs to detail partners' specific roles and responsibilities, practical issues such as time frames and financial arrangements, and any other terms and conditions of the agreement, such as confidentiality and intellectual property.
- Documentation. The agreement between the partners needs to be documented, either in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or, where there are resource or legal implications, in a formal agreement or contract.