3. How can the risks of inter-organisational collaboration be handled?
The following table shows the most common risks in inter-organisational collaborations and how they can be handled:
|Loss of knowledge: one partner gives more knowledge than others, which take advantage of this knowledge||Clear contracts and rules of collaboration|
|Too much talking, not enough doing||Collaboration means a shift from thinking big ideas alone, and more into the real-time mess of problem solving with others. Shifting work from “I tell, they do” to a “We think together” approach will appear at first to be all about talking. You should make sure that there is enough room for this – as often the talking is the source for innovation. But also make sure that you come soon enough to doing by the project-manager or facilitator. In the end things need to be done!|
|Information (over)sharing.||For collaboration to work, information is rarely left in any silo but is shared and often combined in unexpected ways to reframe problems. For some people, this can mean information overload. For others, who withhold information in order to retain power, the free flow of information is threatening. Make sure that there is a good equilibrium and ask people often, whether the amount of information is too high or too low for them. Create a “flow status”!|
|Fear of conflicts||Collaborating means dealing with conflicting priorities. if you avoid conflict, or don’t know how to fight effectively, nothing will happen. Knowing how to debate the trade-offs between many viable options means knowing how to argue with each other about the business in more open and visible ways.|
|Over-work||Often, collaboration happens on top of other work. Participants are already plenty busy with their “day job” and the new project may be especially stressful because of this. Until the problems that any collaboration project is aimed to fix gets solved, a collaboration project can often be overwhelming.|
|Lack of trust||Organize Regular Team Building Activities
|Make sure from the very beginning and often during the collaboration that the goals of the collaboration are agreed and that partners can articulate their interests.
Find the best way to create an equilibrium of interests, of giving and receiving, of seeding and harvesting.
|Communication problems||Communication issues can derail collaboration success. Set up easy and clear ways of communication, ideally via a platform, which has all information and KPIs and also gives space for discussions. This creates transparency and trust, makes each partner’s life easier and will help you a lot in communication. Try to avoid classical e-mail, as you might create spam and therefore people will start to ignore them.
Create shorter, but more often, meetings (like in SCRUM).