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New report: Realities Behind the Rhetoric

This is the third case study in the series of the Start Network journey – the focus this time is on the staff team and the advisors, looking at the processes of a multi-stakeholder membership model.

We are the privileged that see everything the Start Network is doing. As alchemists, we are searching for that perfect chemical formula, but as magicians, we know intuition might just go farther, faster. So we constantly connect-the-dots between individuals, organisations, evidence, information, people. We don’t have to prove we are getting somewhere, because the evidence speaks for itself, and allows us to take the Start Network to the next level.” Matthew Kletzing, Manager: Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) team

The case study series is important for a three reasons. First, it is as close as we have to a historical record. Second, it enables us to share our emerging experience with others who wish to learn. Third, it unveils what is ordinarily hidden behind organisational boundaries. This series contributes significantly to our legitimacy as a humanitarian system change catalyst.” Sean Lowrie, Start Network Director

Read the report here: http://partnershipbrokers.org/w/learning/case-studies/

Visit the Start Network website: http://www.startnetwork.org/

7 Probable Myths of Partnering by Catherine Russ

Over the years at the Partnership Brokers Association – working as we have in many different contexts and types of collaboration – we have come to believe that there are a number of partnership ‘truisms’ that may, in fact, not be true.

Myth #1 – “Collaboration is simple – it just takes common sense and good project management”

Collaboration is always complicated and often complex and failure rates of partnerships have been high over the past 20 years because too many key players have not understood this. In reality, partnering requires a high level of professional skill and a focus on process management.

Myth #2 – “Partnerships are the best way to address most problems in the humanitarian sector”

Many issues may be dealt with more efficiently and directly in a transactional model. It is an error to assume that partnering is the best mechanism for every intervention – it should be reserved for the truly intractable problems for which diversity of view and a wide range of interventions are essential.

Myth #3 – “Successful projects are the most important outcome of a partnership”

Project outcomes are, of course, important, but even more valuable outcomes may go way beyond projects – mind-set, policy, behavioural and / or system change may be far more important in the longer term.

Myth #4 – “For partnerships to work, all partners must have common objectives”

Partnerships must operate under a shared, overarching mission but beneath that, each partner is likely to have their own set of specific objectives. The best partnerships welcome this diversity and work hard to incorporate different approaches since this is most likely to lead to innovation and unexpected solutions.

 Myth #5 – “Agreement and consensus are essential for good partnering”

The aim is ‘win-win’ scenarios – this is most likely to be achieved if partners are ambitious for the partnership and work to arrive at alignment with a level of give and take rather than struggling for 100% agreement that inevitably leads to unsatisfactory compromise or collusion.

Myth #6 – “All partnerships need is a good leader”

The risks of a sole leader include on the one hand, over-dependence and on the other, power imbalance. Partnerships are a real opportunity to address questions of power and inequity.  Partnerships that work well are those that offer opportunities for new forms of shared / distributed leadership

Myth # 7 – “Partnerships are nothing new – they’re as old the hills”

It is probably the case that human beings have survived because they have found ways of collaborating and developing a healthy interdependence. However, given the huge challenges we currently face, the time is right to approach the collaborative imperative with a new focus and intentionality. There is an urgent need for those involved in partnerships to equip themselves for the 21st century with appropriate adaptive knowledge and skills coupled with the new modes of networking, societal innovation and communicating.

 

Catherine Russ is speaking at AidEX 2015

@CathRuss

New report: the art of partnering

Published by: Kings College London

The result of a cultural enquiry between the BBC & Kings College – exploring the role partnership plays in enabling publicly funded cultural institutions to enhance the quality and diversity of their work across the UK.

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural/culturalenquiries/partnership/index.aspx

Partnership brokering is a role that needs professionalising. The skill set for the cultural sector should be more clearly identified and nurtured within organisations or as an external network of experienced practitioners.”

Ros Tennyson, PBA’s Development Director for Strategy & Services was on the Advisory Panel and attended the launch this week.

True partnership is radical, possibly revolutionary, difficult and testing as it should be. The rewards of transformation, of innovation, can be real and significant. But they must be hard fought and will be hard earned.” Sir John Tusa

Partnership Brokers Training heads to Wellington, NZ

We are running a Level 1 training in Wellington in October – all details here: http://partnershipbrokers.org/w/training/level-1/

We are working with Thought Partners and Inspiring Communities. The training is 20 -23 October 2015.

Seeking Partnership Brokers for Learning

Action Against Hunger are recruiting for 5 Regional Learning Advisors: http://www.acfin-hr.net/jobs/positions.php?hq=18&id=1258&lang=EN

Deadline for applications is May 10 2015.

The humanitarian sector through the eyes of partnership brokers – Betwixt & Between issue 4 out now

Issue 4 of Betwixt & Between – the journal of partnership brokering – is out now. It is a special issue focusing on the humanitarian sector, and has articles covering the following:

  • Hard-earned lessons for putting the partnership principles into practice
  • The servant leadership approach and humanitarian collaboration
  • Passing on the mantle of humanitarian collaboration across generations
  • Develloping a soft humanitarian field – improving doing and being through creative partnership brokering
  • Supporting civilian protection as humanitarian action – a brokering experience from the DRC
  • Value for money in partnerships – a challenge to partnership brokers

Read the full articles here

To contribute to the journal click here. The next issue is an open issue.

The humanitarian partnership broker as change agent

A new blog by Catherine Russ on the Humanitarian Practice Network talks through the barriers to effective partnerships and their management, and what a new approach may look like. The skilling-up of partnership brokers could assist the evolution in building partnerships that are fit for purpose in complex environments. This requires a new way of looking at funding and supporting partnerships.

“What is needed is an approach that fosters and embeds a partnering mindset and creates conditions of trust, creativity and innovation – all increasingly essential conditions for finding integrated solutions to complex problems and building legitimacy and buy-in from all partners for sustained systemic change.”

Read the blog here

 

PBA Board expansion

2014 kicked off with a flying start for PBA, bringing on both changes in the Board, and the appointment of 2 Development Directors.

The PBA Board has grown from 4 to 6. One of our original Board members– Kwasi A. Boateng has stepped down from the Board due to time commitments and to provide the opportunity for others to contribute their experience as Board Members to this ‘wonderful organisation’ (his words, not ours!). Kwasi will remain on the Members Council and an active alumnus of the organisation.We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kwasi for his steadying presence and spirited support of PBA’s establishment and growth.

The January board meeting confirmed the appointment of 3 new Board Members.  This is in line with PBA’s drive to bring in a wealth of experience and fresh ideas to take forward our plans as a fit for purpose, small yet robust organisation. The 3 individuals are all alumni of the organisation, and come from very different backgrounds: Sam Aiboni works for Shell in Nigeria, Ian Dixon is the founding Director of Dixon Partnering Solutions and hosts the training in Australia. Marieke Hounjet is with Start Network in London. See the Governance page for a short biography of each Board Member.

PBA grows the international team

In addition to strengthening the PBA Board, we have appointed 2 new Development Directors to carry forward our training and learning work.

The new Development Director for Training is Julie Mundy. With over 20 years of experience in international development, Julie has been working as an independent partnerships specialist and with PBA for many years, as a trainer and mentor with practitioners, but also as a sound advisor to PBA in its transition over the last few years. Julie is based in Australia.

Leda Stott joins us as the Development Director for Learning. Leda has been involved in partnership brokering work for many years, and has worked with us as a mentor since the beginning of the Level 2 Accreditation course. Leda is based in Spain and has an impressive track record in research and teaching about partnerships and research methodology (at EOI Business School and the Technical University of Madrid in Spain  and Oxford Brookes in the UK). She has most recently worked with us to develop the new Level 2 Research Certificate.

Julie and Leda join Ros Tennyson as Development Director of Strategy. We are very much looking forward to expanding the internationally based team, and implementing our plans over the course of the next year.

Call for abstracts – Betwixt & Between – Issue 3

The next issue of Betwixt & Between – the  journal of partnership brokering – comes out in May and we welcome your abstracts.

This next issue is completely open – for any burning topics and developments in the profession that you would like to contribute to the brokering community.

Download the details here

We are looking for articles from practitioners in all these areas – be it frontline experience or conceptual frameworks. You don’t have to be an alumni of the Partnership Brokers Association to contribute – we welcome abstracts from all those working in this field.

If you are interested in contributing to the journal we invite your article by 1st March 2014. If you would like to contact us to discuss your piece, please email us. To view past issues of the journal: http://partnershipbrokers.org/w/journal/