learning-subWe are exploring a wide range of collaboration challenges 

specifically those pertaining to the partnering process. We are also concerned to explore whether partnership brokering actually makes a significant difference to collaboration effectiveness, innovation and sustainability – and if so, in what ways.

Some early findings from the range of action research we have undertaken to date suggest the following:


Collaborative challenges Partnership Brokering Solutions
Limited understanding of what it takes to partner successfully – too few players thinking it through coherently and continuously A situation brokers themselves are particularly well placed to rectify if their expertise and insights are properly articulated and valued
Organisations that are un-fit for partnering – many failing to recognise how their culture and behaviours need to adapt in order to collaborate effectively An area where brokers can, and increasingly do, make a critical contribution
Communication breakdown – working inter- (and even intra-) sectorally can be surprisingly difficult and frequently leads to breakdown Partnership brokers can help transform breakdown into breakthrough – getting beneath the surface and building creatively on diversity
Failure in terms of legislation and policy-making – to create an enabling environment for partnering Partnership brokers can help to build a collective voice to address this on behalf of partnerships everywhere
Donor practices undermining rather than supporting collaboration ­– by funding them inappropriately Partnership brokers are taking a lead in working with donors to change this
Lack of recognition of the critical role partnership brokers play ­– meaning that they are unable to use their skills and insights to help those involved to optimise potential All stakeholders involved in multi-stakeholder collaboration need compelling evidence that demonstrates why, when and how good partnership brokering makes a difference

See our published case studies and other research for more detailed findings.

In general terms we anticipate that our research and learning work will enable us as an entity and partnership brokers worldwide to:

  • Increase understanding and acceptance across sectors of the role of partnership brokers in enabling multi-sector partnerships to succeed
  • Provide evidence of the economic value of partnership-brokering and the ‘intangible wealth’ it creates by making a significant contribution to the development of better systems and infrastructure
  • Clarify the significant role of partnership brokers in addressing the global crisis in governance (corporate, governmental, international agencies and civil society) through the implementation of good practice, partnering principles, new models of leadership and system change
  • Raise the profile of partnership brokers and their added value to partnerships through relationship & capacity building, process management, sustained outreach, social networking and more
  • Confirm and promote the highest ethical standards for partnership brokers and for their activities – suitably validated and codified
  • Make the case for partnership brokers as key players in high profile and / or crisis situations (such as conflict mitigation, nation-building, humanitarian relief, adaptation to climate change)
  • Make the case for donors to invest in partnership brokers and partnership-brokering as a low-cost, high impact way of improving the effectiveness of the partnerships they support
  • Make the case for decision makers to engage brokers in improving systems and the enabling environment to better ensure that partnerships flourish and achieve ambitious goals
  • Develop the case for an international professional body with a credible and measurable track record, better placed to lobby, influence and shape the partnering enabling environment

The research findings and lessons learnt will form the basis of our transforming work.