Betwixt & Between

Topic: Breakthrough Thinking

Browse Issues:
Issue #6, Issue #5, Issue #4, Issue #3, Issue #2, Issue #1

Abstract: In a long career spanning 25+ years, most of it spent in developing countries and at high levels of management, the author has seen how partnerships live up to the principles of equity, transparency and mutual benefit. In performing multiple roles as a partnership broker, she asserts that this has invariably meant looking at the partnerships through the lens of ethics. In this article she uses one particular partnership to illustrate her insights. Accelerated implementation of a multilateral fund with a focus on achieving quantitative results led to rapid roll out of services for HIV and AIDS; but several questions are posed regarding the ethics around some of the strategies. A retrospective analysis highlights issues around capacity building, monitoring and sustainability. In conclusion, the writer articulates that the UN System did do a noble thing by intervening to save a vulnerable GFATM grant; but the partnerships around the accelerated implementation left questions that need to be answered by any broker. Dealing with ethical dilemmas – a partnership broker’s personal perspective Looking back on my career, I have been a partnership broker without explicitly knowing that was the role I was taking on at the time. It has only been due to training and gaining insights on external and internal partnership brokering that I have had the opportunity to reflect back and build a picture of what I actually did. It has certainly helped me to draw out some interesting... Read the article

Diversity as an essential partnership ingredient

Abstract: Diversity is an essential ingredient for collaboration efforts if new insights are to be gained as the basis for the complex issues transformational partnerships seek to address. There is increasing evidence of the value that diverse stakeholders (“beyond the usual suspects”) bring to collaboration. Diversity also brings challenges of - finding respectful and inclusive processes which don’t privilege those with certain education, roles or understanding; seeking out people who wouldn’t ordinarily be engaged; and conflict- different... Read the article

Building competencies for co-creative partnering for local, adaptive development

Abstract: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted by the international community in September 2015 are set to drive development processes and finances over the next 15 years. It is widely recognised that if the SDGs are to succeed, then many organisations including INGOs will need to move away from a top-down, donor-driven, solution-delivery focused... Read the article

Hard-earned lessons for putting the Principles of Partnership into practice

Abstract: In 2007, the Global Humanitarian Platform introduced The Principles of Partnership (Equality, Transparency, Results-Oriented Approach, Responsibility and Complementarity) as a framework with guiding principles for humanitarian agencies to factor into their operations and improve engagement with national actors and civil society partners. Anecdotal evidence from agencies reveals,... Read the article

The servant leadership approach and humanitarian collaboration

Abstract: It is widely acknowledged that there is a widening humanitarian capacity gap. This is caused by new challenges driven, amongst other things, by climate change and its effects on food production and population growth, and compounded by a humanitarian system that does not adequately invest in, and support, local capacity. This paper argues that collaboration is one of the means by which gains can be taken to scale to address these new challenges and that it... Read the article

Complexity and partnering: Learning to ‘see’ for more effective brokering

Abstract: Partnership brokers play an important role in navigating complex problems in partnerships. When they look at their partnerships and the interwoven webs of relationships overlaid with the different narratives that participants bring, it can be difficult to ‘see’ what is actually happening. The author believes that by developing the ability to recognize - or ‘see’... Read the article

The power of emotional capital in a partnership

Abstract: Based on her recent experience of a partnership review, the author reflects on the importance of emotional capital created through the relationship between the partnership managers as an important measure of the effectiveness of a partnership and whether it has a place in brokering evaluation. The power of emotional capital in a partnership Everyone is familiar with the concept of capital as a description of the assets and resources associated with an organisation or entity; human, intellectual, and financial capital are all frequently... Read the article

Are introverts better at partnership brokering?

Exploring brokering skills across the introvert-extrovert continuum Introduction This article raises the question of whether it matters if a partnership broker is introverted or extroverted[1], [2]. A recent public discussion about Susan Cain’s book ‘Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ has highlighted the importance of recognising one’s temperament in any professional field. I am applying this notion to the field of partnership brokers - is it indeed true that there is an expectation nowadays that brokers should... Read the article

Choosing our words with care

Choosing our words with care – a consideration of precise speaking as a critical tool in a partnership broker’s toolbox. In considering this topic, I am influenced by two contrasting views of words: The quote by TS Eliot (below) captures the essential ‘slipperiness’ of language. He uses words themselves to convey something of their own elusiveness so that as we read we find ourselves in uncertain territory with ideas being named and almost immediately, amoeba-like, changing their nature and eluding our understanding. Rene Magritte[1] uses an image of a word to convey the exact... Read the article