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Cooperation and collaboration at a sector level

In New Zealand we have traditionally organised work in sectors by towers. For example when we try to help the health of children we organise the various organisations involved (Ministry of Health, Royal Plunket Society, District Health Boards and others) in towers that are poor at working together and considering the child as their focus and asking the simple question: "How can we together help this child?". Rather they all push their own programs with little respect or understanding of what the others are doing. If we were drawing them it would look like:

Policy writers, developers and those responsible for implementation obviously need to be in constant communication with each other. The reality is in many cases quite the opposite. Collaboration among central Government, local bodies, Crown entities and N.G.O.s is one of the key ways to ensure policy is being delivered in the way it was intended.

The process allows your department, agency or council improve the internal and external collaboration in the policy function. It helps you identify where the walls are in your policy function.

In particular you will discover how to:

  • Understand the key principles behind collaboration and productive partnerships
  • Align roles of key agencies and bodies
  • Establish active relationships between key individuals
  • Encourage all policy people to work together towards a joint vision and strategy
  • Measure success within strategic policy partnerships.

The chart shows an example of how sectors could be organised. With porous walls, loads of collaboration, and very strong feedback loops from the environment. This model is more like a living system, it is flexible and cooperative. I like to call it the beanbag model. Like a bean bag it has lots of little pieces (people) inside that can move to sit closely on the environment, no matter how their environment changes and as a result it is basically far more stable.

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