Tackling big issues in our region, such as economic sustainability, sustainable energy, technology and innovation, requires collaboration and partnerships to yield big wins. While there may be multiple stakeholders — from nonprofit organizations and government agencies to private enterprise and academic institutions — partnerships and collaborations with high levels of success must be rooted in altruism. Although you can expect some kind of benefit, the sole motivation cannot be to serve your own or your organization’s interests.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot benefit from collaboration, partnerships and networking to take your business to the next level. For example, you may seek a partner to reach new markets or industry verticals, or combine resources with another organization to leverage available funding or to share resources, facilities or industry knowledge.
At Bounce Innovation Hub, we established a close partnership with an organization that was filling a need we recognized as important to our community. Rather than start from scratch to provide a similar program, we invested in that partner to successfully leverage our combined resources. There are many other examples of this, as we rely on a strong network of partners who share our vision and can help support our efforts in meeting the needs of our clients and supporting the economic growth of our region.
Whether you work for a nonprofit or for-profit organization, here are some ways that collaboration can benefit you, your organization, your community and possibly the world in which we live.
- By combining resources, as well as leveraging each partner’s individual strengths and shared expertise, you will be able to go further than if you were going it alone.
- While it’s important to build your network to identify potential partners and collaborators, you must create a meaningful network that is filled with people for whom you want to go above and beyond, and who feel the same about you. It’s not just about who you know but for what you are known that forms the basis of a great, mutually beneficial partnership.
- Building a meaningful network is rooted in not only doing great work and being accountable but in establishing your character. Look for partner projects, opportunities for community involvement or leadership opportunities on boards where you can demonstrate your character, without expecting something in return. Someone who matters is always watching, which can oftentimes take you further in your career than the work itself.
Being open to partnerships and collaboration may propel your organization in new and sometimes unexpected ways. This includes being open to sharing and soliciting knowledge, resources and expertise from outside your organization to drive innovation. Through open innovation, you can often reach your business goals faster and at a reduced cost, whether it’s bringing new products to market, creating new revenue streams or innovating existing products or services. Finding the right partners to support open innovation is essential, but don’t underestimate the potential of a meaningful network to lead you to the right place. ●
Jessica Sublett is CEO of Bounce Innovation Hub