As the healthcare industry becomes more complex and diverse, the development of partnerships between large organisations with very different specialities is likely to increase as the only way to tackle some of the complex challenges facing healthcare – companies cannot do it on their own. These will not be typical transactional customer - supplier relationships, instead new ways of collaborating that maximise the likelihood of rapid and breakthrough innovation need to be adopted; based on trust, shared vision and objectives, and a sense of “we are in this together”.
In this case we provided the catalyst for the emerging relationship. Very early on we brought together key leaders from each of the partners, helping them to create a core guiding team with a true understanding of the spirit needed to work differently. Over a period of six months using our well tested techniques we helped the team build the required relationships and processes needed to successfully lead such a collaboration.
In parallel, through a short series of events we supported a group of about 30 diverse specialists from across the two companies to act as an innovation community. During intensive 2-day interventions we enabled the community and leadership team to come together to develop the first areas of focus for exploration. By utilising our co-creative designs the group were able to maximise the diversity of inputs, develop critical insights and define a clear way forward for each of the areas. At the same time, they started to build the network of relationships necessary for a sustainable and successful partnership.
The exploration of the chosen areas of focus for innovation are now underway.
Our learning has been that such new generation collaborations require a shift in mindset deep into the organisation – there is a tendency for these intercompany agreements to collapse back into transactional relationships the more people become involved and the new spirit can become jeopardised.