There is nothing new about the idea of bringing people and organisations together. Many businesses are facing the challenge of scale and questions on how to deliver quality assured services with a flexible resource. This challenges are especially great when the service involves innovation and high-value intellectual performance.
One solution is to build a network and use its capacity, which of course opens another set of challenges. Many corporations are in constant search for opportunities in cooperation and collaboration. Following the Collaborative Innovation report by World Economic Forum collaboration is one of the most important features of competitiveness named by senior managers and at the same time it is something that needs the most improvement. The research also shows that there is a lack of advanced knowledge on how to set up and operate a collaborative network. (World Economic Forum, 2015)
Many grants, like the EU funds, are seeking to foster collaboration. The main idea is connecting actors from different countries to work on diverse topics and projects. But many funded projects fail (based on my own experience) to continue after the funding period is over, some of the projects even fail to deliver a real impact. The reason for that is that getting the funding is the primary aim for this kind of cooperation and not a tool.
On the other hand, you see lot of grassroots initiatives that again try to do this kind of collaborations but fail to secure a long term continuity. Most of the time they lack the funding, a relevant business model and/or an efficient collaboration model which makes the network tick.
Nevertheless, seems like collaboration is a natural solution when it comes to deal with challenges like scaling, innovation, change. At the same time lot of this networks fail to operate efficiently and effectively. There must be a gap in knowledge on how to set up and operate collaboration (or more precisely interdisciplinary collaborative or collaborative networks). So the quest of my research is a search for an evidence based model that makes collaboration work.
The research was funded by the International Visegrad Fund