With the global emphasis on partnering as the most-likely-to-work mechanism for inclusive, innovative and sustainable responses to intractable challenges, it becomes ever more important to really study partnering in order to understand the paradigm – its actual limitations as well as its potential strengths.
Across the globe there are a number of entities enquiring into what it takes to partner effectively, with a growing focus on the partnering process. This is to be welcomed as, to date, many partnering endeavours have fallen short of expectations and hoped-for goals and yet partnering continues to be positioned as the mechanism for new and sustainable solutions.
However, despite the fact that many (perhaps most) partnerships operate remotely, this fact has attracted very little in the way of action research and / or innovative thinking.
WHAT IS ‘REMOTE PARTNERING’?
We use this term to mean: people from different organisations partnering to achieve a common purpose by undertaking pre-agreed activities on behalf of the partnership but having, for a range of different reasons, to operate long-distance rather than face-to-face.
In fact, many see remote partnering as a major reason for their partnerships falling short or even failing. But does it have to be this way? What if we address remote partnering as an opportunity rather than a problem? What if we systematically explore some of the positive advantages of working long-distance? What if we draw together some of the most innovative thinkers and creative individuals we can to pool their ideas and help create a wholly new approach?
Our first output CURRENT STATUS OF REMOTE PARTNERING makes for very interesting reading and confirms our ‘hunch’ that this is an important area for exploration.
A more recent product of this work is an online Tool Box developed in collaboration with the DEPP (Disasters and Emergency Preparedness Programme) and Action Against Hunger now available for practitioners worldwide on defyingdistance.org.
The pilot of our new on-line Remote Partnering Certificate (Level 1) was completed mid March 2018. It was an exciting and innovative experiment with 75 partnership practitioners who were nominated by 10 partner INGOs. A full review incorporating detailed feedback from participants and nominating partners is being compiled as the basis for a roll out programme. Many of those who completed the course (each producing their own peer reviewed Remote Partnering Action Plans) reported it as exciting, informative and confidence-building.
The next cohort is planned for September 2018 so we are lining up a new group of supporting partners. We are also offering the course on a commissioned basis for organisations where partnering remotely is a key feature and challenge. If you want to know more about either of these possibilities, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new publication The Remote Partnering Work Book – a key resource which is based on the accumulated knowledge and insights gained from partnership practitioners who are working remotely as part of this project – is available here for free download.
Download: The Remote Partnering Work Book (pdf)
Making our findings available and accessible to those who need them most is central to this project. The founding partners are all ‘mission-driven’ and feel strongly that what we learn and produce must be put into the public domain in an open-source model – hence this website!
So this is the basis of our innovative and exciting project. Read more and see what we are learning as we learn it.
Think about how you or your organisation are impacted by partnering remotely and whether you want to get involved.