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Leaning In: A lean canvas for public-private partnerships

What if a simple tool could bring greater harmony, understanding, and effectiveness to collaborations, especially between public and private partnerships? In Richard Wecker’s recent paper, he explores exactly that, using the concept of the Public-Private Partnership Canvas (PPPCanvas).

Richard introduces the PPPCanvas as a strategic tool for partnership brokering. This powerful approach pushes beyond the memorandum of understanding and into the realm of actionable planning. From managing and maintaining partnerships to reviewing and revising them, Richard posits that the PPPCanvas is not just another method, but a communication bridge and a catalyst for co-creation.

In the world of business, achieving alignment in partnerships is crucial but often challenging. Whether you’re from the public or private sector, Richard anticipates your concerns and addresses them upfront. Will this tool tip the scales in favor of one party? Will it risk oversimplification of complex, multi-stakeholder partnerships? These questions and more are answered with remarkable clarity, transforming initial skepticism into informed anticipation.

But the real magic of Richard’s work isn’t in what he explores – it’s in what he envisions. The PPPCanvas isn’t just a tool – it’s a transformative conduit. It can lead to perspective shifts, power shifts, and even a new paradigm of mutual respect and collaboration.

Richard’s approach focuses on the practical application of this tool while being aware of its potential pitfalls. He reminds us that the utility of such a tool is not standalone, but nested within transformational exercises. This duality provides a framework that both structures thinking and fosters innovation.

Whether you are a seasoned professional in partnership brokering or just beginning your journey, this paper offers a new lens through which to view your work. Richard invites you to join him in this exploration, to test, adapt, and iterate the PPPCanvas in your own practice.

Intrigued? I bet you are. The journey into the depths of partnership brokering and the PPPCanvas is just one click away. You can reach out to Richard Wecker to dive deeper into the practical application of his innovative approach.

Revolutionize your partnership brokering today, harness the power of PPPCanvas, and join the conversation with Richard Wecker!

Does working in ‘development’ ever make you feel deeply uncomfortable?

If you’ve ever worked in the development industry, you may have felt a sense of unease about the power dynamics at play. This month, in our Stories from Practice, we meet Soli Middleby, who delves into this discomfort and offers insights on how to navigate it, through her paper, “Mediating the power imbalances of development: A paradox for partnership brokers,”

Middleby argues that the western development industry is built upon complex and historic power imbalances that tend to center the interests and perspectives of donors. This can undermine effective partnerships and ultimately perpetuate the very inequalities that we aim to address.

Using the practice of partnership brokering as a lens, Middleby explores how these power imbalances operate in practice, how they can be disrupted, and how they are ultimately reproduced by brokers and other development professionals. She concludes that we face an uncomfortable paradox in which our work to transform power imbalances also maintains the identities, institutions and interests that reproduce them and that how we choose to hold this paradox is critical if we are to ever ‘rethink development’

This paper is a thought-provoking read for anyone in the development field who is grappling with these issues. It challenges us to consider how we can hold this paradox and still work towards rethinking development. You can read Soli Middleby’s paper here,  for more practical insights.

Is Your Partnership Practice Re-enforcing Colonial Inequalities?

Annie Sloman

Annie Sloman

This month, in our Stories from Practice, we meet Annie Sloman, as she explores and reflects on how partnership brokering should, and can, support decolonization of aid.

Based on her experience as a partnership broker in Timor-Leste, Annie Sloman discusses possible contributions of partnership brokering to decolonization and combatting racism in international development and humanitarian action.

She unravels the hidden assumptions about power and privilege that we often take for granted in our practice, and how such assumptions can, in fact, be counter-productive in reducing systemic inequalities that we are working so hard to overcome.

She gives insightful ideas on how issues of power and privilege can be addressed immediately and continuously in ongoing partnership activities.

Read Annie’s paper for six practical guidelines as to what you can and should do differently in your practice, as a partnership broker – especially if you wonder whether your practice re-enforces colonial inequalities or transforms societies for a better world.

Possibilities and Pitfalls of Pro Bono Partnership Brokering

Food for thought…

Could offering pro bono partnership brokering services be more rewarding and more effective than being contracted for a fee? Would it have an impact, in any way, on the principles of good practice?

This month, our Stories from Practice, draws your attention to the possibilities and pitfalls of pro bono partnership brokering as discussed by Australia-based partnership broker CAMERON WILLIS.

“The experiences of those who have worked in pro bono capacities, testify to how pro bono positioning can shift the nature of the relationships and the nature of engagements, including for partnership brokers. The acknowledgement of pro bono services, and respect for such offerings, can bring an openness to an engagement: allowing new ideas to be explored, different techniques trialled, and learning to be shared. For some, this will stand in contrast to fee-for-service engagements, that may have more limited room for exploration or innovation. For an inquisitive, curious and improvement-oriented broker, these can be significant rewards that advance both a partnership, and the practice of a broker. Effectively communicating the benefits of this way of working may require us to re-think the language we use around pro-bono services to more effectively convey the freedom, adventure, and growth that can come from these types of engagements.”

Download Cameron Willis’ paper here and share with us about your experiences on pro-bono partnership brokering services. You can also connect with Cameron and other brilliant partnership brokers via PBA LinkedIn.

Open letter from Ukrainian NGOs

What can each of us do, within our own working context, to respond to this impassioned plea from Ukrainian NGOs?
Is principled partnering an act of solidarity?

Open letter from Ukrainian NGOs

CSSI 2022 Conference: panel discussion on partnership brokering

Join PBA Associates Bulbul Baksi, Leda Stott & Ros Tennyson during a panel discussion at the upcoming CSSI 2022: Cross Sector Social Interactions Conference. This will be a facilitated dialogue drawing on both academic and practitioner insights of participants on how partnership brokering can assist transformation in different contexts.
Click here to learn more.

PANEL: Partnership Brokering: Changing the Rules of the Game. From challenges to breakthrough.
DATE:   22nd June 2022 | Time: 15:00 – 16:40 CET

Please share this invitation with your networks.

Shakespeare and partnership brokering

“To thine own self be true” – With a quote from William Shakespeare this months Story from Practice invites readers to build self-awareness of their impact on others in partnership situations.

Australia-based partnership broker KELLIE KING tackles the topic of “the multiple self” and explores the concepts of compartmentalising and integration.

Kellie shares how her own life circumstances and gender pushed her towards compartmentalisation and she examines how this impacts her collaborative practice, analysing its disadvantages as well as potential.

“Being authentic is increasingly considered a valuable and sought-after characteristic. Considering how and why we construct compartments for different aspects of our lives can be a powerful way to deepen our personal understanding of ourselves and foster authenticity. Set in a regional Australian community at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, this paper shares the author’s personal journey to better understand her own constructs of self and provides reflections on her experience of challenging the status quo. In doing so, she challenges the reader to reflect on themselves and how they might use this thinking to enhance their practice.”

Download Kellie King’s paper and connect with her and other brilliant partnership brokers via PBA LinkedIn.

You can also hear from Kellie and her accreditation experience in this short video clip.

Maintaining the mojo of the internal partnership position

In out latest “Stories from Practice” issue we read about managing and measuring the effectiveness of internal partnership broker positions.

In her accreditation paper, Canada-based partnership broker LISA BURLEY explores various issues in relation to the interface between broader strategic priorities, organizational culture and processes and the ways they do or don’t come together to set the stage for the partnership broker’s role.

She offers a framework and practical advice on how to define and document the role of an internal partnership broker within the broader organisational context.

“Are you an internal partnership broker wanting to sustain the dynamism and variety of your job? This paper gives you an analytical tool to categorize what you’re doing, what mindset you’re drawing on, the skills you’re using and at what dosage to keep the mojo going. It also includes a practical suite of suggestions to reset these categories with your colleagues and supervisor to embed your role in making your organization a better partner with stronger partnerships.”

Download Lisa Burley’s paper here and share with us about your insights on the diverse roles that partnership brokers can play in fostering a holistic organisational approach (strategy, culture, processes, competencies, …) to collaboration.

Partnering principles – making them your own

Partnering invariably cuts through established, more traditional ways of working. It requires people from different entities, sectors and communities to cross their organisational boundaries and engage differently.

This process can be difficult. PBA identified the 5 most common challenges and developed a principled approach to turn challenge into value-add of the partnering approach.

Building on the 5 PBA partnering principles of Relishing Diversity, Building Equity, Promoting Openness, Ensuring Mutual Benefit and Courage To Be Different, Australia-based partnership broker SOPHIE CLAYTON tells us her story of how she approached the integration of these principles into the start-up phase of a two-year, multi-stakeholder collaboration.

She details her thinking on how a partnership broker can facilitate processes that support partners in setting principles that are real for themselves and their context. What does each principle mean in practice? In her work, Sophie builds on this question by proposing supporting behaviours and matching statements of intent.

“The partnering principles form the basis of practice for all partnership brokers. They are high level and open to interpretation – to be used as guides and inspiration. However, there is scope to add to the principles by associating them with pro-partnering behaviours. For each principle, this paper proposes behaviours and statements of intent, adding substance and specificity to help add meaning to the principles so that partners know what to do to reflect the principles in their actions. Also, a sixth principle – accountability – is proposed, to address unreliability concerns and build credibility among partners. “

Download Sophie Clayton’s paper here and tune into this short video to hear from Sophie about her PBA Accreditation journey.

Cultivating your inner place to build stronger partnerships

When immersed in collaborative processes, partnership brokers often operate in a doing-mindset, using tools that help partners work through what’s needed now.

By turning our attention to developing our inner awareness – our inner condition as partnership brokers – we may experience a shift from doing to being.

During her 3-month mentored practice Australia-based internal partnership broker MICHELLE COSTELLO experienced just that. In her PBA Accreditation paper, she explores how cultivating inner awareness has fostered a much richer connection to the partners and the partnership’s potential and resulted in transformative outcomes.

“Developing personal awareness about the place from which we partner has the potential to deepen connection with partners, strengthen practice and enhance outcomes. This paper proposes a brokering practice continuum that can support brokers to delineate, appreciate and reflect on the difference between outer place and inner place focused partnering. It is an evolving collection and reflection of early insights into how and why the shift to inner place partnering can support: deeper connection with partners; greater alignment with the partnership’s emerging potential; shifts in outcomes that have previously been slow to gain momentum; and brokers to role model Partnership Brokers Good Practice Principles.”

Download Michelle Costello’s paper here and get in touch with her and other brilliant partnership brokers via PBA LinkedIn.

Meet Michelle through this short video. She tells us about her accreditation journey and how it impacted her collaborative practice.

Collaboration to tackle online abuse and exploitation of children; a case study from the Philippines

This case study on the establishment and functioning of an innovative consortium model to address online abuse and exploitation of children in the Philippines was written by a PBA Associate and a colleague of hers. It was commissioned by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Click here to read the paper.

Sneak preview of the new ‘Innovation Partnerships: The Masterclass Series’

From idea to impact: Partnerships for innovation

All innovation requires some form of partnership to get through to scale or maturity. If you’re innovating, you’re not doing it alone.

Join us on 17-18 November, as we share a short taste of our new course ‘Innovation Partnerships: The Masterclass Series’, coming February 2022.

You will learn about practices, frameworks and skills that specifically support you in managing collaboration across the innovation cycle. Click here to learn more.

PBA Associates and innovation experts Ian Gray and Michelle Halse are pleased to invite you to a 90-minute learning space to share current thinking and approaches in this field. The live-webinar is a free taster for the new “Innovation Partnerships – The Masterclass Series“ brought to you by Gray Dot Catalyst and Living Collaborations in association with PBA.

Sign up now and share this opportunity with your colleagues.

The Power of Questions

Gandhi once said „The power to question is the basis of all human progress.“ The same could be said for progress in partnerships.

In this edition of Stories from Practice we present a paper on how systemising the art and science of posting questions can shape collaborative processes, and help unearth deeper layers of understanding.

Being confined to digital spaces during the pandemic, Australia based partnership expert KYLIE SHAE reflected on the changed setting and how this impacts the way she can initiate meaningful conversations to support her partnership work.

„In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolded in 2020, this paper explores the use of questions as a powerful partnership intervention tool. When a partnership broker’s field of view is condensed to a zoom window, deep consideration of the questions that frame our partnership discussions can help maximise our effectiveness. Drawn from personal reflections and the concept of strategic questioning developed by Fran Peavey, a process for framing questions is introduced, emphasising clarity of purpose, consideration of how and by whom questions are delivered, and the partnership broker’s reflection on their qualities as questioner and listener.”

Read Kylie’s paper here and let us know how you integrate questioning in your brokering work on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Meditative Art of Partnership Brokering

At PBA we examine and explore partnership brokering through various lenses. One of them is the Art & Science lens. In this edition of “Stories from Practice” we present a paper related to visual-art meditation.

Meditation describes different mind-body practices that help cultivate clarity and calm independent of circumstances. Nepal-based Accreditation alumni and PBA Associate PRAJWAL SHAHI shares his experiences with a visual-art meditation technique and describes how it benefited his reflective practice and work as partnership broker.

„This paper explores the need for and value of meditative steps in reflective practice. It shows how a structured tool, such as Zentangles, can even focus on frameworks used in partnership brokering. One of the paper’s central themes is “learning is ever-evolving.” The author reflects on and re-engineers his problem-solving skills as Partnership Broker by using meditative art. For him it was an indispensable practice during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, where many had to learn how to do business differently. This journey has inspired him to deconstruct the partnership brokering framework using meditative art, to expand his understanding of it and to apply it creatively in a partnering context.“

Read Prajwal’s art-inspiring paper here and share about your reflective practices on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Moving beyond transactional and transformational

In this edition of Stories from Practice we look at the question of transactional and transformational collaboration.

PBA accredited partnership broker ANNELIES CLAESSENS invites us to glimpse into the professional world of an internal partnership broker in an Alliance setting.

She explores ways of looking at added value, transformation and evolution of a complex partnership, and shares her reflections on helping partners move across the collaboration continuum. Annelies’ paper offers an excellent analysis of how collaboration can be both transactional and transformational, as well as an analysis of drivers and approaches to collaboration in the humanitarian sector.

“Imagine accepting the challenge of supporting a partnership of 15 Dutch aid agencies and the Netherlands Ministry of Affairs in moving from ‘transactional’ to ‘transformative’. I found out along the way that this process is not linear but that fluidity between different concept and processes is key. This article describes how an internal broker can assist in finding appropriate decision-making processes for managing such an alliance, whilst being accountable and vulnerable. To co-create, adopt and model the results of the alliance, the internal broker should pivot between providing traditional leadership and encouraging collaborative leadership of the individual organisations.”

Read Annelies’ thought-provoking paper here and tell us about your experiences on Twitter and LinkedIn.