The two models of collaboration that will be reviewed are collective impact and collaboration networks. The collective impact model is a framework for social change. Collaboration networks can drive value creation (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006). Collective impact is the pledge of a group of important members from different divisions to finding a common agenda for solving a specific social issue (Kania & Kramer, 2011). There are five components of the collective impact strategy. The components are a common agenda, shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support (Kania & Kramer, 2011). Collective impact strategy does not allow silos, the participants are required to have a methodical style to social impact that concentrates on the relationships between organizations and the movement toward mutual objectives (Kania & Kramer, 2011).
The common agenda requires that all participants share the vision of the goal and for change. There is an awareness of the problem as individuals but a joint venture to problem solve and act (Kania & Kramer, 2011). Collective impact requires that any conflicts be discussed and resolved. The fundamental goals must be agreed upon by the complete collective impact initiative participants. Shared measurement systems are essential to measure success of achieving the shared goals. Measurement of success keeps all efforts aligned. It is also a way to hold each other accountable and learn from each other’s triumphs and disappointments (Kania & Kramer, 2011). Mutually reinforcing activities allows the stakeholders to work on what they excel at while working together. All stakeholder’s efforts must fit into the overarching plan of action in order to succeed (Kania & Kramer, 2011). This eliminates redundancy. Continuous communication needs to occur through regular meetings in order to develop the trusting relationships. This gives the ability to recognize and value the shared motivation behind their distinct efforts. Communication is dynamic and being together allows the acknowledgment of the message to be confirmed. Coming together rather than through written communication enables an ability to learn and problem solve together with others who share the same extensive knowledge and zeal around the shared goal (Kania & Kramer, 2011). The backbone support of the organization is crucial to its success. This serves as the backbone to the entire initiative and requires a very specific set of skills (Kania & Kramer, 2011). This team should be separate from the organizations working together. This team will facilitate, plan, data collect, report to keep the initiative running effortlessly (Kania & Kramer, 2011). Failure to provide a supportive foundation is a common reason for failure for an initiative (Kania & Kramer, 2011). The leadership from the backbone support of the initiative can deal with the waves and the storms of the project.
Collaborative networks are networks consisting of a diversity of organizations and people that are largely self-governing, locations distributed anywhere and assorted in terms of their operating environment, culture, social, capital and goals but join forces to better achieve common or like-minded goals and whose connections are supported by computer network (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006). Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh (2006) believe that many confuse collaboration with cooperation and although each are important, they do not carry the same weighted importance. The authors go on to define networking, coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Networking involves the ability to share and facilitate exchange of communications and information. Coordination implies aligning and altering activities that more efficient results are achieved, in addition to networking. Cooperation involves networking and coordination. Additionally, cooperation shares assets to achieve the implied goals. Collaboration is a process in which entities share knowledge, resources and obligations to jointly plan, execute and evaluate a program of pursuits to realize a common goal (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006). Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh (2006) examples of joint ventures show that as the integration level increases the network will move from a coordinated network to a collaborative network. A network has communication and information exchange, but coordination extends networking. Cooperation broadens coordination and collaboration lengthens cooperation. Moving along the continuum from networking to collaboration, it is noted the increase in shared common goals, commitment and resources that are investments by the participants (Camarinha-Matos & Afsarmanesh, 2006).
Our organization just entered the fourth year of its merger with Hackensack University Medical Center. Our network is comprehensive and is comprised of 14 acute care hospitals, physician offices, urgent care centers, rehabilitation facilities, behavioral health facilities, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities. There is over 33,000 team members. In the beginning collaboration across campuses was difficult even what felt almost hostile at times. Over the course of the years as the facilities shared practices and policies it has become easier. Today, I do believe the network is more collaborative then cooperative. The collaboration that needs to occur must happen at all levels of the organization, from the network Chief Executive officer to the environmental service worker. Having one agenda, using shared metrics, mutually reinforcing activities like our culture of being courageous, compassionate, creative and collaborative and having a backbone to support the organization (Kania & Kramer, 2011) is what is making the difference today. The more integrated we become demonstrates the common agenda of shared goals.
Collaboration is a key business strategy as it will move an organization’s mission, vision and values to the next level. Collaboration is an indispensable strategy that is required to successfully and efficiently address the complexity issues that are associated with healthcare, society and finances. By not working in silos but working together, without personal agendas, allow systems to come together by sharing a common goal, shared metrics, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and a true backbone of support for the organization will make the difference now and for future challenges (Kania & Kramer, 2011).