The secret to forming great partnerships

The Secret to Forming Great Partnerships – It is practically impossible to introduce a new sustainable technology or a solution based on a sustainable technology without forming alliances. There are too many steps between the technology and the market for the average entity to go it alone. So what is the key to ensuring that you have all the right organisations in your corner when the time comes to roll out your cost cutting, profit making, planet saving solution? Well, as it turns out, the answer has been on the radio all along and has been playing day in and day out on channel WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?.  It’s top of mind for most people considering a partnership or collaboration and answering that question for each potential partner will certainly get their attention.

So, easily said, but how does this play out in reality? Understanding the currency in your intended partner’s trade certainly helps. This can range from publications in the academic community, jobs saved in an industry under threat, lives saved from not having to protect fuel in military operations, ribbon cutting opportunities – the list goes on and on. Understanding the culture of the potential partner and their stakeholders helps as well. Do you start the conversation with dollars or dolphins? The technical sophistication or the social transformation? Get right to the point or slowly build up a rapport?

The final and sometimes not so easy trick is identifying which partners to bring on board. There’s an interesting story about a Canadian municipality that was losing a significant amount of water each year through leaky pipes. As it turned out reducing the water pressure would reduce the amount of leakage and still provide adequate service to the city’s residents. Everyone was on board with this solution except for the insurance companies that in the end threatened to withdraw fire coverage for buildings in the affected neighbourhoods. No one saw that coming and the takeaway from that experience is to, as much as possible, identify who will be affected both upstream and downstream from your activity to figure out just how big your collection of partners will need to be.

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