Factors that guarantee innovative and successful co-creation

Once you have entered into collaboration with one or more partners, you will want to establish a more sustainable relationship. The paragraphs below contain some ingredients for successful collaboration (Weemaes & Bruneel, 2017):

“Interdependence”: Acknowledging that collectively, partners can accomplish more than individual organisations.

Ensuring that all the parties involved acknowledge that sustainable collaboration is expedient to everyone’s existence. Continuously pursuing complementary expertise. Continuing to identify complementarity of partners and making the most of their range of expertise. Preserving each partner’s unique nature, accepting partners for what they are, and enabling them to use their own expertise. Co-creation as a breeding ground for mutual learning.

Preserving “commitment”

Collectively exploring ways to continuously capitalise on new opportunities. Keeping an open mind to and capitalising on unexpected findings. In their quest for opportunities, partners gradually develop a reflex to think on behalf of other partners: how can they contribute, how do they fit in? Perceiving benefits will gradually induce partners to “give” more in the partnership. Preserving a long-term perspective: what will we do in ten years’ time?

Permanently creating added value for partners by ensuring that each partner will continuously bear responsibility for their credibility as a partner. This requires the partners to continuously manifest themselves, to actively contribute, and to continue to express what they stand for.

“Common goal”: essential to keep up the partnership.

Always keeping an eye on the common goal, the raison d’être of the partnership, as the basis for convincing staff, for anchoring collaboration in all the sections of the organisations. Continuously looking for follow-up options and new synergies.

Continuing to pursue “interorganisational trust

Perpetuating “collaboration on the basis of trust” by elaborating sub-projects, by identifying what is going well and what is leaving room for improvement, and by acting accordingly. Building on the “click” that has been perceived, keeping personal contacts alive, establishing bonds. Collectively growing towards structured collaboration. If a sustainable structure has been set up, reminding partners of the written and signed agreement in order to preserve their support.

“Open communication and transparency” as permanent form of interaction

Continuing to feed the common goal and the collaboration. Clearly defining what will and will not be communicated. Setting down pertinent agreements: what falls within and what falls outside the scope of the partnership. Making situations a subject of discussion and interpreting situations through consistent formal and informal consultations, in order to negotiate any obstacles in the partnership track.