How prioritising collaboration over competition would have helped four projects to save millions and not lose their funding

Lens: Operational

Sector: Social Services

Year: 2007-2010

Interchange's Role

Gráinne Hamilton initiated and proposed collaborative work and led the development of shared online learning and communications services, negotiating in-kind support from stakeholders and mentoring staff from four connected projects

Impacts

Trapped & Untapped Value Realised

£ 0 M+
£ 0 M+
Potential Savings

The Impact of
Competition over Collaboration

Competition over Collaboration created a loss in savings and loss of project funding

Sadly funding for the project was discontinued, with lack of cross-sectoral collaboration cited as a reason. Unfortunately, the project leads had rejected our proposal for greater sectoral collaboration, and focused rather on competing for funding, 6 months earlier.

Insights

In this section, we take a look at the activities for our key indicators and the outcomes realised for the organisation.

Rapid Innovation

All of the projects using the online learning and community platform

All of the projects could have rapidly innovated, creating new learning and community opportunities if they had made use of the online learning and community platform.

They could also have realised further savings on event hosting and travel costs

Resilience

Collaborating with other key projects and agencies working in the sector

If the projects had elicited input of perspectives from other key projects and agencies, they could have provided a more robust and resilient service to the sector and collaborated on stronger proposals for continuation

Sustainability

Collaborating with other key projects and agencies working in the sector, rather than competing for funding

Continuation of the project could have been realised if the project leads had accepted our proposal for greater sectoral collaboration. Lack of collaboration was cited as a reason for discontinuation of the projects’ funding, which resulted in job and service losses

Navigating Possible, Probable & Preferred Futures

Collaborating across the four projects and with other key projects and agencies working in the sector

Greater collaboration would have helped the projects navigate possible and probable futures by developing more resilient and connected services for the sector. 

Prioritising collaboration over competition for funding would have helped them build a preferred future rather than the discontinuation of service and the job losses that resulted from prioritising competition.

How We Helped

The Challenge

With government funding, four connected projects were tasked with cross-sectoral transformation by enhancing capability, initiating the transition to online learning and digital services, and empowering continual professional development.

The four projects covered the north, south, east and west geographical areas of the country, spanning densely populated cities and dispersed rural areas. This created challenges for reaching the dispersed workforce and providing upskilling opportunities.

The projects worked as autonomous units but were requested to present a united brand and message and to collaborate on key initiatives.

The Interchange Point

We proposed developing a shared website, coordinated by one of the project’s members of staff that would be accessible by social services staff across Scotland. The site was developed with a central landing area and connected spaces that each project could edit and control independently to collectively agreed web guidelines. 

We also proposed and led the development of an online learning and community platform. We negotiated free hosting of the open source platform from one of the project’s university stakeholders. We agreed that in return, the platform could act as a test & research platform for their purposes, giving them real data to work with, within agreed privacy guidelines, to aid development of their own open source online learning platform.

Through the platform, learning and communities could be hosted and facilitated for delivery across geographically dispersed areas. Only one of the projects took up this opportunity.

We developed a proposal for greater sectoral collaboration with other key projects and agencies working in the sector. The project leads rejected this proposal.

The Outcome

Over the course of the c4 years of our input, our support to help the projects collaborate resulted in significant savings in staff time and reduced costs to the project and its stakeholders through: 

  • Sharing expensive programming personnel
  • Removing travel and event hosting costs by replacing some in-person events with widely accessible online alternatives
  • Removing duplication of marketing costs by each project hiring an agency to develop this for them. This had the added benefit of creating a consistent brand across all of the projects
  • Removing expensive hosting costs for the online platform
  • Removing time and resource costs associated with creating a separate test & research online learning platform and usable data, by the project’s stakeholder 

Further savings and continuation of the project could have been realised if:

  • All of the projects had used the online learning and community platform
  • The project leads had accepted our proposal for greater sectoral collaboration, rather than focusing on competing for funding. Lack of collaboration was cited as a reason for discontinuation of the projects’ funding, which resulted in job and service losses

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