xxxxxi) Collaboration

Even though individuals make positive, substantial contributions, it is generally more effective to do it with others. This is linked with humility: this is not undervaluing your own skills, strengths and potential contribution;  rather it is having a mindset that with others, who have different expertise, skills and strength, you can achieve more. There are 3 important factors linked with humility:

i) willingness to obtain accurate self-knowledge

ii) tendency to keep an open mind for continuous learning and improving

iii) appreciation of others' strengths, weaknesses and contributions

Research has shown that a humble CEO results in senior management teams being more collaborative and sharing of information; this enables more effective use of the organisation's talent than by acting alone or delegating. Collaboration can be risky as there is less direct control and increased vulnerability as people are exposing their blindspots, lack of expertise, etc plus facing the uncertainty of the unknown. It involves developing relationships around trust and courage. Collaboration involves bringing in others to help achieve the goals; it is more than compromise, it is about 'win-win' with the co-dependency for success.

"...in the creative process of working together, I will need to be transparent with my thinking and open with my motivation, and you will see not only my strength at work, more of my flaws as well..."
Rebecca Newton, 2019

Despite the risks, there is potential for great gain with collaboration as it is a powerful driver of both financial and people-related benefits to organisations

Some challenges of collaboration

- sharing sensitive information, etc
- developing and maintaining the right relationships
- correctly allocating accountabilities, responsibilities, etc and being prepared to modify, based on regular reviews
- giving credit where it is due, ie praise successes and take responsibility for failures; acknowledging others' contributions whether active or passive
- gap between intention and impact
- keeping everyone on side
- being flexible enough to handle changing circumstances
- handling conflict
- moving beyond positions of understanding interest
- being transparent about what matters to you
- being an 'influencer' and 'influencee'

Getting collaboration requires a cultural change. For example, academics should be judged less on the number of academic publications and more on the impact. Until this happens there is little incentive for researchers and their host establishments to become more entrepreneurial and commercial, ie work with the business world. At the same time the business world needs to approach universities and institutions for ideas and solutions

"...this idea that you do some basic research, and then you do some applied research, and then you it get it translated, then it gets commercialised - that's the push model and it rarely, if ever, works that way. The smart universities are starting to structure themselves around the pull factors. what are the problems we are trying to solve? And they're organising themselves around those instead of a silo of maths, the silo of science and so on..."
Chris Roberts (Cochlear) as quoted by Michael Bailey 2016

Another area that needs reviewing is tenure. Currently tenure is given for many years of focused work in a particular discipline, ie academics get tenure through depth of knowledge in a particular field, not through a multi-disciplinary approach or broad base of knowledge. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed in topics like climate change where the boundaries are not clear. This approach is sometimes called T-shaped skill, ie where the vertical bar of the T represents the depth of knowledge in a single field, while the horizontal bar is the ability of experts in other subjects and a willingness to apply accumulated knowledge.
 
One of the challenges of the education system is to create an entrepreneurial mindset around curiosity, connections and commercialisation. It is very rare for one person to be both good at research and commercialisation.
 

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