Clause 8 – Engagement – Joint continual improvement
This stage helps you maximise the value derived from a partnership by creating an environment where those involved are encouraged to contribute new ideas or alternative approaches for consideration.
Experience suggests that relationships will tend to plateau over time if not driven to maintain continual improvement. The relationships which are particularly focused on long term benefit must maintain a relevance to markets and customer needs. A major value from collaborative approaches comes from the ability to share ideas and harness alternative perspectives. Those that look for additional benefit often exceed their original objectives and perform much better overall.
The parallel benefit that can come from adopting a structured approach to joint continual improvement is that in working to co-create business and product value creation improvement beyond the initial aims is that it helps to engender improved engagement across partnering teams.
Establish value creation programme
A spontaneous approach to innovation has its own value, but there is great power in establishing a joint process that ensures both targeted support and encourages new ideas. A structured approach will underpin sustainable engagement, provide a measure of integration and drive greater value from the relationship.
The key to optimising this co-creation is to ensure that identified issues are regularly reviewed and where necessary culled if not delivering. This ensures resources are not wasted or distract from the primary objectives.
Define value drivers
One of the major challenges in any relationship is to define what value means for those involved. This may be mutual common objectives or the complementary aims of the individual partners. Establishing this definition is the responsibility of the joint management team and executive sponsors.
Establish improvement team
How organisations chose to encourage innovation depends on a wide variety of factors. It is often managed best by establishing joint cross-functional teams which can be convened to address specific challenges or ideas.
Establish learning from experience
As organisations begin to work together more closely it is equally important to capture the lessons learned. This process is a key aspect of creating value and of setting the agenda for innovation.
Implement innovation process
Few business activities will stay constant for long. In a technology-focused environment in particular, innovation is crucial to maintain a competitive edge. While collaboration will create many common opportunities for both parties, some aspects may on occasions only benefit one party. When this happens, it should be given just as much support as those giving rise to common benefits.