COVID-19 has changed everything, fast. Things that were previously thought impossible have been achieved in a matter of days as people and organisations pull together united in a new collective purpose, adopt radical new practice, and organise in new ways. Collaboration between public services, the third sector and communities is developing at pace, and there’s a shining spotlight on the critical value of community action. The vision for a collaborative future that we set out in our Collaborative Society Manifesto a few months ago is being fast-tracked into reality in ways we could never have predicted.

Despite the many challenges, we know that amidst this global crisis we are also being presented with a unique opportunity: to bring about deep reform in public services and beyond that will sustain long after the crisis has passed. Collaborate plans to act as a partner to public services and organisations seeking to learn from the changes of today in order to sustain change for tomorrow.

We are doing this in the following ways, and we’re keen to hear from you if we can help.

Direct support now

  • We are helping public sector leaders to reflect on their roles and what they are learning, through our system leadership programme and coaching for local government CEOs
  • We are providing practical facilitation and coaching to support local teams who are adapting to change at pace

Helping people and organisations to learn and look towards a new normal

  • We know that learning is a key driver of change and adaptation. Today we are publishing a discovery and learning tool for individuals and organisations to use to capture and act on learning as they go. This is a free resource designed to be useful to organisations as they move from crisis response to establishing a new normal over the coming months
  • However, we know everyone is busy with the day to day, so we’re also offering our support as a learning partner to organisations and systems with a view to supporting longer term change in thinking, culture and practice after the crisis. We can help organisations and partnerships set up and embed their learning approaches and we are designing and carrying out rapid system diagnostics with places. These involve conducting short interviews with stakeholders from different perspectives to capture insights about the changes that are taking place, what they value and what they want to keep hold of. When the immediate crisis passes, places can use these insights and resulting recommendations to help shape a ‘new normal’. Please get in touch if you would value this offer now as a way to inform the next phase of public service reform and place-based change in your area.

Looking further ahead

  • We offered some early reflections in this blog, and believe that to achieve long term change from this crisis, there needs to be a deeper collective inquiry into the changes that are taking place and a commitment to think long term. We are working fast with a group of partner organisations and funders with the aim of developing a collaborative and inclusive research project that will explore these questions. Watch this space and get in touch if you’d like to collaborate on this work.

As ever, at Collaborate we want to look to the future, and we want to work together in a spirit of optimism with our many partners, even in the context of the huge challenges we all face. We believe that collaboration is a critical part of the changes we are seeing now, and we want to play our part in building a more collaborative future, now and tomorrow.

Anna and the Collaborate team