Changing how collaboration happens

In every sector, and around every one of the challenges our community faces, there are opportunities for us to do more, faster and more efficiently if we work together. 

Whether we are focused on ecosystem restoration, food security, youth employment, reducing poverty or responding to the physical fitness needs of our children… we can do more if we are collaborating than any of us can accomplish alone. And yet, collaboration remains one of our most significant challenges. It takes time, communication skills, patience – and it has to happen in addition to what’s already in our busy schedules.

Collaboration examples are emerging across North America that tell a story about big change. They report success in moving the needle on childhood obesity, success at school, homelessness and other issues where there has been small, incremental change before. They are doing it through intentional, systematic, relationship building and aligned activities – through collaboration.  

The Victoria Foundation, Tamarack, JW McConnell Family Foundation and others are supporting a renewed focus on collaboration knowledge and skills across Canada. In our region, a working group of concerned volunteers (called the Collaboration Community of Practice) has teamed up with Leadership Victoria to develop and offer The CoLab Project.

The CoLab Project supports leaders in the community sector across three levels: individual resiliency and capacity for change; agency capacity to direct change, and strategies targeted at the systems level change. Other important components focus on peer learning, networking, coaching, and cross-pollinating of ideas from across a wide range of groups. With a grant and support from the Victoria Foundation, the project is now in full swing. 

The Art & Science of Collaboration leads the learning events. It is designed for senior leaders as they explore their organization’s culture, operating model and readiness for collaboration. Day one focuses on the individual skills, strategies and leadership qualities that drive successful collaborations. Day two targets the organizational characteristics, culture and working-models. Throughout the two sessions, mini-collaborations and group work equip participants with practical tools and confidence. The workshop is designed for Executive Directors and program managers, although other staff and board members can benefit too.

If your organization is in the early stages of collaboration, or if you are working in a partnership where you want to build your toolkit, this is the course you. The Art & Science of Collaboration is being offered in Victoria on June 12th and June 26th.  Click here for further details. 

The Theory of Change Learning Lab is a strategic workshop for senior leaders and volunteers who want to dedicate time to thinking critically about the bigger picture, and construct a narrative of how differently positioned programs or interventions will make a greater impact.  The Theory of Change model (also referred to as the Pathway to Change) helps leaders define change that is intentional, measurable and collaborative. This learning session is running October 2nd, 2015.  Click here for more details.   

The Boards in Collaboration workshop is targeted specifically for board members and senior leaders to examine governance issues related to collaborations. Participants will discuss collaboration structures, the imperative for collaboration, visioning, risk, and leadership qualities. Funding is also explored in this session. Boards in Collaboration is being offered October 17th and November 7th, 2015. Click here for more information.