This collaboration handbook is based on a decade’s hands-on experience of developing collaborative approaches in northern Ohio, US. Its existence reflects a more general trend among funding organisations to encourage grantees to collaborate with one another. Similar work is underway (again with a US-focus) in the Grantmakers for Effective Organisations network.
This particular handbook is distinguished by the fact that its lessons from a highly specific geographical focus; and also the fact that it is informed by the free and open sharing of successes and failures in what the organisation’s president describes as a ‘therapy group on civic collaboration’.
The handbook provides a familiar structure to that seen in other partnering toolbooks, but is to be praised for its tone, design and approach which is clearly grounded in lived experience – as these graphics from the book demonstrate.
In general, it appears as though US experience of partnering and collaboration has developed in parallel to experience elsewhere, for example in Europe. This is reflected in the different vocabulary where, for example, ‘collective impact‘ tends to be used rather than ‘partnership’. This gives rise to the risk of duplicated efforts and missed opportunities to learn from each other.