‘Midsomer Murders’ is not my usual source of philosophical guidance, but it is how I manage to make the job of ironing clothes more bearable.  In this week’s episode, the vicar informed the viewer that ‘Temperance cannot be imposed on people, they have to want it.’  I suspect the same might be true for collaboration. I’ve been working on an evaluation and a learning resource for a small number of voluntary organisations who decided to collaborate on a wide-ranging professional development programme. No-one forced them to collaborate, although there was, admittedly, a financial incentive for them to do so. The programme had aims and objectives, inputs and outputs, but initially identified no specific outcomes.  Shades of the untethered donkey, roaming where it will! But there have been  positive and seemingly sustainable outcomes from the collaboration, ranging from  simply feeling more confident in picking the phone up to ask each other for advice with difficult problems, to using the considerable expertise of two of the partners to develop an under-used part of one organisation’s building. Maybe it’s about working to nurture the conditions for collaboration, some of which Patrick describes in his post about our day at the RSA and then trusting that many people will not just want it, but enjoy it.

Gerri Moriarty

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