It’s finally here! MIT D-Lab has published their P.ACT: Partnership Co-Design Toolkit. I’ve been involved in their learning lab to try and test various tools in the kit, which included the Partnership Canvas.
The result is a very comprehensive overview of tools, ranging from tools that you can use in the process of discussing partnerships, as well as tools for formalising collaborations, and monitoring and evaluating. The figure below shows the full toolkit menu, covering a full life-cycle of a strategic partnership.
The toolkit intends to cover the full range of dialogue, planning and execution that needs to take place in setting up a strategic partnership. The tools are very much focussed on the process of co-creating and collaboration in this process, both internally in your own team/organisation, and with partnering counterparts. This is very much needed, as strategic partnerships tend to break down mostly due to failures in communication.
If I had to provide one point of critique on the Partnership Co-design toolkit, it’s that it misses a connection with how a partnership practitioner searches for support and insight.
The way the kit is presented emphasises its own process over that of the practitioner’s intuition and how they navigate the challenge of partnering. The practitioner isn’t supported with light-weight entry points to pick and choose based on their needs and circumstances. This might create some friction for practitioners to understand the value that kit offers and to adopting the tools.
But I think that if you leaf through the toolkit and get a sense of the various tools that it offers, you can start to see it more as a “pick and choose” to your particular needs.
And there are some really great tools to discover, like my favourite, the “Balance Sheet”. This is a tool for listing and comparing the value gained, and cost incurred for each partner, and also providing transparency on this between partners.
Overall the toolkit is a valuable addition to the playbook for partnership and alliance professionals, and it was fun and insightful to take part in its creation. Take a look for yourself, and let me know what you think. The Partnership Co-Design Toolkit is available for free.
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