Collaborating across agencies – what’s the magic ingredient?

[Originally published on the Australian Government Public Sector Innovation Network under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY AU licence]

Increasingly public servants are expected and required to work across agencies. This is especially true when they are trying something innovative. Innovations rarely fit neatly within existing agency processes and silos. Doing something new requires establishing a coalition of support from the relevant areas that might be affected, and often this will include people within other agencies.

But do we really know what makes for successful cross-agency collaboration? What roles can networks play and what makes for a good cross-agency network?

These are questions we’d like to have a go at answering in Innovation Month 2014. This is very much about the ‘Collaborate’ part of the theme of ‘Empower, Collaborate, Transform’.

We’re thinking of running a workshop on this topic as part of Innovation Month. What are the essentials of collaborating across agencies? Do these change or differ when the collaboration is about trying to do something new? What guidance already exists, and can it be improved? Can we/should we develop a ‘how to guide’ for collaborating across agencies?

As a first step, we’ve updated a list of existing cross-agency networks – you can find them here (and please let us know if we’ve left any off).

Second, we’d like to gauge the interest in this topic, and to see if there are any suggestions about what it should focus on (and if anyone wants to be involved in running it).

So – let us know (either in comments or by email)

    • if this is something that would interest you
    • whether you know of any good existing (and public) advice about collaborating across agencies
    • what outcomes from such a workshop would be helpful to you.