John Gerzema, author of The Brand Bubble, recently wrote in his blog about Ford working with an open platform and CEO Alan Mulally's focus on partnership and connectivity. While I won't try to make the leap between Detroit and non profits (even if there is an inherent pun in saying that) I do like the idea of Ford attempting to climb its way out of economic duldrums through this type of transparency and innovation.
It seems all to common for non profits and cause related organizations to try and go it alone; or at least I think that is a widely held perception. Little islands out there floating in a sea of need. Sure there is partnership, but that's usually in the form of accepting donated services or products to support the mission. But what if that same non profit began to create an open platform where infrastructures were shared between other groups?
When thinking through your partnership possibilities, consider first the recipient of your work. If the homeless are your beneficiaries, then think through what other organizations (for and non profit alike) benefit from solving the homelessness challenge. If you're an alternative school, think through who else benefits from having kids educated and how could others participate and make that education even better.
This kind of open platform -- where there are no secrets, no hidden agendas, and shared ownership -- is where collaboration thrives. It's the truest example of synergy in action where one and one equal three or more.
-- David Kinard, PCM