Why you should collaborate with your competition

Written by Monika Gisler

If I asked you right now, “How might we redesign the role of the Disability Support Practitioner in order to more efficiently and effectively meet the needs, wants and aspirations of the NDIS participant?” What would you say to me?

Perhaps, you would take a longer-than-normal sip of your coffee and silently pray that this delay would mean a change of topic.

Unless you have suddenly cloned yourself and grown 10 brains, you and I both know that we cannot answer a question like that with a snap of a finger. Let alone, solve it by ourselves.

So how would you address this? The answer is simple: collaboration.

In our eight-month collaborative experiment, we pulled together three Disability Agencies to solve the common challenge of redesigning the role of the disability support practitioner to better meet the needs of people with a disability. Those agencies were House with No Steps, Northcott and Cerebral Palsy Alliance.  

Instead of competing with each other, we saw these providers work really well together around a common purpose and for the benefit of their customer. Our co-design process involved those with a lived experience of disability, carers, support practitioners and agency staff. The more perspectives, the richer the ideas. Through collaboration comes innovation.

We ended up with over 20 great ideas and 2 were voted to be trialled. One being the Handover Snapshot where an app would be created to allow ease and efficiency in the handover process by way of voice-recorded notes that could be translated to script, and perhaps even from other languages to English. The other being The Next Chapter where NDIS participants would be given more opportunity for meaningful engagement, by re-purposing the traditional role of DSPs into more of a “personal assistant” role, and with the NDIS participant as the “CEO” of their services.

Today, Hiam and I will be speaking at NDS’ Outside the Box conference where we will present our impact study (download for free here) and this amazing collective journey. In our preparation leading up to this moment, we found that there was a common theme that had led us today: collaborate for the better, together.

At a glance, it is a simple idea but with fears of automation and the like, it has become diluted by competition. If you allow yourself and your company to be bogged down by competition, then you will not see the bigger picture. You will be unwittingly pulling your own wool over your eyes.

According to new research conducted by Deloitte for Google, companies that are collaborative at their core, are “five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable, and twice as likely to outgrow competitors.” These companies and their satisfied employees are highly productive, profitable and innovative.

This is exactly what we saw in everyone involved in the Greater Collective project. Instead of being struck by the question of “How can we be on top?”, what we saw were, “How can we work together to solve this problem? How can we collectively make things better for these clients?”

Our human instinct is to collaborate rather than to compete. Working together through The Greater Collective removes any barriers to that.

Ready to be taken to new heights?

Sign up for The Greater Collective today, starting on October 25th and now supported by DeakinCo. and Dexus Place or book a call with us.

We are also holding a breakfast roundtable on September 13th where we will be unpacking more of our people and culture insights. RVSP today – limited spots available. 

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