Impact Hub thrives on partnerships. Collaboration and co-creation is at the core of everything we do – it’s really what has built Impact Hub in a grassroots, community-driven way. We collaborated with coffeehouses to host our initial meetups, and worked together with architecture and interior design schools and students to have them curate a design charrette, among numerous other collaborations. We love our partners and have terrific relationships with them. While everybody intends to collaborate well, it is tough to identify an organization that invests in co-creation and aligns with our core values of openness and transparency. It’s not to say that partnership is easy. It is two or more organizations coming together around delivering on a shared ambition – it’s meant to be hard. There have been a few partnerships (we chose not to name them) where we struggled to find alignment with values, especially as it had to do with openness and transparency.
We intend for our partnerships to be co-creative around a shared ambition. We work with partners, invest the time and energy into the relationship, and focus on how we can build something great together. Through identifying a shared ambition, we work together to map out a project, program or experience that would deliver on that ambition. We then identify what assets Impact Hub would bring to the table and what assets our partners may bring, and work together to make it happen.
There have been a few instances where partners did not align with and deliver on the same sense of openness that we believe in. What we realized is that we sometimes are indirectly coerced into partnerships (fear of being left out) or decide to make something happen because of an organization’s profile. We hope that our partners, while have internal organizational processes, would make us aware of any misalignment. We ended up pursuing these partnerships which, while some yielded amazing deliverables, we were left wondering what the next stage of the relationship would be.
Learning and path forward
We believe in driving social innovation through collaboration. It’s our mantra. We will continue to engage with and build amazing partnerships on funding proposals, programs, and experiences. These values alignment challenges have given us a new criteria around which we look at partnerships. We look at values fit, strategic fit, openness to co-creation, and a holistic look at the assets and strengths we each bring. This renewed approach to building relationships leads to more sustained and deep partnerships in the end.