We not only measure the level of collaboration, we provide technical assistance to groups to begin and/or improve the level of collaboration.
Over the past 15 years, we have had the privilege of working with many agencies as evaluators. One thing we have seen is that many times after a grant ends the agencies go back to their silos and business as usual.
Several years ago we worked on a grant that did not follow this pattern. The community partners continued to work together on their goals and continued to integrate their systems.
To better understand why this project was different, we conducted interviews with the individuals involved in with grant to learn why these groups continued working while others did not. What we learned from these interviews, combined with our degrees in psychology and relationship development, lead us to develop new theories of collaboration.
Since 2007 we have actively researched and presented on collaboration, developed a model of collaboration, provided technical assistance on collaboration, and created measures to help groups determine their collaboration needs. In 2010 we completed a grant funded by the Colorado Health Foundation in which we comprised a toolkit.
We have come to believe that in order to be successful collaborative groups must pay attention to both structural factors and relational factors. Structural factors are items such as clear goals and regular meeting times. Relational factors are items such as trust and regular personal communication.
We like to say that collaboration is like driving down a toll road. In order to be successful you must have both gasoline in your car and money to get through the toll booth. Structural factors are like the gasoline in your tank. Groups that don't pay attention to structural factors won't be able to move forward.
Collaboration is not a smooth continuum. Once a certain level of collaboration is reached, there is a qualitative difference in the way they work together. Groups must improve their relationships in order to make these qualitative jumps, therefore the relationship factors work like the change for the toll booth.
The following is a listing of projects and research administered by PSI (formally WIN Partners). Click on a topic to read more!
Projects and Research & Evaluation
Arapahoe Community of Excellance
Measuring Collaboration in Medical Homes