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Collaborative Insight January 2016 - ISSUE 38

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Collaborative Working & Cultural Diversity

BSI hosted our latest event at their operations centre in Milton Keynes where 80 plus executive network members and guests gathered to hear a variety of perspectives on the role of collaboration in meeting the challenges of cultural diversity.

Deborah Leary
Deborah Leary OBE, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Businesswomen's Network

Deborah provided an overview of the work being done By the CBN to support and develop the role of women in business across the 53 countries of the commonwealth. Their goal being to provide greater opportunities for women to engage in business and thus change the recognition of their role in society. As such to move many into education and provide them with the tools to develop sustainable business which has included the development of an Internet trading platform.

Chris McComb
Chris McComb, Divisional Commercial Advisor for Africa, Department for International Development

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty, aimed at ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit. DFID collaborates with a range of partners on a wide range of areas covering; Programme Delivery; Technical Assistance; Fund Management; Research; Monitoring and Evaluation.

There are many reasons that DFID collaborates including: insufficient resources to deliver DFID's programme ambitions, access the latest skills and technology and new approaches being developed by other development actors, ownership of the assistance received to the beneficiaries and to ensure that progress, successes and results continue to be delivered after funding from DFID has stopped. DFID provides funding to organisations like the UN or works with other donors to deliver joint programmes.

As an example she outlined the work of the Girl Hub which was established in 2010 as a strategic collaboration between the Nike foundation and DFID to achieve better outcomes for adolescent girls as part of DFID's strategic vision for women and girls which aims to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by focusing on girls and women.

Vlatka Hlupic
Vlatka Hlupic, Professor of Business and Management, University of Westminster

Vlatka outlined the principles behind her research and book 'The Management Shift' explaining from her perspective the need for organisations to understand their level of collaborative maturity by looking to the links between People /Relationships/ Individuals and Strategy/Systems/Resources.

Chris Wright
Chris Wright, UK Marketing Director at BSI

The BSI perspective was presented by Chris Wright. The standards approach to delivering improvements through standards is a Living and breathing example of collaborative working. BSI are seeing a growing demand for certification across many different standards where certification gives confidence to the market place and supports organisations in reaching goals and meeting objectives. All certification schemes go through a thorough piloting process before they are made available and client collaboration ensures the schemes are relevant and appropriate and the assessment process works. The other key aspect of standards is that they have no diversity boundaries being open to all.

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK

Stephen used the International Collaboration for the F35 strike fighter being built by Lockheed Martin to highlight the challenges and benefits of cultural diversity. The partners contributed to development of the requirements, design and test program, and drawing on the aerospace expertise of a global network of allies.

8 partner nations have contributed to development of the requirements, design and test, and have leveraged the aerospace expertise of a global network of allies. The aircraft is being manufactured, tested, and flown at bases around the United States while companies around the world are building components and support equipment. With over 1,300 suppliers with many other sub-tier suppliers globally and when at full rate production we expect this to create more than 200,000 jobs worldwide connected to the program with the economic impact in the multi-billion dollar range.

Global industrial partnerships bring together companies across our industry to truly lead the development of technology, skills, knowledge and competitive growth across national borders.

Successful partnerships allow for flexibility and collaboration creating solid supply chain networks, bringing the best suppliers to the partnerships and deliver value to the customer.

Gary Robinson
Gary Robinson, European Executive Director MarketMaker4

The Xchanging International Retail eSourcing collaboration under MM4 is an integrated eSourcing platform, enabling customers to source the best suppliers anywhere in the world. This creates the challenge of not only addressing cultural differences between customers but simply in supporting the platform MM4. As a Multi-lingual Web-based platform his global team support 24/7 in 21 languages for all active users.

Christine Holler
Christine Holler, Head of Capability Management and HR Development, General Dynamics European Land Systems, Germany

Christine was responsible to drive for GDELS, the first ICW major implementation in Europe and she was happy to relate the benefits of BS11000 approach is successfully implemented in the day-to day work with the project team of the UK Ministry of Defence. It is now part of their value proposition for a range of customers. Basic concept is simple but brilliant at the same time business partners which work together can often achieve much more in collaboration than they can alone.

But her theme for the day offered a much different evolution of the collaboration theme and use of the BS 11000 principles to help bridge the cultural gaps between politicians, Unions, workers and multiple industry partners to address a regional skills challenge.

She outlined how demographic change in combination with an overall positive economic development creates an issue in the supply of skilled staff. Critical for GDELS-G to manage this capability as it is a prerequisite for being able to accept future contracts whilst keeping qualified personnel in the company in times of insufficient workload. Her unique concept "Turning staff leasing topsy-turvy" managing risk and opportunity at the same time with more than 60 employees not laying off but leasing out integration of external organisations into an existing business process. GDELS have brought together a collaborative network of companies to share their most valuable resources – their staff, keeping skills within company and the region by providing significant added value for all parties involved.

The collaborative approach results included raising the profile of GDELS and significant impact on their reputation because of the social aspect with big support by unions, politics and other business development organisations, a collaborative network of companies to share "human resources" and benefiting from sustainable relationships.

Entrust is a partnership between Staffordshire county council and Capita which works in partnership with schools, academy trusts and Local Authorities to provide specialist expertise, ensuring every child and young person; receives a good education; is in a safe and healthy environment; and is given expert guidance to realise their full potential. The blending of organisational cultures has been one of the key success factors in meeting the prime objectives.

To date Entrust have worked with schools and academies from over 50 Local Authority areas, offering a vast range of education services from school improvement to schools HR, finance and IT. We not only provide services to schools from our own teams but we also facilitate, broker and signpost school-toschool support to ensure the outstanding practice in our schools is shared. By building on our reputation for excellence and delivering what we promise, we want to help make every school in England a good school, ensuring every child and young person gets the education they deserve.

Paul gave us a view of the cultural challenges to journey from Public to Private Ownership. Unipart had experience of taking over British Leyland spare parts supply. They adopted best practice from the Japanese car industry and Toyota in particular and the Unipart Way was created to change the behaviour employees and the working culture to move from public ownership to a more entrepreneurial, co-operative focus through greater levels of employee engagement.

In 1997 the spares supply for UK trains passed from British Rail to Unipart, a privately owned company.

As part of this process every Unipart employee has a personnel development plan from "Gate to Great" in a continuous improvement philosophy with 18 principles embedded. The "team culture" of Unipart Rail has enabled the transition to BS 11000 a much easier process as employees already have a collaborative mind-set. The rail customer base has also moved from Public to Private ownership which has increased commercial demands and customer expectations that require a different approach and to meet these market challenges Unipart Rail has built collaborative relationships and developed a Customer Engagement System forms the heart of the business strategy.

The cultural challenges extend much further. The Hitachi Project – new train bogie overhaul specification to be developed by Unipart Rail and Japanese engineers involved intensive learning exercise by both teams to embed being respectful of language and cultural issues, common goals and outcomes reached by a joint approach and forming trusting relationships. Now the focus is on new markets, Middle East, Australia, South America and South Africa with consultancy services to improve operational efficiencies requires respect of existing working practices and behaviours.

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