One of the most striking observations I would make is that the feedback from the regional pilot reflected the inquiry results from my earlier work; both the challenges as well as the benefits.
On the top of the pile, were two factors:
- Operational issues overtake everything that is longer term. When you dial into that, focuses on learning, less connected to the day job, working in ways that feels more complex and uncertain, then the connection with the collaborative futures work was fragile.
- The reluctance of the participants collectively to make a more formal commitment to the collaboration process. Yes, there was implicit agreement about how we would work together, but the components emerged through a number of different workshops, telephone conference calls and sharing documents.
I wouldn’t want to give the impression that the pilot project didn’t go well. While it did not achieve some of the aggressive goals set, as an experiment in collaborative futures work, it was indeed successful. We worked collaboratively, identified the challenges and potential future opportunties and developed some content about ageing.
When I reflect back on the other elements of the Collaboration Programme, the Regional Policy Collaboration Pilot worked for all the reasons that other attempts to stimulate more collaborative working with other stakeholders connected to the Horizon Scanning Centre / Futures Analysts Network, did not.
The regional pilot had:
- A catalyst - the devolved administrations and participants interested in a common issue, ageing;
- A forum – the FAN Club;
- Interested and motivated stakeholders;
- Sponsorship from HSC;
- Dedicated facilitation and collaborative working support.