Create Converge Collaborate - Get set

  1. Agree who will be on a working group and what they will discuss.

Having the people and the time to do this can be a real challenge, especially for smaller companies.

Working groups need to have regular meetings and make sure you involve directors or others who need to know or keep them posted. There can be a preference for physical meetings but Covid has certainly brought about a change in attitude to virtual working and collaboration.

There are lots of tools out there like Zoom to make meetings faster and more efficient, especially for transnational.


Here’s a list of the 7 best video conferencing tools of 2020:


  1. Is money needed to help with development?

It’s true that you might need some external help or advice, for example. So at this point take a look at public business advice and economic development organisations. Some operate at local level and others at regional or national level. Some advisers like lawyers and accountants may provide some initial advice for free.


  1. Agree what you are going to do with your collaboration.

Make sure everyone is signed up to the same vision.

It’s also a good time to develop your initial elevator pitch and more information for those who take an interest. Remember that’s a work in progress so you can always update it according to what emerges. But hey you work in the creative/digital/tech sectors so this must be in your DNA.


  1. Agree the objectives of the collaboration.

What will success look like. You are going to need a business plan, probably sooner rather than later.

There’s loads of advice online plus various tools free and not so free.

This is Tech Radar’s take for example on business plan software.


A business plan is nothing unless it’s delivered so you also need to…………………


  1. Explore (and when you’re ready, agree) who would or will be doing what.

Everything from product and service design and development to business and finance management, marketing and communications. Obviously this depends on different skills, time available, relationships and other resources.


You may be looking at raising finance. Keep in mind regional, national and EU sources of funding targeted at collaboration. There is masses of online Information. These are a few starting points for EU funding and some programmes even allow for partners in non-EU countries to take part: - choose a language other than English


It is well worth taking a look at the European Union Interreg programme that funds transnational projects for different country groups.


If it all seems overwhelming it’s a good idea to speak to regional business support and enterprise agencies and universities and colleges - look for external funding, commercialisation or business development offices. You may also get help to collaborate with universities to develop products and services. 


But back to delivery - remember that someone for reasons good or bad may not deliver so be prepared to deal with that including having a plan B, C, D…. and have a pragmatic view on finding a solution if at all possible.


  1. Make the most of online collaboration tools.

This is a great overview of tools for Communication, Documentation, Software, Project Management, Data Visualisation, Note Taking, File Sharing and CRM.


  1. The formal stuff

Depending on your intended level of collaboration take time to look at options for putting collaboration onto a formal footing. If you are simply doing cross-promotion, an exchange of letters may be enough. But if you’re going further up the collaboration ladder, you might need to think about putting arrangements in place such as a contract, joint venture agreement, setting up a company or forming a coop. They mean that even with the collaboration, each member organisation also operates under its own identity. It is also possible for a group of companies to band together to bid for contracts. This might mean clients having to contract with each member. It might be more appealing for clients to contract with one member so that definitely needs a contract between that member and all the others. 


  1. Tell the world

Once again, if you’re in the creative/digital/tech sectors communications should be second nature to you.


Remember to reach out to key organisations in your space and not just potential clients.

Go back to that player analysis you did and discussion about marketing. Make contact with organisations that can help through interaction like contact and events – either hosted or attended.