The partners within your collaboration network each perform specific activities in support of the network and as an integral part of the collaborative partnerships.  It is very important to document and define the types of activities that partners will provide both within and across the partnerships to clarify the expectations and deliverables of the relationships.  The activities and participation of the activities will change during the lifetime of the partnership, the activities will expand and contract based on the requirements of the partnership and the capabilities of the partners.  This growth of the activities is one of the factors providing a means to measure the maturity of the collaborative partnerships along with the relationship and maturity of the relationship of each of the partners within the network.

As I mention above, the activities that are performed by the partners will change over time due to the requirements and opportunities of the collaborative network.  These types of changes are often brought about as a result of either new, or changed, needs of the network, or new, or changed, capabilities of the partners.  These changes to the activities and services will change as a result of the growth of the network and a growth of the capabilities of the partners.  These changes measure the value that is derived from the collaborative network.  This value is an important aspect of measuring the growth of the collaborative network and it is important to measure this aspect with a document describing the activities and the value expected to be delivered to the partners from these activities.

Another important aspect to the documentation and measurement of the activities is the and the relationship of the partners.  These types of activities can also be measured by the strategic value that they provide to the partners within the collaborative network.  This strategic value can be very difficult to measure and at the same time it will be very difficult to deliver.  I believe this is the key maturity measurement metric to defining the maturity of your collaborative partnerships.  This measurement truly defines the strength of the collaboration. 

I would argue that strategic collaboration comes the closest to measuring the maturity and the value of the collaborative network.  The strategic collaboration activities are defined by partners sharing and delivering activities that are related to business critical activities for each of the partners.  These business critical activities are considered to be core business activities for any one of the partners related to activities and information that were closely guarded prior to entering into the partnerships.  It is difficult to provide specific examples of these activities and information because they are different for each partner and industry.  I think one way to define this maturity of the partnerships is that these are the activities change change the relationship from service provider to a partner.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you identify and address new opportunities in your current business market?  Have you ever tried to develop a SWOT focused on new business opportunities or new markets  to evaluate the fit for partnership and as a means to address and meet new opportunities?  Do you regularly develop a SWOT analysis to evaluate your internal capabilities and needs to support new business and market opportunities?