When Pen Pushers meet Cushion Huggers – 5 Ways to Deliver Successful Innovation Partnerships

Pete Davies spent 18 years delivering innovation within the world’s largest public broadcaster. Now as CEO of NavMotion, a small creative media company, Pete explores the challenge of collaborative innovation across the vastly different cultures of the public, private and third sector.

York Talking HeadInspiring innovation through collaboration across the public and private sectors can appear daunting. For creative entrepreneurs the idea of navigating procurement, tendering, SLA’s and a wall of finance departments, admin bots, and – let’s say it – bureaucracy can be fairly uninspiring. And for public sector employees (and I’ve been one of those too) putting your trust in a small bunch of creatives with scatter cushions for a desk and a ball pool for an office can be just as daunting.

The short answer is – of course it works! But you have to be mindful of the chemistry that delivers results:

Collaboration x Creativity = Innovation

As with most experiments changing one variable can have a dramatic effect on the overall outcome. So ensuring that creativity as well as true collaboration are present in your laboratory is an absolute prerequisite if you want to create a really big bang rather than plenty of foul blue smoke.



Here’s my top 5 tips for how to successfully deliver innovation in a public/private collaboration (laced with some more pseudo-science!):

Source Some Energy– to release it you need a spark, and you need fuel. We’re talking humans here as much as good business process. Humans who will see you through good times and bad. Choose your team wisely.
Maintain Momentum – Few beyond nuclear fusion researchers are prepared to give their lives working on a single dream. So set short terms attainable goals to ensure that the project won’t stall. Remember that projects often need new injections of fuel and helpful re-ignition to maintain momentum.
Embrace Diversity – embrace your respective working cultures as well as the diversity of approach often found within teams. Creativity is often reliant on new and sometimes uncomfortable perspectives. And the results may challenge your corporate theology of how things should be done.
Organise Creative Competition – by all means let loose the entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit found at hackathons and other creative events where people can pitch to win. But for all kinds of reasons avoid competitive tendering if you’re hoping for innovative results. Good tendering involves knowing in advance what you want to purchase and rarely delivers the flexibility of response or collaborative spirit required for innovation.
Incubate New Ideas – don’t quarantine your project in an isolation ward, but equally don’t expose it too soon to the full icy blast of corporate attention and rigorous KPI’s before its ready. Innovation often needs time to transfer into mainstream.
Iterate and Refine – It’s never good to shoot straight for the moon! Too many great ideas are abandoned because they don’t work first time. Develop them in an agile, iterative way, giving concepts a chance to prove themselves at every stage.


Get in Touch to find out more about how Pete and the NavMotion team help with content innovation.