Being selfish can supercharge a consortium project

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Oren Jay Sofer, in his book, Say What You Mean describes how the Zulu greeting "Sawubona" means "we see you". He goes on to explain how it is essential to regard whoever you are talking to as a person with thoughts, feelings and aspirations.

It is the best way to assure that you will have a meaningful and productive dialogue. 

Dialogue is, after all, the process of building on one another's ides by first understanding each other's perspectives.

It is also important to 'see' the standpoint of your consortium partners, that is if they will show it to you.

Being candid

Often when people are working in collaboration, they hold back on expressing what they really think.

This is usually done in the 'spirit' of cooperation. Or, it is for the 'good of the project'. Doing something meaningful is what everyone strives for and if often the need that is being fulfilled by taking part in a consortium project.

But everyone also has other needs. More foundational needs.

If a consortium project is also fulfilling some of your individual needs or needs of your organisation, you will be motivated to invest more in the project.

However, if your consortium partners do not 'see' your individual or organisational needs, it will be difficult to shape the project to meet those needs.

This is why being candid about what you are thinking is vital.

But what if your needs don't align with the overall objectives of the project?

Think together

The great thing about consortium projects is that you get immediate access to the thinking and experience of your consortium partners.

In most consortia, collectively, the consortium partners make up an array of cognitive diversity that is hard to find in any other setting.

So, even if you think that the project is far from fulfilling your own needs, by accessing the collective intelligence of the group through open and frank dialogue, you will likely to find ways that your needs can be met in the process of delivering the project.

Then you can wholeheartedly invest effort and resources into the project. Your increased dedication to the project will help to propel the project forward.

If everyone in the project takes the same approach, you will be able to achieve more than you ever imagined possible.

Scott Wagers

"The Consortium Whisperer" Physician and researcher who has spent the last 12 years engaged in developing biomedical R&D consortia, as well as designing and supporting the delivery of consortium based projects.

No matter who you are, you can, and you should innovate through consortia. They are the only way to make a big difference to the future of medicine. Want to find out how? Get in touch.