Collaboration as a strategic asset

Impact case of the month

December 20 2022

The better organizations work together, the better the performance. That sounds like pushing at an open door, yet the importance of working together is often underestimated. What are the success factors play an important part in good collaboration? How do you make working together more efficient and effective? Jeroen van der Velden, Associate Professor of Strategy Alignment and director of the Nyenrode Faculty Expertise Center Strategy, Organization & Leadership at Nyenrode Business University can, after more than 25 years of research and consulting work, provide the answers to these questions in great detail.

Improving collaboration brings strategic goals closer. In this impact case, Van der Velden reflects on three diverse projects. These projects show that organizations can improve collaboration in several ways: by incorporating collaboration-supporting technologies, by changing the way they work, and by developing sustainable networks.

Virtual collaboration

Van der Velden was involved in several programs to introduce virtual working: "Information technology is an important tool to facilitate collaboration. This again became evident during the COVID crisis when people were no longer allowed to meet in person. In the years before the crisis, I was closely involved in change programs where remote collaboration and 'the new way of working' were central, at organizations such as KPN, ING, Shell and Heineken, among others. Because these organizations had a collaboration infrastructure available to them, there was a basis for a smooth transition from face-to-face to fully virtual working during COVID lockdowns."

New forms of collaboration and processes

Van der Velden also experimented with different change approaches. As an example, he mentions the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration where, with help from the open space method and process simulations, work processes were shortened and made more user-friendly. "The exchange of information between different departments improved significantly as a result, improving communication with taxpayers," Van der Velden says.  

Sustainable network collaboration

Finally, Van der Velden was involved in setting up a sustainable and nationwide network for children in need of palliative care: the Network Integral Child Care (NIK), an initiative of Meggi Schuiling-Otten, who launched the network. It was a complex task because in health care, quality delivery is under pressure due to staff shortages and limited financial resources, among other things. "By opting for a regional approach and by appointing and training network coordinators, six sustainable, palliative care networks are now active in which the child, parents and family, general practitioners, nurses, care centers, (children's) hospitals, bereavement workers and other stakeholders are connected," Van der Velden explains. 

Over the next four years, the network will continue to develop, in which coordination with the palliative adult care platform will pose as a new challenge. Now, young adults still often get stuck between two systems. Van der Velden: "I am proud to have been able to contribute to a development that has such an impact on palliative care in the Netherlands."

December 19 2022

An impact case includes a research portfolio around a central theme, focusing on the reach and impact of that research. The impact cases are easy to read for a broad audience, they demonstrate how Nyenrode is strengthening its connection to practice and how faculty members are finding practical solutions to relevant and current challenges in practice.

The impact cases are divided into the categories Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Stewardship, and Educational Innovation.

All cases can be found here.

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