Impactful Change Needs Collaboration

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Collaboration between private sector, governments, and civil society in Africa is essential for addressing challenges and fostering sustainable growth. Success depends on setting aside self-interest, embracing change, and adopting bold leadership to create innovative and inclusive systems.

We are all currently facing many challenges on the African continent that at times seem insurmountable, and sadly none of us are spared from these challenges. There is a need to innovate in order to effectively address these adversities and find solutions that can drive business profitability and sustainability.

As private sector organisations, governments, and civil society, there is such enormous power and impact in collaboration that it is time to actively engage, leave self-interest behind, and look at working together for the greater good. Collaboration is the path to success and the path to building a sustainable economy. Collaborating to find solutions together is far more sustainable than doing it on our own.

How often have companies failed by trying to “go it alone” and not realising that reaching out to a competitor, a new supplier, or a young business will be the stepping stone to success? Yes, there are risk factors involved, but at times we need to be prepared to take the risk and reach out to each other, as the result will be far more impactful if we work together.

Is there possibly validity in the perception that the bigger we become, the less we want to, or think we need to, collaborate because we can all do it ourselves? No private sector organisation or public sector entity can ever accomplish real impact without collaboration.

”Collaboration is about putting self-interest aside—consciously and intentionally—and focusing on a collective agenda
 that will help create prosperity for all.”

In my humble opinion, the unsuccessful implementation of so many public and private sector programmes is due to the hidden agendas of self-interest and seeking credit for the sake of KPIs and publicity. Collaboration is about putting self-interest aside—consciously and intentionally—and focusing on a collective agenda that will help create prosperity for all.

The public and private sectors need to think outside the “normal” way of doing things and start changing those systems that are holding us back and that are affecting the successful outcome of initiatives and projects. The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is clichéd and also very shortsighted. We cannot continue to address challenges in the same way we have for decades. Just looking at how the landscape has changed in the last 3 years due to COVID should be an enormous wake-up call, as nothing will be the same ever again. Change is inevitable and very much needed.

I would like to conclude with this quote from Buckminster Fuller, a world-renowned architect, systems theorist, inventor, philosopher, and futurist: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

Changing systems requires bold and courageous leadership, stepping out of our comfort zones, and reaching out to each other to collaborate and create collective impact, in order to build a more inclusive society for all and ensure we leave no one behind.

teikie barnard singnature
Founder & CEO