There is much to say about the wide-ranging nature of multi-stakeholder partnership work, but my focus has been increasingly on the specific issue of ‘partnership brokering’ – a term created in 1998 when co-authoring a book published by the United Nations Development Programme The Guiding Hand: Brokering Partnerships for Sustainable Development. The term ‘partnership broker’ describes anyone (whether ‘internal’ to one of the partner organisations or ‘external’ operating as an independent specialist) working on behalf of the partnership as a whole to make it efficient and to help optimise its potential.
In 2003, with a colleague (Michael Warner), the first professional Partnership Brokers Training course was launched for those operating in the intermediating role. Since then the scope of work has grown exponentially with more that 180 Partnership Brokers Training courses having been delivered in locations across the globe and, more recently, on line Remote Partnering.
The professional not-for-profit entity – the Partnership Brokers Association (PBA) established in 2012 – delivers a comprehensive range of training courses, undertakes action research, publishes case studies and ‘think pieces’ and provides partnership brokering support to individuals, organisations, partnerships and other forms of alliance across the globe.
PBA now has more than 4,000+ alumni (graduates of the training courses), 400+ of whom have completed a formal professional accreditation. PBA operates as a distributed entity with no physical office and no employees. An international network of 70+ approved Associates offer a range of partnership brokering services worldwide.
As well as continuing to support the work of PBA (as a Strategic Advisor), I also work directly as a partnership broker – particularly in brokering the idea that investment partnering process will build partnerships that are robust and inclusive and will lead to the transformation of thinking and practice as well as to sustainable outcomes.