COVID-19 has brought challenges to businesses the world over. Andy Green, Business Development Director at BM TRADA discusses how working together will help us through the crisis, and over a series of blogs, will explain the process and benefits of collaborative working and ISO 44001 certification.

In the second of a series of blogs on collaborative working, Andy discusses the importance of sharing knowledge when it comes to ISO 44001 certification. In my previous blog I discussed how working together helps us through the bad times, and that we should remember to focus on collaboration, even when times are good. The power of working together is phenomenal. 

Having already provided the context for ISO 44001 certification and given a brief overview, this blog looks at why businesses should collaborate. Key to this is sharing knowledge. The ability to share knowledge with partners is one of the real benefits of collaborative working, and is essential for a genuinely collaborative relationship. This can be an area of excitement, yet there is often nervousness around the sharing of business intel and the protection of intellectual property. This frequently creates a challenge for businesses as they set out what can and cannot be shared.

It is important to remember that the key to success is taking existing knowledge and developing it into something new, so all parties should feel authorized and comfortable to share relevant information.

The real benefits of working closely with a partner can only be fully realised when both parties commit to sharing their individual experiences and knowledge. However, it should also be clearly defined at the outset who will own any jointly-created intellectual property.

The ISO 44001:2017 standard notes that collaborative behaviours should include:

information sharing, constructive questioning, open and honest feedback
communicating effectively, consistently, openly, honestly and in a responsive manner
learning from and sharing experiences
understanding and supporting others in the achievement of their own goals
balancing risk and reward when considering innovation and future opportunities
showing respect and consideration for all partners including consideration of impacts of actions upon others

It is only by working together and sharing skills, expertise, personnel and knowledge, that collaborative working can flourish.
To ensure that all parties are comfortable with the setup, partners should be thoroughly researched and correctly selected so that the organisations are complementary. As part of the partner selection process, the knowledge sharing arrangements and boundaries need to be thoroughly explored and agreed, to form part of the joint management plan and exit strategies that we will discuss in future blogs.

The importance of ISO 44001 certification in this arrangement is that it sets a framework and a structure for collaborative working to take place. It supports the relationship through a clear set of principles that can be adapted to guarantee that it is well managed and effective. With a standard business partnership, there can be a tendency towards a lack of engagement which can make the relationship turn stale, however ISO 4001 certification monitors that value is consistently being achieved for all involved.

Ultimately, the key to a strong collaborative working system is that all parties show commitment and adhere to the principles of good collaborative working. 

If you have any questions about ISO 44001, or any other management system, please get in touch. Click here for information on our training services and here to access the Bookshop where a list of certification standards and guide books can be found.