Partnering for Impact: Collaborative Design and Co-Creation

Elena P. Antonacopoulou responds to her article, “Partnering for Impact: A Grand Challenge and Design for Co-Creating a Just, Resilient and Flourishing Society,” which was published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Her response appears below the paper’s abstract.

In this paper I elaborate on the design and dimensions of interorganisational collaborations particularly when the purpose of connecting is the co-creation of knowledge for impact. I extend recent accounts of co-creating knowledge and explain why co-creation is integral to the “common good” logic especially when the focus of partnering for impact embraces the marked improvements in action that constitutes the impact of collaboration. I then elaborate on “partnering for impact” as a collaborative design and explicate the axiology that this mode of co-creation calls for, marked by a fresh perspective on inclusiveness founded on isotimia and philotimia. I illustrate the manifestation of these dimensions in the GNOSIS approach of co-creating impact through the embeddedness of “re-search” as a common practice. I conclude by inviting greater reflexivity in the relationship between science and society when partnering for impact is intended to co-create a just, resilient and flourishing society.

The motivation to pursue the research reported in this article is part of my longstanding commitment as a scholar to advance ideas that make a difference by changing the conversation, inviting us to cast a reflexive gaze towards ourselves, our actions and the purpose and meaning of what who we are and what we do. As I explicitly point out in the paper “…we are the system and WE can only change it and realise the better world ALL desire, by co-creating it.”

The COVID pandemic was a catalyst pushing further my earlier work on impact and the approach I developed in the GNOSIS initiative as an approach for co-creating knowledge for impact. The pandemic invites us all to learn from this shared experience and to take stock of our inter-connectivity and inter-being. COVID has made abundantly clear that what happens in one part of the world not only spreads ‘like a virus’ in every other corner of the earth, but that it does take collective action orientated towards serving the common good to address it. VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) are conditions that now form the basis of managing and organising our everyday life and not only work.

Hence, recognizing that ‘figuring out’ (re-searching) how to navigate the unknown as we learn to live with COVID 19 has made imperative that it needs to be approached not as a response to a crisis which begs finding a solution. Instead, it has galvanized the need to recognize and embed the common good as a driving force guiding our ways of being and becoming a family of strangers globally. It has called for us to recognize our inter-being and in doing so to restore through our inter-actions not only our inter-dependence but also inter-connectedness. As such, we are also invited to learn to collaborate, cooperate and coordinate with each other differently.

I am delighted that the uniqueness of this contribution is not only that it draws on research previously done but shares the design principles of current research collaborations in the GNOSIS MAN-AGEMENT program that brings multi-stakeholder groups (academics, executives across the private and public sectors, policy makers) together and attests to the design principles we are working on and collectively co-creating as we pave the way for the 5th Industrial Revolution that will advance humankind and foster human flourishing in a just and resilient society where science plays a critical part in serving the common good.

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Elena Antonacopoulou

Dr. Elena Antonacopoulou is a professor of organizational behavior and strategy at Ivey Business School, specializing in the areas of strategic change, organizational learning and resilience, knowledge, and crisis management with a focus on leadership implications.

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