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Co-opetition – Taking the Next Step

In our May and June ebulletin you were introduced to the concept of Co-opetition. This final article provides an example of how co-opetition can be implemented.

To recap, co-opetition involves a group of organisations who normally compete with each other working together to achieve a common purpose. This working together involves varying degrees of integration, requiring each partner to give up some autonomy to support collective goals or ideals.

Co-opetition is definitely in its infancy in the community services sector. However with the rapid changes in funding models and Consumer Directed Care (CDC), now is the perfect time to take the next step.

The introduction of CDC has meant that the relationship service providers now have with the end-user has changed. This presents an opportunity for service providers to be strategic about how they grow and develop their business to ensure that it builds and supports this new consumer relationship. In this new environment, the consumer is king with greater choice, so loyalties are developing based on needs, convenience and price.

One way organisations can take advantage of the concept of co-opetition is through an integrated partnership model.

Partnering arrangements are where you bring together the consumer and the services they need. In most cases these services are competing for the same consumer, but rather than a win-lose situation,partnering enables organisations to provide customers with more options without having to provide all the services or manage all the administrative tasks. Equally, partnering simplifies the marketplace for the customer by reducing cluttered messages and motherhood sales statements.  Having integrated partnership models enables your business to focus on what you are good at and supporting other organisations to focus on what they are good at.  And in practice, the clients wins by receiving good quality care.

Northside has implemented a partnership model of total care. This allows us to maximise flexibility in service delivery and increase service offerings and responsiveness. We enter all our relationships with a win/win attitude as both services must gain value from the arrangement for long-term success.

Our partnership model is a hybrid providing both direct and sub contracted services that assist aged care and disability services to deliver exceptional in home support services to customers. By partnering with other providers for respite care, community support work, transport, home modifications, equipment, domestic assistance, meals, nursing and education support, we are able to ensure that our service model is consistent with the philosophy of CDC – providing customers with choice and flexibility in how, when and by whom their care is provided.

As a total care organisation, our partnerships are critical to us being flexible and innovative in a way that responds to consumer’s needs.  So we have found ourselves talking with services that we never would have anticipated in the previous welfare system.

We anticipate a changing service environment over the next three years and believe that working with high quality ‘out of the box’ services is the key to meeting consumers’ increasing expectations.

Our Tips for Managing Co-opetitive Partnerships

  • Know what you are good at and stick to it.
  • If you are used to working in a “program” environment, deconstruct your programs in products and services.
  • Understand what services customers need today and in the future.
  • Do your due diligence before talking with potential partners. Quality is key as your reputation is dependant on their quality of work.
  • Conduct regular audits and keep dialogue open. Assign an “Service Delivery Manager” to manage the service expectations.
  • Establish a robust quality framework
  • Use the minimum number of agencies needed to enable you to focus on clients’ needs and outcomes. Don’t partner with everyone and be meticulous about who you partner with.

Rosanna Commisso
Home Support & Partnership Coordinator