Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Collaboration Part I

One theme I keep coming back to time and again in this blog is the need for collaboration among all of the organizations who are responsible for determining how services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities are funded and delivered.

At Imagine!, we have embraced collaboration whole-heartedly. In just the past few months, I can think of several local and national organizations that we have collaborated with to improve the way we do business in one way or another, including the Human Services Alliance of Boulder County, the Mental Health Center Serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties, Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA), and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), just to name a few.

It’s not just disability-specific organizations we collaborate with, either. Every day, we collaborate with local school districts, recreation centers, businesses, and governments to improve our service delivery.

And our SmartHome project? We at Imagine! are so indebted to the many partners who have helped make our dream of using technology as a cost effective way of delivering services. You can check out a list of all of our partners here.

Part of being willing to truly collaborate is demonstrating a commitment to transparency, and we are doing that as well. For example, anyone who is interested can take a tour of the Charles SmartHome in Boulder to see first hand how technology is improving the lives of the residents living there – you can even sign up to take a tour online.

Another example of our willingness to be open and share what we do can be seen in our documents website. This site is loaded with non-proprietary, non-consumer information-related Imagine! documents. You can check it out here. Could anyone who wants to go in to our documents website and see what we’re doing? Of course. We even encourage it. If another organization thinks something we are doing is an effective way to improve the quality or efficiency of their own service delivery, then by all means borrow it, copy it, or re-use it.

If you think I am bragging here about how great Imagine! is, you would be dead wrong. This is nothing more than what an average not-for-profit needs to do during times of financial uncertainty. We’re no where near where we need to be in terms of collaboration. We may be throwing a wide net, but the holes in the net are too big. We need a net with a finer weave that will produce “mass collaboration.” The effort we need will connect us to every business, every government entity, and every family in every neighborhood. This is our challenge.

Then again, what do I know?

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