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Kevin Keith Trust, collaboration and the power of the collective Innovation, procurement rules, and a pipeline of projects were some of the responses from senior Defence officials, contractors and consultants when asked what prevented industry and government from working effectively together. Yet of greater significance, from those in attendance at the first Defence | Industry Co-Lab, was the stated lack of trust between all parties. This is perhaps not too surprising. Numbers in the Edelman Trust Barometer, globally accepted as being one of the most credible surveys on this topic, have consistently pointed out that trust is declining across society—within and across firms, institutions, government and citizens. So where does this leave the possibility of working collectively? What is the impact on technology which increasingly requires multiple organisations, in multiple locations, from multiple sectors to work on the same project, at the same time? This year, Edelman was happy to report a revival of faith in experts: technical is now at 63 per cent and academic is at 61 per cent whereas "a person like yourself" dropped to an all-time low of 54 per cent. It highlights that in as much as trust can be lost, it can also be regained. To quote Hemingway, "the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." For industry and government to rebuild the trust they have lost in each other, the starting point almost paradoxically, is to trust each other—a process achieved only through collaboration. Not tokenistic collaboration where one side seeks to own the process, or is weighed down in pre-meetings and covert agendas, but genuine cards-on-the-table, effective collaboration based mutual understanding and the identification of, and progress towards, shared objectives. It is not rocket science but nor is it easy. One of my favourite quotes is by former President of the United States, Harry S Truman: "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." It is a prerequisite for any elite team, yet often the environment within which government, consultants and contractors operate, makes it difficult to build a sense of team. The bottom line, performance targets, the next news poll can make us seek maximum control in order to have most influence over outcomes.

Member of the RAAF marshals U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster at RAAF Base Tindal.

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This is why in designing the Defence | Industry Co-Lab it was critical to create a ‘safe space’ where, as Hemingway suggests, people can build trust by trusting each other. To close off as many external influences as possible and develop an environment in which success can be shared and celebrated, vulnerabilities and weaknesses discussed and understood, common goals agreed, and outcomes worked towards. It is at this final stage when the value of collaboration, the power of the collective, comes to the fore as outcomes will always surpass anything achieved in isolation. The Defence | Industry Co-Lab is the first of its kind undertaken by parties involved. If you would like to know more, read the report from the first session here.

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2018 March Consulting Matters  

Consult Australia's official quarterly publication focuses on the issues which are prevalent in the consulting industry through articles and...

2018 March Consulting Matters  

Consult Australia's official quarterly publication focuses on the issues which are prevalent in the consulting industry through articles and...

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