As South Africa moves towards a future where politicians and healthcare professionals will forge a new health insurance system to serve the country’s citizens better, there will be a need for collaboration.
The problem, says Colleen Magner of Reos Partners, is that this collaboration often fails despite all the best intentions.
“So we have to do it better,” she said. She says one way of doing this is using ‘radical collaboration’, but that depends on participants adopting a different viewpoint.
“It is the ultimate surrender. It is about saying, ‘This is possible, and we can work at speed, scale, and justice. It is about crossing boundaries,” she said.
Magner spoke at the Hospital Association of South Africa Conference in Cape Town.
It is about working with people you may not like or trust but staying the course no matter how hard it is. The problem is that most organisations want to continue as they are. But we need to recognise that there is more to gain by letting go. Magner says it is also about being honest in the negotiations.
In the context of National Health Insurance, with all the different role players who need to sit around the same table, radical collaboration is the best approach, says Magner.
“So when we look at Universal Health Coverage, we don’t know what will work best in South Africa. So we’ve got to run diligent experiments and learn in an agile and adaptive way.”
And it also comes down to listening and telling stories that are not negative but give hope.
Radical collaboration has worked worldwide to help fight climate change and bring sustainable energy to communities. It helps smooth the process of bringing innovation to semi-arid regions.
“So radical collaboration is not easy. It isn’t easy. But it can be done.”