The factor – optimal use of resources – involves four elements:

  • Investment of resources to initiate and maintain collaboration,
  • Funding mechanisms,
  • Geographic proximity of partners,
  • Time for working on collaboration.

The factor – optimal use of resources – refers to resources other than human resources, which is another factor influencing successful collaboration.  This factor refers to resources such as financial, spatial, temporal, and material resources.

Related IconRelated: Optimal Use of Human Resources

MoneyInvestment of Resources
Collaborations will require an investment of resources throughout the stages of the collaboration’s development including the initiation and the ongoing maintenance phases. Resources and upstart costs generally are heavier investments although it is essential to consider the ongoing maintenance costs of the collaboration.

Resources can be costly. Consider the financial investment of refrigerator thermometers to assist in vaccine cold chain management, ‘hard copy’ public handouts, shared server space, and/or information systems.

You can contribute existing resources that support the goal/aim of the collaboration (e.g., reducing obesity), as well as, the structures and processes of the collaboration itself (e.g., building collaborative relationships).

Sharing or providing materials and supplies is another type of resource which can be very valuable; for example, a variety of the materials would include educational and training materials, supplies such as vaccines or dental supplies (e.g., toothbrushes and toothpaste), smoking cessation quit kits, and/or other clinic supplies. By sharing educational materials, health messaging from both sectors is consistent.

Funding and Supportive Mechanisms                                                                                                               Public health and primary care funding mechanisms (funding models, incentives, etc.) can be essential to the success of collaborations. For example, public health and primary care payment structures that support staff time for building and maintaining collaborations are vital. These sources can be provided at the organizational level or the systemic level such as provincial incentives for primary care to increase cancer screening.

In addition, having funding to support a collaboration can be incredibly helpful to keep up the momentum and support communication and coordination mechanisms within a collaboration.

Informational resources such as links to community grants or research calls, program or community initiatives, or community resources can also be valuable in a collaboration. Less tangible but as important are letters of support from collaboration partners for grants in progress.

Related IconRelated: Systemic Funding Models and Financial Incentives Supporting Collaboration
Related: Strategic Coordination and Communication Mechanisms

Geography                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Geographic factors can also make a difference. Variables to consider are organizations’ locations and closeness to partners, sizes of community, and the urban or rural characteristics. The nature of these can provide enabling and/or disabling elements.

Time and Space
Time and space resources are also required to support collaborations. For example, having scheduled time allocated to meet with collaboration partners, as well as, adequate space to hold meetings are imperative in the development phase and beyond. Meetings are encouraged to support coordination and communication mechanisms which is another factor influencing successful collaborations at the organizational level.