Working with the philosophers at The School of Life, we looked at six different ingredients that make partnerships successful. Each film highlights a specific ingredient and while they are very unique, they all feature a strong and compelling partnership at their heart, showing how they are making a real difference to people’s lives.
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Des Crowley on ‘Inspiring Partnerships
Working with others is vital in allowing any business or person to grow and progress. This is why Bank of Ireland UK places partnerships at the heart of what it does, and why we’re the Partnership Bank.
Through its work with the School of Life, Bank of Ireland UK explores the concept of ‘partnerships’ in a series of intriguing and thought provoking videos. We take you all over the world in the hope of uncovering what it is that makes a partnership successful.
We have enjoyed making the series with the School of Life and learning from the experiences of the partners featured in the videos. We hope you enjoy the videos too.
Expand the headings below to see the videos.
- Common Purpose
Meachers Global, Steve Porter Transport and Red Funnel
Three businesses have come together to form a unique partnership that cuts their overheads, delivers a better service and is ultimately more cost efficient for their customers. The Solent Alliance comprises supply chain company Meachers Global, transport business Steve Porter Transport and the ferry company Red Funnel. Together, they deliver inbound and outbound freight from the Isle of Wight via Southampton.
The partnership is a real success story, with each partner reporting business growth and increased turnover year-on-year. The success has also helped to attract new businesses into using Southampton as a storage hub. All three companies are committed to further developing their partnership and sell each other’s services at all times. They attribute their success to their common purpose and shared goal of creating greater convenience for their customers at all times.
Heinz and Ford Motor Company
Companies working together with a common purpose can help make the world a better place. Following a chance conversation over dinner, Heinz entered into collaboration with Ford – a partnership which was to help them work towards their shared purpose of reducing the impact they each have on the environment.
Heinz was on the search for a practical use for the waste from the more than 2 million tons of tomatoes they use annually in the production of Tomato Ketchup. Ford’s commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling meant that they were the natural partners in this project.
The team at Ford soon discovered that the dried out tomato waste could be used as a reinforcing fibre for plastics and although this partnership is in its infancy, plastics are already being produced that may be used in Ford vehicles. As Deborah Mielewski of Ford Motor Company Research says “One guy’s trash can be another guy’s treasure.”
- Solving Problems
Gavi and Khushi Baby
Vaccines can be an unpleasant but vital part of early childhood, but in India access to these medicines can be difficult and sporadic. Entrepreneurs at Gavi have been given the opportunity to help solve this problem through a partnership with Khushi Baby, who have developed a deceptively simple looking necklace. The necklace hides a computer chip which transmits a child’s data and medical needs via the cloud to any medical team.
Khushi Baby and Gavi have initiated a project in rural Rajasthan that has seen the necklaces given to 1,500 children, with medical teams accessing the data and going to the region with the exact medical supplies needed. They are aiming to have 5000 children registered before the end of the year. This necklace could prove the end of children not having crucial vaccinations in the formative years of their lives.
RSPB and Crossrail
In this film, we meet representatives from Crossrail and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), who joined together to find a solution to the problems both organisations faced and in the process formed one of the most intriguing business partnerships of recent years.
In 2008 the RSPB was looking to create a nature reserve at Wallasea Island off the coast of Essex but could not afford the spiraling costs involved in raising the reserve above sea level. Crossrail meanwhile had a problem with getting rid of their high-quality waste as they dug beneath London to create a new high-speed train link.
Through the partnership, Crossrail not only got rid of its waste but also created an infrastructure for delivering more waste that will remain at Wallasea for other organisations even once they are no longer involved. “At a time when nature is in crisis, we believe Wallasea sets a new benchmark showing what’s possible with intelligent partnerships between the private sector and charities,” said Martin Harper, RSPB.
This film not only discusses the formation of the partnership but also the legacy that it leaves behind as the birds begin to arrive at the newly created nature reserve.
- Mutual Respect
Manor Farm and Church Farm
Two Somerset farmers have come together to grow their businesses by pooling their resources. Since joining forces in 2001 they have purchased machinery and land together to keep themselves at the forefront of farming techniques.
Their partnership is founded on mutual respect, as without a deep understanding of each other their hard work could have foundered through rivalry with each other. They are clear that whilst they are a partnership, each has a responsibility for his own business and making the most out of their part of the Somerset countryside.
A partnership across generations
Working in partnership with other people, whether sociably or in business requires patience and understanding from both parties. The Bristol-based charity, LinkAge, is designed to enrich the lives of older people by promoting active participation in the community.
LinkAge has launched a generation spanning initiative which brings together over 55s with younger people as a way of generating mutual respect and understanding through the sharing of skills, knowledge and interests. The appreciation and consideration for one another is designed to simultaneously combat loneliness in the older generation whilst offering advice such as cooking to the younger individuals.
In this film, we see an IT class which partnered pensioner, Betty, with a local teenager, Sophie, to address specific tech-related questions. The idea is to create a nurturing environment where no question is too small and patience is encouraged. Over tea and biscuits afterwards the pairs can get to know each other socially and trade stories.
On a wider level, the charity has dances, sporting socials and passion projects such as gardening where generations can work side by side and learn mutual respect. Together, Sophie and Betty have shared life skills and experiences. As Betty says, “Everybody is an individual and they all have life experience that may be beneficial to you at your age.”
Rally Drivers Bron Burrell and Tina Kerridge-Reynolds
In the high octane world of rally driving, communication is essential between a driver and their co-driver. Split second decisions and clear direction are the difference between not only winning and losing but life and death. Two people who know this only too well are Bron Burrell and Tina Kerridge-Reynolds, who this year reunited after 40 years apart to compete in the London to Lisbon rally. They competed in their car, Puff, the same one that they had driven in the last time they raced.
The two women rely on good humour, loud voices and understanding that instructions must be obeyed. For them, communication is very much a two way understanding, Tina delivers the instructions and Bron has to listen. They don’t rely on any tricks but are united in the goal of getting to the end of the rally and trying for a good place. It’s this understanding that underpins their communication and drives them forwards – and has brought them back together after so long apart.
International teams at the Concordia Research Station
Communication is essential in all aspects of our lives including business partnership. This was the case at the Concordia Research Station in Antarctica, a half French, half Italian station used by the European Space Agency to conduct scientific and psychological experiments for the exploration of extraterrestrial planets.
Each year, 16 people spend a year in isolation, living and working together. Spending days on end with total strangers in the most remote place on earth has been a huge challenge to Concordia, and overcoming multicultural barriers including language and significant cultural differences has been a vital cog in the safe running of the station.
Here, Eoin MacDonald-Nethercott talks us through his time at the Station as an honorary Frenchman and Italian. He describes navigating the tensions of isolation through food, football and socialising. Coming together in everyday activities helps build understanding between the crew, and allows for the smooth running of the station, and ultimately, the basis of their happy survival.
- Complementary Skills
SSC and Arup
Imagine a house powered by algae. This was the vision of the research team at Strategic Science Consultants (SSC). They knew that algae could be used to trap solar energy and that this in turn could be redirected to provide heat. But they didn’t know how to turn this into a practical reality. Arup, an architectural company, did because their ambition was to design and construct ecologically sustainable buildings. The two companies came together, combining their different skills to improve the environment and reduce the impact of housing.
Now, the world’s first building powered by algae has been built with new owners living in the 35 flats. The flats provide much needed affordable housing and have spurred on a community dedicated to environmental causes – proving a strong partnership with complementary skills can have a very real impact on our environment.
Cancer Research UK and Channel 4
We are often unaware of how valuable our own skills can be for other people, and sharing skills is vital to any successful partnership. Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK have joined forces to develop a game that can help scientists in their quest to cure cancer: Reverse The Odds.
Supported by the scientific expertise of Oxford University-based researchers, Cancer Research UK had collated a vast quantity of data capable of uncovering treatment advancing techniques, yet lacked the manpower to analyse the tumour cells. With an exceptionally successful history of game development alongside their already popular and well known campaign ‘Stand Up To Cancer’, Channel 4 appeared as the natural partner to compliment the skills Cancer Research UK was seeking in order to progress the programme.
The game requires players to complete puzzles, collect rewards and analyse real cancer slides by identifying tumour cells, as a way of progressing through its levels. The human eye has proven far more accurate than computer technology in assessing these crucial slides, and the mass analysis facilitated by Channel 4 allows data to be collected quickly, helping researchers progress significantly in the battle against cancer.
The two parties have mutually benefitted from the creation of the game, an achievement which could not have been realised had they not traded their skills.
ORMS and NHS
Saving lives is at the heart of the NHS and in Wales the local authority is dedicated to keeping its staff push the boundaries of what’s possible. Through a partnership with training company ORMS, doctors and paramedics are given helicopter rescue training so that both teams can learn from the protocols and methods of each other. With rescues taking place in high pressure situations trust is essential if every patient is to get the best possible care.
We meet two of the founders of the programme and get an understanding of how trust can be built quickly and thrive in the most extreme situations. And, it’s this trust that is seeing the programme expand and help more patients throughout Wales.
Millie Knight and Euan Bennet
True partnerships involve equal reliance on one another, underpinned by trust. In this video, we explore how, in the case of a leading British athlete, building trust required her to put her hopes of medals in the hands of her coach.
Millie Knight competes internationally in slalom and giant slalom. At the age of one, Millie contracted toxocariosis, a condition that resulted in her losing the majority of her eyesight. In the qualifiers for an international event, Millie’s guide fell and injured herself, leaving Millie’s hopes of gold in jeopardy.
To enable Millie to compete, her coach Euan Bennet stepped up to become her guide and despite having never competed together, they rapidly began building confidence and trust in one another, resulting in Millie’s qualification. In partnering with Euan, Millie not only got back to racing competitively, but also witnessed first-hand the power of reliance and understanding.
The pair of athletes have continued to build their trust in each other and enhance their strong sporting partnership.