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No man is an island… Put it there, partner

IN RECENT months, the depth of co-operation and collaboration between the partners supporting Milton Keynes College’s bid for an Institute of Technology at Bletchley Park has proved just what working together can do. 

Collectively we’re bidding for significant funding from government to open a digital campus at the birthplace of the computer and the home of wartime code breaking, where the next generation of young people will learn about those tech skills which are in such short supply and so sorely needed by business.

Some things you just can’t do on your own and the bid might not have been shortlisted were it not for the fabulous array of big name backers like Microsoft and KPMG and the commitments they’ve made not only to founding the IoT but also to its future.

With developments in tech moving so fast, even those giants cannot be fully abreast of every development all of the time so working together makes more sense now than ever before. 

What has received less media attention is the number of smaller businesses that are also partners and which see the massive potential benefits of working together.

The smaller participants get to influence curriculum design, helping to ensure that the skills they need are taught and, by giving time in terms of teaching, workshops, work experience etc., get to spot the best of the best talent coming through the system. 

And for those small businesses, what an opportunity it is. Not only will they benefit from close involvement with the IoT but also by forging relationships with those giants of the tech world, relationships which could be highly useful in the future.

There are many great examples of this. A long-standing relationship with tech company Mirus IT grew from a chance contact into running a live service desk together. Now college and company have an apprentice nominated for a national award. 

Ecommerce business Expandly started life in our Launchpad for Start Ups. As the business grew it took on a student who is now a critical employee and shareholder in the business.

Today, both these companies are in a position to help to shape the curriculum and provide students with real world problems at what may well become one of the most prestigious digital institutions in British education. 

This is where the Milton Keynes magic comes in. Ours is such a connected city, with existing strong networks. People here seem to be more open to the idea of partnerships, of pulling together for mutual benefit.

Perhaps it’s the relative newness of everything, that almost everyone is an incomer, but it makes this place the ideal one for finding and developing the kind of lasting relationships which can make a business fly.

No man is an island”, poet John Donne wrote nearly 400 years ago. The same is true for business. We all find organisations we learn to trust and work with over time, be they suppliers or customers or purveyors of complementary services.

Take that further. Identify those areas where mutual benefits might accrue. Where are the gaps in your armoury of skills and how could you add value to a business which does have them? How much more could your business achieve if you found partner organisation to share the burdens and the spoils? I

t’s so easy to develop a silo mentality when you are totally focused on the products or services you provide when just lifting your eyes to the horizon might offer real solutions through collaboration.

Partnerships work. 

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