Panel 14. Partnership brokering. Changing the rules of the game: from challenges to breakthrough

Transformation is increasingly positioned as a central goal of many partnership initiatives. But what exactly do we mean by transformation? What are the challenges to ensuring the profound and major changes that transformation implies? Can partnership brokering assist in addressing these barriers or, conversely, can it impede transformational change? This panel, which is organised by the Partnership Brokers Association (PBA) and the Innovation and Technology for Development Centre at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (itdUPM), will draw on both academic and practitioner insights to explore the kinds of transformation that partnership brokering aims to achieve in different contexts, what changes this implies and how far they encompass major shifts in the status quo. Using a series of case studies from itdUPM, partnership brokering as an important element in promoting transformation among different actors, structures, systems and processes will be examined with attention to key issues and challenges encountered and how far these have been successfully addressed. Consideration will be given to whether those in partnership brokering roles have sought to promote and embed transformational aspects in their work with attention to the key principles, skills and competencies needed for this. The session will also reflect on the extent to which different styles of partnership brokering have truly enabled transformation, have had negligible effect or have been an impediment to meaningful systemic change.

Possible questions for consideration include:

  • What kinds of transformation can be expected from partnership brokering – how is this undertaken and why does it make a difference?
  • Is it possible to have transformational outcomes without a transformative process?
  • Where has partnership brokering made a difference in changing the rules of the game?
  • What are the main barriers to this and how can they be addressed?
  • How far are transformational opportunities and barriers related to particular contexts and mindsets?
  • How can partnership brokering assist in working with and reframing challenges that lead to breakthroughs?
  • How can partnership brokering support partners in challenging the power dynamics that impede inclusion and transformation?