Tool: Collaboration Spectrum

Author: Tamarack Institute | Source: Tamarack Institute


Where is your network or partnership on the collaboration spectrum? There is a continuum of different collaborative approaches. These approaches will vary based on the culture, size, and goals of the network. As groups move towards greater collaboration they must pay attention to activities that build trust among the partners. It is also important to note that the amount of communication, time, energy, focus, the sharing of resources, and degree of commitment also increase as you move towards greater collaboration. This tool is an excellent resource for facilitating a conversation about the network’s current and desired level of partnership.


  1. Review the Collaboration Spectrum.
  2. Have each member individually assess the network’s level of collaboration and explain why they chose that category. Invite questions of clarification.
  3. Summarize the viewpoints and ask the group to reflect on what was surprising? What was similar? What was different about everyone’s viewpoint.
  4. Then ask what degree of collaboration and networking is appropriate and needed to achieve your collective goals.
  5. Have each partner indicate this on the spectrum and share why.
  6. Work towards agreement on what level of collaboration is appropriate and sustainable for this partnership. Facilitate discussion on what this might look like for the partnership and how you might work together differently. Note that the group may decide the current level is sufficient.
  7. If any changes are necessary, work together to develop a collective action plan for how the network can increase trust and the level of collaboration.


Tamarack Institute. Spectrum of Collaboration. July 2017.