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Driving lasting collaborations

Whyin-group psychology can help

Collaboration is widely accepted as an essential pillar in the shaping of successful healthcare models.

Nonprofits, such as the ECH Alliance, are helping to break down silos, life science companies, like Sanofi Diabetes Challenge, are currently supporting open data programmes, and entrepreneurs (eg 2015 Healthbox cohort) are tackling local problems with collaborative thinking.

Meanwhile, cultures and new revenues are being developed at an alarmingly rapid pace.

Bleddyn Rees, head of healthcare at Wragge, Lawrence, Graham & Co, explains: “Collaborative models of healthcare have been pushed from the top in the UK since the 1950s - and on the whole, they've failed.”

So what defines a successful collaboration?

At the very root of collaboration, is what psychologists call interpersonal relationships. And if we group interpersonal relationships together, we have what is known as in-group mentality.

Which, in short, means a bias of behaviour by favouring members of one's in-group over out-group members. Your in-group will forgive mistakes, increase trust and generally think positively about individuals who they identify as an in-group member.

In contrast, out-group members are typically seen as threatening, not to be trusted, and similar to other out-group members. It's when we look at large-scale collaborations in this micro way that we can begin to understand why they fail.

The reality is, we don't invest in developing relationships as part of collaboration projects. We rely on the relationship to be organically formed as part of the project - and this is wrong. However, there are solutions.

Loy Lobo, founder of Wegyanik, highlights organisations like the as a great example of the NHS, academic institutions and private companies coming together to build business cases and relationships.

He says: “By supporting stakeholders to recognise and articulate their biases, assumptions and vested interests, lasting relationships can be formed.”

This brief article was designed to start a dialogue the importance of collaboration, and illustrate how we can tackle large problems, with small simple steps.

Dr Wolfgang Renz, contributing writer, will be presenting how Physicians Interactive has successfully applied collaborative models in pharma at the May 12, conference on Customer Experience for Pharma in London (

Article by
Dr Wolfgang Renz

President of international business at Physicians Interactive

18th March 2015

From: Sales



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