To understand and improve how Jersey Water Works is doing, the collaborative’s backbone staff uses the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory, a widely used survey tool to assess a collaboration on research-tested success factors.
Jersey Water Works surveyed the membership using this tool in late spring of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The survey includes a series of questions with responses on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. The responses are averaged and categorized based on the average score: Collaboration Strengths (4.0-5.0), Collaboration Areas for Concern/Attention (3.0-3.9), and Collaboration Weaknesses (1.0-2.9).
The 2018 results show the following notable changes over the last three years:
- A continued increase in the overall response rate, attributed to circulating and collecting the written survey at the July member meeting. The number of respondents in 2018 was 61, a 49 percent increase over 2017. The use of the member meeting to solicit responses increases responses from those who are less involved in committee work, as is clearly indicated by an increase in the neutral/no opinion response in some areas.
- A slightly stronger concern in 2018 that not all the voices that should be part of Jersey Water Works have become members. Makeup of the membership was the lowest scoring item on the inventory in 2018, slipping back to a perceived weakness, though still improved over 2016. Membership in Jersey Water Works has increased each year so the concern appears to be about specific targets, not overall numbers.
- An indicated need for raising awareness among the membership regarding various Jersey Water Works initiatives and operations. Factors scoring in the Areas for Concern/Attention category (3.0-3.9) were more likely to have many responses with a score of 3 (Neutral/No Opinion) again in 2018. Areas where 50 percent or more of respondents had no opinion or neutral responses include:
- Leaders in state who are not part of Jersey Water Works seem hopeful about what we can accomplish (59 percent)
- There is a clear process for decision making among partners (57 percent)
- There is enough time for members to take decisions back to their organizations to confer with colleagues (57 percent)
- Jersey Water Works is able to adapt to changing conditions, such as fewer funds, changing political climate, or changes in leadership (57 percent)
Strengths to be celebrated
Results on Key Member Engagement Tools
Results on Basecamp Use and Functionality
The collaborative is less than four years old! In 2015, a group of 21 thought leaders and scores of members launched Jersey Water Works, with a shared purpose statement and goals. Since then, the collaborative has grown to more than 450 members, representing the full spectrum of stakeholders – governmental, business, community, labor, nonprofit, and academic – in a visible, active movement committed to “Smart Infrastructure. Strong Communities.”
The collaborative’s success and accomplishments will be recognized as part of the program at the annual Jersey Water Works conference on Friday, Dec. 7, in Newark.