Operationalization, implementation, and evaluation of Collaboration Planning: A pilot interventional study of nascent translational teams

J Clin Transl Sci. 2020 Jul 24;5(1):e23. doi: 10.1017/cts.2020.515.


Background: The University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hub supports multiple pilot award programs that engage cross-disciplinary Translational Teams. To support those teams, our Team Science group aims to offer a learning experience that is accessible, active, and actionable. We identified Collaboration Planning as a high-impact intervention to stimulate team-building activities that provide Translational Team members with the skills to lead and participate in high-impact teams.

Methods: We adapted the published materials on Collaboration Planning to develop a 90-minute facilitated intervention with questions in 10 areas, presuming no previous knowledge of Science of Team Science (SciTS) or team-science best practices. Attendees received a short follow-up survey and submitted a written collaboration plan with their first quarterly progress report.

Results: Thirty-nine participants from 13 pilot teams from a wide range of disciplines engaged in these sessions. We found that teams struggled to know who to invite, that some of our questions were confusing and too grounded in the language of SciTS, and groups lacked plans for managing their information and communications. We identified several areas for improvement including ensuring that the process is flexible to meet the needs of different teams, continuing to evolve the questions so they resonate with teams, and the need to provide resources for areas where teams needed additional guidance, including information and data management, authorship policies, and conflict management.

Conclusions: With further development and testing, Collaboration Planning has the potential to support Translational Teams in developing strong team dynamics and team functioning.

Keywords: Team science; collaboration; collaboration planning; education; workforce development.