Organizations frequently find that building collaborations enhance their ability to accomplish strategic objectives more efficiently. The Barthwell Group works with clients to develop and ensure the effectiveness of these collaborations.

The Barthwell Group Approach

We have a multi-step process for building strategic collaborations:

  • Partnership Concept
    We interface with the client to develop a well-defined concept describing the goals and objectives of the partnership.
  • Partnership Design
    We will design a detailed program which will accomplish the client’s objectives.
  • Partner Criteria
    Based on the program’s goals, we will work with the client to establish the specific requirements which each partner must meet.
  • Partner Selection
    Leveraging our databases, networks, and research, we will expeditiously identify appropriate partners and develop detailed profiles which allow the client to evaluate our recommendations.
  • Partnership Development
    We will build the partnership by interfacing with the partners, ensuring their “buy-in,” and assisting the client in developing the guidelines for a successful relationship.
  • Partnership Implementation
    As needed, we will coordinate the implementation of the partnership by facilitating meetings, ensuring effective communication, and monitoring the accomplishment of the partnership’s goals.

Case Studies

Creating and Implementing a STEM Collaboration between a Large State University and 12 HBCUs


A large state university was unable to attract diverse graduate students in numbers commensurate with its state’s population. In addition, the University was leaving research dollars on the table because it often could not provide the minority partners required by some federal agencies. The president wanted to build mutually beneficial relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (“HBCUs”) to address these challenges.

The Barthwell Group Solution

The Barthwell Group developed a multifaceted program designed to provide mutual benefit to the HBCU partners and the Client. After interfacing with stakeholders at the Client, and executives at HBCUs, the Department of Education, and foundation executives, we developed the concept for a collaboration which would create a partnership between the Client and multiple HBCUs in a multifaceted program to increase minority graduate students and professionals in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (“STEM”) disciplines.

Next, we conducted a comprehensive scan of the 100+ HBCUs to determine those which met the requirements for partnership (previously developed with the Client). We leveraged our longstanding excellent relationships with HBCUs to develop the partnership between the Client and multiple HBCUs. During the first two years, The Barthwell Group coordinated the implementation of the collaboration by ensuring regular communication among the partners. We also monitored the operation of a summer research program involving HBCU and the Client’s students in the STEM disciplines, and assisted in the development of faculty STEM research collaborations among the partners.

Finally, we ensured the sustainability of the collaboration and identified additional funding sources. The highly successful collaboration enabled more than 85 students to engage in intensive research experiences and resulted in 97% of the participants in its Summer Scholars Institute indicating that they will pursue graduate degrees in the STEM disciplines. Participation in the Summer Scholars Institute more than tripled, and the collaboration developed research relationships among the faculty of the partners.

Helping a Fortune 500 Company Build More Beneficial Relationships with HBCUs


Although a division of a Fortune 500 company had longstanding relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (“HBCUs”), these relationships were not yielding fruitful business relationships or resulting in an influx of diverse employees. The Client recognized that the relationships had been developed in an ad-hoc fashion as opposed to strategically.

The Barthwell Group Solution

The Barthwell Group determined the capabilities required by the Client to form productive partnerships with higher education institutions. Leveraging government legislation that classified HBCUs as small disadvantaged businesses, The Barthwell Group designed a program where the Client would place contracts with selected HBCUs in order to meet internal and external small business requirements and whereby its employees and high-quality minority students began to build relationships. After conducting a scan of 104 HBCUs, we developed comprehensive profiles of ten institutions which enabled the Client to see the depth, breadth, and alignment of the institutions’ capabilities with its requirements. In less than 30 days, we leveraged our longstanding relationships with HBCUs to enable the Client to issue contracts to the selected HBCUs. All projects were completed on time and within budget. All institutions have entered into a second round of contracts, and the Client has begun to recruit interns and employees through these relationships.

Helping a University Enhance Partnerships with Fortune 500 Companies


A high performing university, with demonstrated expertise in successfully managing and implementing large federal contracts, demanding cutting edge scientific research, wanted to enhance its partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations. The Client hoped that these partnerships would result in contracts, philanthropic gifts, and employment opportunities for its students.

The Barthwell Group Solution

The Barthwell Group assessed the capabilities of the Client to determine the optimal areas where synergistic relationships with corporations could be developed. Leveraging our databases and professional expertise, we conducted a scan to determine Fortune 500 corporations which had business and philanthropic interests aligned with the capabilities of the Client. We then developed in-depth analyses of five corporations. Through focus groups and independent research, we assisted the Client in developing effective messaging which would appeal to the corporations. We also developed specific follow-up plans to develop relationships with the corporations. Finally, we leveraged our networks to arrange meetings with the corporations and helped the Client develop effective strategies for these meetings (including materials).