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  • Writer's pictureSidekick

4 Takeaways from Workshop Participants on the Impact of Future-Proofing through Partnerships

While our team has had some time to reminisce and look back on the incredible thought leaders we heard from and connections we made at SponsorshipX last month, we would be remiss not to reflect on Sidekick’s own workshop on Future-Proofing Your Business through Authentic Partnerships.

Through a hands-on session introducing the concept of future-proofing and its importance, participants had the opportunity to hear about Sidekick’s Entrepreneurial Design framework and how it can be applied to partnerships, topped off with a shared case study on the Toronto International Film Festival (to read more about TIFF’s approach and philosophy on partnerships, click here).


Here are 4 takeaways participants gained from Sidekick’s future-proofing workshops and how they apply to building authentic partnerships:

We can never underestimate the power of partnership and joint planning as brands, as agencies, as partners. We can uncover incredible opportunity if we are focused on what’s essential, when we leverage multiple vantage points and walk away with clarity and purpose to forge ahead with strength and build momentum.”
– Vanessa Toperczer, Sr Vice President, IMI International

The value of bringing diverse perspectives to the table and leaning on each other’s strengths can uncover powerful opportunities and impacts. Integral to this process is staying anchored to your purpose, and using that North Star to keep brands and their partners aligned, especially when faced with divergent needs and challenges. Staying aligned on what problem you’re collectively solving for, and what mission you’re committed to delivering on, will help organizations and their partners anticipate and adapt to forces that may lie ahead.

“The future is now. We can’t limit our thinking to just the partners that exist today. We need to open people’s minds to trends that are shaping the future to truly find those unlikely partners who might propel brands into new audiences.”
– Ishita Chadha, Manager, Marketing – Golf, Lightspeed HQ

Future-proofing allows us to canvas our environment not only for threats that we need to mitigate risk from, but also opportunities that may present themselves. It’s an intentional practice that requires ongoing focus and thought, and it’s up to us as leaders to foster environments in which we openly consider and reimagine what might help or hinder us, to stay ahead of the game. Finding and collaborating with partners who can uniquely strengthen your value proposition beyond the obvious can not only help diversify revenue, but also unlock new and emerging areas of opportunity to drive ROI.

“There’s tremendous importance in securing partners with a common purpose. Organizations who believe in our vision and mission and have team members who have shared values and passion will be significantly easier to secure as a partner, deliver value to, and retain or renew year over year. As a non-profit with limited resources, it is incredibly important we are working with our partners towards achieving common goals and objectives.”
– Jon Malton, Director of Partnerships, ParticipACTION

Working with partners who are truly invested in your purpose and believe in the same shared values is critical to building outcomes that will drive impact for both parties. Understanding your product-market fit, what you uniquely do better than anyone else, and finding partners from which you can mutually create shared equity can help fuel new and authentic connections with audiences. Embracing partners as part of your team will also build a trusted relationship that will make working with each other easier. Establish at the onset the way you’ll work with each other that works best for you as partners, and set the shared goals you’re committed to achieve, and can hold yourselves accountable to.


“The entrepreneurial design model spoke to me from an ESG perspective. Every successful business has a balance of purpose, passion, profit and people. It will be something I consider when looking at businesses going forward.”
– Naveed Tagari, Strategic Programs & Partnerships Lead, DMZ

Great strategy requires a dynamic, evergreen and holistic approach to thinking about your business including the habit of keeping a pulse on your KPIs and ensuring financial stability. While we at Sidekick don’t have a crystal ball to predict what may happen in the future, we hold strong to our belief that every successful business, at any stage, relies on the balance of purpose, passion, profit, and people. These 4Ps should be continuously considered by leaders in preparing for, and considering what might impact your organization today, and in the future.


We want to extend a thank you to our partners at SponsorshipX for giving us the opportunity to facilitate this workshop, and for delivering a platform that gave our community the chance to connect and learn from remarkable thought leaders through some truly unforgettable experiences. We can’t wait for the next one!


If you attended SponsorshipX, what were some of your key learnings and takeaways? What does future-proofing mean to you and your organization? Let us know in the comments!

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