You need a partner that is resilient and not afraid to fail. Experimenting is key in machine learning and the tougher the problem, the more failed experiments will be needed. I can explore solutions for a long period of time until your resources run out, at each step providing a thoroughly documented list of failed solutions, their shortcomings and promising future directions. The priority will always be to improve, at each step.
You will want somebody with strong communication skills that can extract and communicate the essence of a problem. One key ingredient that I used when working with experts from healthcare, space, agriculture or heavy industry was my ability to learn their “language”. In this way I am able to understand their pain points and explain back potential solutions
Navigating the scientific literature requires a skeptic mind that can “read between the lines”. During my academic years I’ve read, written and scientifically reviewed many many papers. I still perform occasional scientific reviews so I am up to date with cutting edge research, before it reaches the public audience.