Collaboration R UsNovember 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Recently I was asked for a quote about the messiness of collaboration. In response to the request, I noted that because at IISC we are “Collaboration R Us” we tend not to think about the messiness of collaboration (though we do view messiness as part of any emergent and creative process). Rather we focus on the elegant design and facilitation that will ensure success. The quote that I submitted is the following:
“Collaboration takes more than well-meaning people with good intentions coming together to determine a set of outcomes. Successful collaboration requires solid process design and skillful facilitation. This is what builds the scaffolding for multiple and diverse stakeholders to create a shared vision of impact, agreement on goals and strategies for achieving that impact and a plan for collective action. The process itself is what catalyzes the critical shift of mind and heart from believing that the right answers and expertise are held by a few to an understanding that it is the collective wisdom of the group that determines right action and greater impact.”
It’s too long and it will be edited but you get the point.
In order to build the scaffolding for collaboration we offer a very simple and powerful meta-frame called Pathway to Action. It makes explicit and visual the literal pathway that will bring a shared vision to action. IISC has laid this process out in fine detail in a training titled Pathway to Change.
I invite all well meaning and good intentioned people struggling through a current collaborative effort, or about to embark on one, to think about the Pathway as their “road map.” Understand that this is both an iterative and a repetitive process and that it provides the handrails for multiple stakeholders to think strategically, innovate and plan for their collective action.
What is now even more powerful is that through the use of Web 2.0 tools that connect people rather than information (explained here in five minutes), networks engaged in the Pathway to Change can be woven together in new ways that go beyond face-to-face meetings and convenings (though the need for those remains essential).
These frameworks and tools among others combine to make possible (in my mind at least) the building of movements in this century that like their ancestors will move history forward on the arc toward justice.