Here is an interesting article on collaboration: (http://bit.ly/rYOKn9). It's point is to make a distinction about the definition and nature of collaboration and that it isn't what most people think it is.
Co-ignite's definition of collaboration is: "A conscious awareness of the way we are working together that supports balancing our individual needs with the needs of the group as a whole." It isn't consensus, although consensus may be used sometimes where appropriate as a decision making style. It is more about the quality and depth of engagement that leads to discussion about how we are working together so we get the most out of it.
Is there alignment between these two descriptions of collaboration? I do sense some alignment, but I am currently not sure. What do you think? Leave a comment and share your views.
It’s useful to know the game we’re playing, and the rules that govern play. Sometimes we can be playing several games with the same people at the same time. We may be winning at one game, but we're losing at a more important one.
I remember being in a pick-up basketball game in high school, and having a good time, until I got an elbow hit to the nose. I had to walk around with a bandage over it for the next couple of months. I was surprised to discover an unanticipated benefit, though. The school’s star quarterback had gotten his nose broken about the same time, and suddenly girls started to notice me, probably thinking I was him, or at least associating my injury with his.
I wouldn’t want to get my nose broken again, though, just to get girls’ attention. But looking back at the incident, I had been a problematic opposing player, and the elbow to my nose had taken me out of the game, and out of the way.
So there were two games going on--competitive basketball between two teams was one. Getting rid of problematic opposing players was another game. This wasn’t part of the rules of the first game, though winning at the second game improved the first game for their side. Becoming attractive to the opposite sex was a third, mostly unspoken game, at which I had a painful but lucky break.
I ran into the following video last night in my reading. It appears that others are also thinking about changing some of the traditional assumptions about learning and learning institutions. For that, I cheer as I have long held the observation that traditional education, while having served us well for hundreds of years, is in need of an overhaul.
I would want to caution, however, against the idea of completely learning on your own. I am not sure yet exactly how the author, Anya Kamenetz, visualizes the future of education as I haven't yet purchased and read her book. But I do strongly feel that mentoring and coaching needs to be part of a good strong learning path.
There is a famous model called the Johari Window. Which makes the point that in order to grow, you need to reveal to yourself your hidden "blind spots." These are things about yourself that you cannot see. Everyone has blind spots and everyone can benefit in their growth by revealing them. Many professional organizations have peer reviewed aspects of their learning to deal with this. A Do It Yourself University hopefully will be no different.
This is why Co-ignite uses coaches and mentors in the learning programs. We help guide a purpose driven learning program that is designed and owned by the learner but guided by a mentor. This is what Co-ignite sees as the future of learning and education.
What if we were to all come together to make our own unique contribution on projects that are deeply meaningful to us? What would that look like? Well, perhaps Eric Whitacre gives us a rare example of how it can be done – beautifully. You need to see this video from TED. Go ahead, click the link. I will wait for you right here. When you are done, come back here so I can share with you what I see as significant that can be applied in our workplaces and in our non-profit organizations.
What I see in this video is that each person wanted to be part of something bigger than themselves. They chose by themselves to participate and brought their own voice to the larger group. Each individual voice is small when listened to alone but, when blended together, creates this wonderful richness that is impossible unless all these people came together.
It also takes a conductor to organize the tasks so that it is easy for each person to participate. They make room in the music for the variety of voices out there and construct a way to put them all together to achieve a clear, compelling, and meaningful goal. Here is the kind of result that is possible.
What if you had never heard a choir before? You wouldn’t know the beauty that is possible by coming together and blending each person’s contribution. Our workplaces are the same.