Collaboration Ninja 忍者

Work-in-progress: please join in and share your insights

When the challenge is complex


“When studying the history of invention I find that inventions always involve many contributions and many ideas… very rarely is a successful service or product the result of one single idea. Especially today when the world is much more complex and the world is much more advanced.” –Keith Sawyer

Many concerned with the sustainability of our current society are awed by the complexity of our challenges. As sustainability practitioners and purveyors of a little bit of ‘good’ in the world, we need to be innovative when seeking solutions to these complex challenges and looking for new ways forward. Collaboration is a way to channel innovation. The more diverse the group, the more diverse the contributions, and in a complex world full of uncertainty, where the details of the challenges we face with regards to sustainability are unclear, we need to bring together different minds who see the system in different ways.

When we’re discussing collaboration and its benefits, we’re looking at a dramatically different way of considering knowledge processes- how does ingenuity happen? How do we work better, more effectively? And that’s where collaboration holds real potential….”because you get to tap into the innovative capacity of a much larger group of people than you ordinarily would…Collaboration really makes sense when you’ve got some aspect of something that you can’t do any cheaper or quicker: you need to do it differently and more innovatively and just get a broader range of people involved.” –Dan Munz of the Collaboration Project

Be warned collaboration takes time, it takes hard work, thoughtful design, and most of us were not taught in school many of the skills necessary for effective collaborations (Howard Rheingold). But as Sawyer and others have proven, it’s worth the pain.

“collectively we’re better than we would be if it was just one person because your leveraging the collective knowledge of everyone that is participating.” –Danielle Germaine of the Collaboration Project

return to when to collaborate

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