Collaboration: Essential Ingredient for Resilience

A new insight emerged – as it usually does – in a conversation between friends.

Bob has been a long time sparring partner for me and so when I was reflecting on a year’s project of co-creating and activating a new collaboration model within our Hub, it was Bob I turned to for his usual provocative questions that tend to elicit a deepening of seeing patterns. It was a particular conversation with Bob that I invited my colleague Alycia of Instigation into that gave rise to an article titled Collaboration: The Courage to Step into a Meaningful Mess. You can read it here; it was just released in the last Berkana Institute newsletter.

However, beyond what we share in this article, I have some (fairly raw) thoughts on how collaboration is an essential ingredient for Resilient Communities, what this site is all about 🙂  First of all, with a lot of work in multi-stakeholder situations, I have come to see the importance of relationship for systems change – many people believe that it is the policies & structures that will shift an unhealthy system into a better state, but not without healthy relationships. So, in the act of collaborating and building true relationship – not just superficially working together at the same roundtable – resilience-as-social-glue enters into the system. Something that helps people stay together through the work they need to do. Secondly, and building on that, collaboration builds social capital. By collaborating, we are investing into each other and into something that is joint. By collaborating, we are learning to work with each other as equals, and thus re-investing into our capacity to keep doing that more fluently. This in-builds resilience into a community, a community that wants to continue to be together. Thirdly, collaboration contributes to a transfer of skills and capacities between people working together, or at least an awareness of other skills and perspectives. The more opportunities for learning more, and making more available to each other, the more a collaboration of a few people around a shared goal has the potential to truly become a community over time based on shared experience. The more a community knows about itself and the multitude of talents within it that it can draw on, the more agile and resilient it is in the face of any challenges that might come its way… and/or to take a stand for co-creating the new…

Thanks Bob!

– Tatiana Glad, Engage! InterAct / Hub Amsterdam / Waterlution

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We’re all in this together. Most of us know that our own ideas are only part of what’s needed to move forward.  Sometimes we grudgingly admit that the perspective of another has value. From time to time we remember that unless it works for all of us, it doesn’t really work for any of us.

AND, it is challenging to bring people with different perspectives, experience, values and beliefs into the same room and have more than rhetoric, stoney silence, posturing and mind-numbing arguments.

Communities have diverse, knowledge, resources and capacities. When we bring the people together across difference to share stories and experiences, successes and failures, magic happens. We help people in place-based communities, groups tackling particular issues, businesses and organizations get real with each other, respecting each other enough to share their experiences and their truths without blame or judgement.

We know that most people just want a good life for themselves, their families and friends. Unfortunately, we’re in a time when the knee-jerk reaction is to find someone else to blame for our problems. We’re quick to “other” people and make up stories about those with a different viewpoint. Time to stop that. Time to slow down and listen for a change. We can help.