Cindy Romaine and I met at Nike when we both worked in the Design Resources Group. She, Kevin Carroll and I continue to connect and work together in the betterment of all we do, for and within the companies we work for. We recognize that the future is collaborative, and our ways of working reflects this. The outcome is greater and our success is greater as a result. Here are a few thoughts on the power of collaboration for our futures.
As we continue to experience a collaborative effect in competitive business, social innovation and cultural creativity, our interconnectivity will only become more robust.
Web 2.0 tools and powerful networks have accelerated collaboration and the availability of useful knowledge. Almost anyone can easily follow new ideas and like-minded people for little or no cost. Groups collaborate because the scope, scale, and interconnectivity of the problems that we are tackling are too big to face alone. Fundamentally, we collaborate because it is part of our nature as human beings. On the most primitive level, connections support our survival. We share information for the betterment of all.
Combining the need to collaborate and the power of Web 2.0 makes this a powerful trend. Both of us agree that a fundamental shift is in place, and only the most future ready will surf the wave.
In the realm of sustainability, collaboration offers us access to coordinated action. Darcy Winslow, principal of DSW Collaborative and one-time GM of Sustainability at Nike, powerfully states:
"What is it going to take to change the game for future generations?
Unprecedented leadership, unprecedented collaboration, innovation fearlessness, and a huge sense of urgency."
Darcy clearly points out that it’s no longer business as usual. In the 21st century, we need to get messy and we can’t afford turf wars. We need to agree to some big, hairy, audacious goals.
Here’s a case in point: Bill Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest people, presented his one wish—not his goal or his plan, but his wish—at this year’s TED conference. What is his wish? Innovating to zero carbon emissions. It’s a wish, because even with the considerable resources Mr. Gates commands, he cannot address the problem in isolation. Moving the needle on carbon emissions requires a highly coordinated collaboration of industry, government entities, NGOs, and individuals, each with very different motives. It should be exciting to watch.
The giving and getting culture is native to Generation G. They focus on generosity versus greed, and push open-source versus proprietary. Everyone is invited to be a part of this paradigm, this generation is inclusive and is not aged based.
Collaboration is empowering some interesting projects and generating some strange bed-fellows. Here are just a few examples:
· GreenXchange – is a marketplace for collaborating on intellectual property focused on sustainability. Superficially, it looks like members are giving away valuable and usually closely guarded corporate secrets, but information is deliberately shared in order to broaden access to sustainable processes by anyone, even competitors.
· The Collaboration Project – is an independent forum of leaders committed to leveraging the interactive web and the benefits of collaborative technology to solve government's complex problems. Powered by the National Academy of Public Administration, this "wikified" space is designed to share ideas on the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in the field of public governance.
· Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy – this non-profit organization brings together international expertise and technologies with the goal of accelerating the use of clean, efficient energy in China. Their aim is to create visible change within 10 years.
· Youth are working within this paradigm. They are moving from hipster to helpster with incredible sites and projects such as:
o Jerri Chou (see our blog on her)
o ChangeConnections.com and ideation platform by The Feast Conference in collaboration with Nokia
· GlobalReporting.org – Mike Wallace, an associate from the west coast who moved to Amsterdam, is working with a group to unify the global standard messaging around what we mean by a financial eco bottom line. Take a look at these links:
o GRI Reporting Trends Presentations which includes the latest statistics
o GRI spreadsheets for 1300+ reporting organizations
So please, share your stories. We’d like to hear about your collaborative efforts. How are you coordinating action? Did you create a shared vision first? Are you taking advantage of social networking tools? Do tell.
Of course, we collaborated to produce this blog post.