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 collaboration, innovation fearlessness, and a huge sense of
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:
– 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
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.
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:
Jerri Chou (see
our blog on her)
and ideation platform by The Feast Conference in collaboration with Nokia
– 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:
GRI Reporting Trends
Presentations which includes the latest statistics
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.