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Collaboration that Fulfils Hopes and Needs

Hazel Ashton writes: I’ve been thinking about New Year celebrations (Western and Chinese) and the hopes people express that this year will be a happy one.

In my doctoral research Local Place and its Co-construction in the Global Network Society, I noted that the majority of participants put a lot of store on hope, often hope against hope that somehow everything will turn out alright.

What we can and can’t control

I live in Christchurch, a city that is afflicted by extensive seismic activity (see The Christchurch Press). Not surprisingly, people living and working in the city hope 2012 will be more peaceful and less shaky than 2011. However, as much as we might hope the earth won’t move under our feet, we are coming to terms with the fact that the earth doesn’t take any account of our hopes. We have to surrender to the fact that there are some things, like earthquakes, that we can’t control.

However, we can often control our response to events like earthquakes, and in Christchurch, it was found that after the large quakes, many people came together to help and care for one another.

A democratically-created flash of hope

People also expressed hope that they could have some control of the future direction of the city and its rebuild, with hundreds of thousands participating in the city council’s “Have Your Say” process.

The popular vision that emerged was of Christchurch as a smart and sustainable city, a city within a garden (August 2011). Citizens rightly hoped their ideas would be taken seriously and implemented.

Hope in leaders and officials who can implement public’s vision

Since then, many media headlines and letters to the editor have been about a dysfunctional council and the need for politicians and officials to work as a team that collaborates with stakeholders and the public.

Leaders who learn to collaborate

Most people in leadership and administrative positions have been to university, however, while most learn technical competency and individual competition, very few learn how to  collaborate. (for discussion see Gronski and Pigg (2000) in Behavioural Scientist).

For realistic hope: collaboration must be a core competency

I think there’s a desperate need for holistic development – whole of city development – that communicates and relates the parts to the whole and the whole to the parts, theory to practice and practice to theory.

For instance, while there is a vision of Christchurch as a city within a garden, there is also a plan for bulldozers to flatten many of its wonderful gardens and established trees. There is communication with boys with toys about demolition, but not communication with those who know how to recognize, preserve and build on what Christchurch already has, and on which it can build realistic hope.

To conclude: There is a well-resourced industry which fosters individual and organizational public relations e.g. creating a favorable  image and communicating messages through the news media, but not an industry fostering best practice communication and collaboration, so people learn to work more effectively together.  I wonder why not? What do you think?

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Transdisciplinarity is described as a new form of learning and problem solving involving cooperation among different parts of society and academia in order to meet complex challenges of society. See summary of methodology on Village connections and a link to an article on The Potential of Transdisciplinarity by Helga Nowotny

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Hope – competent collaboration or hot air?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year hopes

I’ve been thinking about the New Year and the many hopes that are expressed each time with it. In my doctoral research Local Place and its Co-construction in the Global Network Society, I noted that many participants put a lot of store on hope, often hope against hope that somehow everything will turn out alright.

What we can and can’t control

I live in Christchurch, a city that is being afflicted by endemic seismic activity. Not surprisingly, people living and working in the city hope 2012 will be more peaceful and less shaky than 2011. However, as much as we might hope the earth won’t move under our feet, we are coming to terms with the fact that the earth doesn’t take any account of our hopes. We have to surrender to the fact that there are some things, like earthquakes, that we can’t control.

However, we can often control our response to events like earthquakes, and in Christchurch, it was found that after the large quakes, many people came together to help and care for one another.

Democratically created shared vision

People also came to express hope that they could have some control of the future direction of the city and its rebuild, with hundreds of thousands participating in the city council’s “Have Your Say” process.

[cf: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/5007096/Christchurchs-10-000-plus-ideas
Christchurch’s 10,000-plus ideas
DAVID WILLIAMS, SAM SACHDEVA AND PAUL GORMAN
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2011
More than 10,000 people have put forward their ideas for a reborn Christchurch, with Mayor Bob Parker saying “this is just the start”.
Cantabrians swamped the weekend’s Share an Idea expo to help recreate the earthquake-shattered city.
&
Share An Idea ends up with 106,000 ideas
July 22nd, 2011  HotWookie 244 views
Work is progressing well on the draft Central City Plan. We ended up with 106,000 ideas; these have all influenced the draft Plan.” @:
http://www.chcheqjournal.com/2011/share-idea-ends-106000-ideas/]
&

The vision that emerged of Christchurch as a smart and sustainable city that was “a garden within a garden” was hugely popular. Citizens rightly hoped their ideas would be taken seriously and implemented.
Hope in leaders and officials who will/can implement publics vision

Since then, media headlines and letters to the editor have been about dysfunctional council politicians and official, and the need for them to work as a team that collaborated with stakeholders and the public.

– leaders who learn to collaborate…

Most people in leadership positions have been to university, however, as Robert Gronski and Kenneth Pigg point out in their article in journal Behavioral Scientist 2000, what most learned there was about  technical competency and individual competition. Very few learn how to actually collaborate.

For realistic hope: collaboration a core competency

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of hearing people saying or implying how much better they are than others.  I think we need a communication process that favours collaboration, not competition and putting others down, a process that brings out the best of us, not the worst.

I’m also sick of people calling on others like those in the city council to collaborate without seeing collaboration as something that needs to be problematized and made into a core competency that has to be developed.

I think there’s a desperate need for holistic development (relating and communicating the parts to the whole and the whole to the parts, theory to practice and practice to theory).

For instance, while there is a vision of Christchurch city as a garden within a garden, there is also a plan for bulldozers to flatten wonderful gardens and established trees. The boys with toys know how to destroy, but not how to recognise, preserve and build on what we have that will facilitate the vision.

So to conclude my theme of hope, it is all very well to want competent collaboration while the core value that is expected and rewarded is individual competition.

However, unless collaboration is taught as a core competency,  my feeling is hope will turn to despair.

There appears to be an industry of personal individual communication, but not of how we can best communicate to do things well together.

Why not, I wonder? What do you think?

I’ve been thinking about the New Year and the many hopes for a prosperous future.

In my doctoral research Local Place and its Co-construction in the Global Network Society, I noted that many participants put a lot of store on hope, often hope against hope that somehow everything will turn out alright.

What we can and can’t control

I live in Christchurch, a city that is afflicted by extensive seismic activity. Not surprisingly, people living and working in the city hope 2012 will be more peaceful and less shaky than 2011. However, as much as we might hope the earth won’t move under our feet, we are coming to terms with the fact that the earth doesn’t take any account of our hopes. We have to surrender to the fact that there are some things, like earthquakes, that we can’t control.

However, we can often control our response to events like earthquakes, and in Christchurch, it was found that after the large quakes, many people came together to help and care for one another.

Democratically created shared vision

People also came to express hope that they could have some control of the future direction of the city and its rebuild, with hundreds of thousands participating in the city council’s “Have Your Say” process.

The vision that emerged of Christchurch as a smart and sustainable city that was “a garden within a garden” was hugely popular. Citizens rightly hoped their ideas would be taken seriously and implemented.

Hope in leaders and officials who can implement public’s vision

Since then, media headlines and letters to the editor have been about dysfunctional council politicians and officials and the need for them to work as a team that collaborated with stakeholders and the public.

Leaders who learn to collaborate

Most people in leadership positions have been to university, however, what most learn is technical competency and individual competition. Very few learn how to actually collaborate (for discussion see Gronski and Pigg (2000 in Behavioural Scientist).

For realistic hope: collaboration a core competency

I think there’s a desperate need for holistic development (relating and communicating the parts to the whole and the whole to the parts, theory to practice and practice to theory).

For instance, while there is a vision of Christchurch city as a garden within a garden, there is also a plan for bulldozers to flatten wonderful gardens and established trees. The boys with toys know how to destroy, but not how to recognise, preserve and build on what we have that will facilitate the Garden within a Garden vision.

So to conclude: it is all very well to hope for competent collaboration while the core value that is expected and rewarded is individual competition.  However, unless effective collaboration is taught as a core competency, my feeling is hope will turn to despair.

There appears to be an industry of personal individual communication, but not of how we can best communicate to do things well together. Why not, I wonder? What do you think?

 

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