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Why collaborate

written by Kate Crawford

For my parents, ‘collaboration’ was what traitors did when they worked for the enemy during World War 11.  However, since then the value of collaboration across traditional social boundaries has been recognised by researchers as an essential element of any innovation that can be integrated productively in society.  Collaborative skills such as building rapport, developing shared situational awareness, working in teams, exchanging knowledge, and sharing leadership according to the demands of the situation, are now highly valued in many complex, multistakeholder activities. Collaboration is an especially important unifying activity during the period of cultural, social, and economic transition that is affecting everyone at the beginning of the 21st century.

Three good reasons to collaborate are:

  • To build understanding and respect for new people with different knowledge and experience
  • To create new solutions with maximum support and lowered risk by learning together
  • To use and share the knowledge and experience of the whole group as a basis for an expanded awareness of the opportunities offered by any situation

Western civilization has developed a tremendously powerful and culturally integrated system to enable competitive skill development from our earliest schooling , through sport, and as the fundamental underpinning of career structures and business regulation.  This has worked well in the past.  However, many people are now needing to learn to work differently and with different people.

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