PART 2: Dimensions of The Collaboratory


The collaboratory consists of many dimensions and a series of aspects to be considered, respected and taken into account.

  • Enabling a collaborative journey
  • Facilitating a collaborative approach
  • Creating collaboratories in society
  • Inviting stakeholders to engage
  • Creating and holding a space – learning circles
  • Whole person learning
  • Building cooperative capacity for generative action: Appreciate Inquiry
  • Stepping into the emerging future – principles of Theory U
  • Transformative scenario planning – a new way to work with the future

Part 2 of our book attempts to cover a few of these by discussing the importance of first understanding the big picture of the collaborative journey (chapter 5) and how to facilitate a collaborative approach (chapter 6). The founders of Valueweb who facilitate thousands of co-creative sessions around the world in many languages and context beautifully describe important considerations. From there, we shift to understand how to go about creating collaboratories in societies (chapter 7), we owe these to decades of such work in the various initiatives around the Society for Organizational Learning (SOL). Experience has shown that the initial invitation is critical to the long-term success: e.g. knowing who is the “caller” of the initiative and how to invite relevant stakeholders to engage with the process (chapter 8). We owe these lessons to insights developed by the Art of Hosting movement.

Once these dimensions are clarified and the setting is clear, it is time to prepare the event. Creating and holding a space (chapter 9) is most likely the most forgotten and ignored element of any such endeavors and is beautiful understood and lived in aboriginal cultures (we feature here the 50’000 year old tradition of the Gumbaynggirr people in Australia). Understanding that creating change is about involving the whole person beyond simply the intellect is addressed in chapter 10. Appreciative Inquiry unveils how to build cooperative capacity for generative action (chapter 11).

Of particular importance is the way a true collaboratory session embraces the group consciousness (as defined by the Foundation for Community Encouragement – see also chapter 18, a telling example of community building in practice) and through it invites the future to emerge. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U (chapter 12) is an outstanding process to enable a community to go beyond simple conversations to together reach out for solutions that no discussion could ever bring forth. Chapter 13 shares important insights of Transformative Scenario Planning closing the circle back to where we started in chapter 5.

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