Recently, I came across Sandbox Collaborative, which is housed at Southern New Hampshire University. The organization’s goal is to reimagine higher education, approaching this goal with an expertise in disruptive innovation and collaboration.
What I find most intriguing about Sandbox is that it operates within and is supported by the university. It is a self-described “internal consultancy and incubator of new and alternative business models of higher education….” This approach is a unique example of intra-collaboration and innovation embedded in the university.
As we at SOCHE embarks upon our 50th anniversary as a higher ed collaborative, we think intra-collaboration will become an increasingly important model and strategy for higher education to navigate its disruption. Hence, we have reached out to Michelle Weise, Executive Director of Sandbox, to join us for a future conference.
As we kick off 2017, I am delighted to see Heidi Gardner’s book Smart Collaboration has entered the marketplace (and my iPad). The book claims to show “firms earn higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty, attract and retain the best talent, and gain a competitive edge when specialists collaborate across functional boundaries.”
While Gardner’s book appears to have a bent toward professional service firms (e.g. legal), I’m looking forward to reading this deeply researched effort to discuss the importance of collaboration. Optimistically, I anticipate finding examples of collaboration that may serve as models for higher education, as well as the public sector. And, undoubtedly, I am thinking this book will shed light on existing gaps in the research and, consequently, perpetuate scholars-practitioners to wrestle further with the study of collaborative enterprise across all sectors.
Please look forward to a more thorough review of Smart Collaboration to come. Until then, happy collaborating to all in 2017!
SOCHE launched a new program thanks to a partnership with the Denver-based company Innovative Educators. SOCHE Education on Demand provides our members access to more than 100 professional development training courses, as well as access to unlimited live webinars.
We teamed up with Innovative Educators due to their expertise in providing online training for educators and the breadth of programming available for faculty, administrators, and staff. More so, their live webinars cover the most pressing topics in higher education that address:
- At Risk Populations
- Campus Safety
- Organizational Development
- Student Success
- Teaching and Learning
This is a wonderful partnership for learning for faculty and staff at SOCHE member institutions!
Usually, I will read a book before posting about it. Well, not so in this case because the book has been vetted by Gwyneth Paltrow already. You can read an interview with one of the authors, Lloyd Fickett, of The Collaborative Way on Gwyneth’s lifestyle website goop. Then, let’s read the book, or what appears to be a succinct manual for collaboration, management, and leadership.
p.s. Thank you Leslee Creighton for sharing this interview with me!
No matter where I go, collaboration is on my mind. Recently, I attended the ILA Board Retreat in Atlanta (site for the 2016 ILA Global Conference), and had the privilege of participating in the Global Mindset Inventory thanks to Dr. Mansour Javidan (a colleague on the ILA board). Developed by the Global Mindset Institute, this assessment tool helps “determine a global leader’s ability to better influence individuals, groups and organizations unlike themselves.”
I left Atlanta wondering how cool it would be to develop the Collaboration Mindset Inventory, which would help “determine a leader’s ability to better influence individuals and groups and organizations through collaboration.”
Like the GMI, the CMI would measure collaborative thinking in the areas of intellectual, psychological, and social capital. The assessment would result in a map of a leader’s current thinking, as well as suggestions for personal and professional development.
What next? I’m going to continue to bug Mansour about the GMI and what we can learn from it that would transfer to the CMI. As well, we will find out what else is already out there in terms of collaboration assessment (SOCHE is neighbors with the Chally Group 🙂
G’day, I came across this Australian organization, Collaboration for Impact, which “helps communities work better together to tackle their toughest problems.” Their website is a great resource for practitioners and scholars interested in collaboration, collective impact, blogs, events, and other relevant and current information on collaborative thinking.
And, if you happen to be in Melbourne this May, check out their annual conference.
In honor of March Madness, here is a good post on Collaboration Lessons from the Basketball Court by Beth Tenar at New Directions Collaborative. Go Flyers!
Whenever I talk about SOCHE, people are repeatedly fascinated that an organization exists to purposely facilitate, find, and forge collaboration. Whether I’m at TED Global, Harvard Kennedy School, Valencia College, riding the Metro, or striking up a conversation in the local supermarket, people recognize that collaboration is the critical ingredient missing in many different settings. At a recent event, it was noted that academic silos serve as the antithesis to collaborative thinking. For good reason, the silo structure and culture was created to engender deep, focused research and scholarship. However, a closed system as such can evolve only so far before it becomes desperate for change or, worse off, headed down a path of exhaustion. As much as higher education has improved efforts in campus-community partnerships, where can you find on campus the nucleus for intra-collaboration, the resourced collaborative infrastructure (CI) that facilitates, finds, and forges collaboration internally? It seems too obvious that each campus needs a SOCHElike office, embedded within the campus operation to ensure academia is truly a learning system that evolves itself beyond its origin of silos.
Synergy is a key indicator for measuring effective and ineffective collaboration. This indicator emerged in my research that contributed to the scholarship on community partners. The research deepened our understanding of what community partners look for and expect in successful civic partnerships with higher education. The “effective” and “ineffective” descriptors provide helpful, measurable criteria to keep in mind when establishing, monitoring, and evaluating a collaborative partnership.
- Acknowledges that both partners are better off working together than separately, creating a mutuality that results in higher productivity and progress toward desired outcomes
- Recognizes the community partner adds value to student education by providing practical experience and that students receive real-world lessons in servant leadership
- Demonstrates that faculty gain more experience in the areas of practice and direct service
- Creates feeling of pleasure from collaboration
- Produces happiness with results of the partnership
- Believes parties’ constituencies mutually benefit from the relationship
- Permits patronizing attitude toward community partner on the part of faculty and administrators
- Exhibits academic arrogance on part of tenured faculty who are disconnected from direct-service providers
- Views practice as inferior to theory
- Places students in the awkward situation of brokering the relationship between faculty and community partner, making them the glue that holds the partnership together
Many other descriptors could be added to this initial list, but it does give us a place to start when entering into collaboration. The full list of indicators can be found at Community Partners Indicators of Engagement: An Action Research Study on Campus-Community Partnership.