How Important Is…?
Participants often report that before a collaboration begins, they do not take the time to think and articulate intended outcomes for the collaboration—it “just happens.” In addition, when individuals and organizations are in alignment with collaborators, the inherent obstacles to collaborative work are not as challenging. Put another way, obstacles do not get in the way if collaborators are working together towards larger shared goals. This activity is an opportunity for collaborators to explore, individually and together, the intended outcomes for collaboration, and how these outcomes may impact the larger world.
Rank order the following statements in terms of their relative importance to the work of the collaboration. Use the following scale 1-4.
4- Most important (use this just ONCE in your ranking)
3- Very important
1- Not important
____ Enjoying individuals involved with the collaboration on an interpersonal level
____ Enjoying the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals
____ Being challenged to think further about the topic at-hand
____ Intellectual challenge
____ Gaining recognition for the work by others in the field
____ Contributing scholarly knowledge to the academy
____ Creating and growing something new for your organization or company
____ Providing salaries and income for those with whom you work
____ Opportunity for future funding, additional funding sources
____ Developing a personal understanding of a “problem space” and working towards strategies about how to “fix” the problem
____ Improving operations and systems in the field (e.g. how to consolidate schools that are not performing, how to assess teachers, etc.)
____ Improvements for the “clients,” or audience (e.g. students, teachers, administrators; creating programs that will help kids learn to read, etc.)
____ Foster connections, future partnerships and lasting relationships between you and others who are working in the same domain
____ Publishing a paper, article, book that will be read and cited by many individuals
____ Opportunity to integrate different perspectives in the field to address a specific problem or need; opportunity to be creative
____ Knowledge about how collaborations work; how to work with others; gaining new skills
____ Inspirational ideas from others involved in the collaboration (ideas may or may not directly relate to the particular collaboration at-hand)
____ Development of tools, materials, or measures that people in the field can use to improve their own work
Each of the above statements is a potential outcome of a collaboration—results can impact a variety of individuals and audiences, including:
-The self (a particular person involved with the collaboration)
-Field or Domain
Using the above four categories, place each of the potential outcomes under one of these headings. Certainly, any one of the above statements may have impact in more than one area. For example, publishing an article may be impactful for the self, but may also impact an organization, the field, or society. In your categorization, choose the PRIMARY level of impact of each statement.
Look at your ranking of these statements and review the categories in which they fall. Consider the following questions:
1. Which category contains your ranking of “Most Important”?
2. Which category contains your ranking of “Not Important”?
3. Are there any notable patterns of how you ranked these statements according to the categories in which they are placed?
4. Talk with others about these “findings,” within your own organization and with potential collaborators.