Taking Stock of the Collaboration: Reflecting on the Four Dimensions
This activity helps participants explore how the four relevant dimensions (culture, external resources, communication, and the individual players) are unfolding in the collaboration. Through discussion of the dimensions, collaborators will reflect on the progress of the collaboration as well as identify goals for future work.
Dimensions of Collaboration (to review): For each collaboration there are four main “relevant dimensions” to successful collaboration.
1. Culture: the context of the particular organizations involved in the collaboration.
2. External Resources: the people, funding, and other outside sources that can be brought to a collaboration.
3. Communication: the approaches and structures people in a collaboration use to communicate.
4. Individual Players: the personal characteristics of individuals involved in a collaboration.
Think together about these dimensions and talk about the definitions of each for your shared work. Describe how each dimension is currently unfolding in your collaboration. Some guiding questions are included to begin the conversation.
How have the particular cultures of the participating groups involved in the collaboration influenced the process of collaboration? The organizational structure? Are there additional cultural issues that impact the collaborative process (for example, school culture, museum culture)?
What are the external resources brought to this collaboration? Consider individuals, funding, other material resources, physical space, issues of time management. Who contributes what to the collaboration, and are the understandings about these resources always clear? Have the resources change over time?
Describe the process of communication during this collaboration. Does communication work well during the project? Should you or your colleagues formalize or make less formal the process of communication? Why or why not?
Consider the individuals involved in the collaboration. Are there particular traits or qualities that you might point to that make the process run smoothly or pose particular challenges? Are there attributes that you and others might learn from and either emulate or avoid in the future?
Follow Up Questions
1. Which of these dimensions offer the most support during the collaboration?
2. Are any of these dimensions particularly difficult for you and your colleagues?
3. What do you propose in order for all of these dimensions to operate as efficiently as possible? What can be avoided or changed?