Reflecting on Dimensions and Outcomes for Collaborative Success
In this activity, participants explore a working model that outlines dimensions and outcomes for collaborative success.
Dimensions of Collaboration: This model describes four dimensions of collaboration, each of which characterizes a particular collaborative experience. For each collaboration there are four main “relevant dimensions” to a successful collaborative process.
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. Upon reflection, describe how each dimension unfolded during your collaboration. Some guiding questions are included to begin the conversation.
What are the particular cultures of the participating groups involved in the collaboration? Are there differences in organizational structure? Differences of language or understanding? 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 contributed what to the collaboration, and were the understandings about these resources always clear? Did the resources change over time?
How was the process of communication established during this collaboration? Did communication work well during the project? Upon reflection, would 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 made the process run smoothly or posed 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 offered the most support during the collaboration?
2. Were any of these dimensions particularly difficult for you and your colleagues?
3. Next time, what would you propose in order for all of these dimensions to operate as efficiently as possible? What could have been avoided or changed?
Outcomes of Collaboration
“Intended Outcomes” also define a collaboration. Intended outcomes are the desired results of the collaboration that impact the individual, the organization, the field, and society.
Consider the impact or potential impact of the work that resulted from your collaboration. In which category or categories can it best be placed?
1. The Self: the work has had impact or there is potential impact on you personally.
2. Organization/Company: the work has had impact or there is potential impact on the organizations involved in the collaboration.
3. Field/Domain: the work has had impact or there is potential impact on the field.
4. Society: the work has had impact or there is potential impact on the wider world.
Follow Up Questions
1. Are you satisfied with the category or categories that best represent your outcomes?
2. Did you hope for something different?
3. What might you change to arrive at a different result?
4. If you are pleased with the result, how did you achieve this success?
Dimensions and Outcomes Considered Together
Consider the four dimensions of collaboration in conjunction with the outcomes of your collaborative work.
1. Think of each dimension with respect to “intended outcomes.” For example, how do the cultures of the organizations involved have impact on the self, organization, field, and society?
2. What is the main outcome of your collaboration? Where is its greatest impact? What do the various dimensions of collaboration tell you about the process involved in achieving this outcome?