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The Collaboratory

A Co-creative Stakeholder Engagement Process for Solving Complex Problems

Edited by Katrin Muff

The introduction is free to download here.

This book is about empowering ordinary people to make a difference in the world. It explores the transformation that emerges when groups spread around the world working on similar issues discover synchronicities, often cross-pollinating, and collaborate rather than compete. A Collaboratory is a facilitated space where stakeholders meet to discuss burning societal issues. Each collaboratory is different and needs to be carefully designed to fit the context, ambition, purpose, stakeholders, culture, and space.

Part 1 of the book sets the stage by explaining what a collaboratory is, where it emerges from, how it is defined and how it fits into the larger context of the social lab revolution that is happening all over the world.

Part 2 of the book unpacks the many dimensions and considerations that contribute to the magic of a collaboratory experience. We offer nine unique insights and perspectives that need to be considered and form an integral part of a successful collaboratory.

Part 3 offers eight inspiring examples of how a collaboratory could be applied. We look at applications in the educational field, within organizations, among institutions, and as movements.

Part 4 offers a pragmatic outlook on how to get started if you want to use the Collaboratory in your own field of work. The book offers a narrative roadmap using a real-life example of a co-designed and co-created Collaboratory in Norway.

Offering practical recommendations and benefits, and bringing together insights from a range of experienced academics, practitioners and facilitators, The Collaboratory is a handbook for experienced or aspiring practitioners in all fields of change: in society, in organizations of all kind and in the field of education.

More and more people today recognize that the problems we face will require an order-of-magnitude increase in our capacity to collaborate ... I fear the gap between rhetoric and reality will sink this ship before if ever gets out of port - unless the emerging insights from master practitioners like those in The Collaboratory spread quickly.

SHORT VERSION Peter Senge, MIT and the Society for Organizational Learning

Collaboration and Co-creation are needed NOW; this book provides the practical tools for making change happen

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Director, One Planet Leaders, WWF International

More and more people today recognize that the problems we face will require an order-of-magnitude increase in our capacity to collaborate across all manner of institutional, national, sectoral, and cultural borders. But I fear the gap between rhetoric and reality will sink this ship before if ever gets out of port - unless the emerging insights from master practitioners like those in The Collaboratory spread quickly. 

 

FULL VERSION Peter Senge, MIT and the Society for Organizational Learning

Every few years a new technology energizes the field of planned change. The Collaboratory is the latest example. Every change agent needs to read this book.

 

Robert E. Quinn, Margaret Elliott Tracy Collegiate Professor in Business Administration & Professor of Management and Organizations, University of Michigan

We are engaged in transforming a whole organization from the traditional top-down approach to peer-based collaborative working. We are discovering that this is unlocking people's ability to think, act, and be more globally responsible leaders, at deeper levels of our business. The Collaboratory contributions highlight key concepts, particularly the Whole Person approach which is at the heart of our powerful transformation.

Mary Godfrey, Director of Change and Performance at Bettys and Taylors Group

We know there are no universal recipes, and no ready-made expert solutions for the unprecedented tangle of issues and tensions that face us both locally and globally. But the power and emergence that arises from collaboration and co-creation is rich, real and ready to work. This book is an inspiring invitation and guide to be part of this worldwide movement for positive change.

on 22 Apr 2014 Professor Stephen Sterling, Centre for Sustainable Futures, Plymouth University, UK

This book shows how organizing can be fun, practical, and transformative. Are you tired of trying to improve things but ending up with the same old boring processes? Then stop, and create a Collaboratory: here you find personal narratives that take the reader alongside wonderfully inventive and sensitive social innovators who combine a rare mix of practical step-by-step guidance with profound theory that touches heart and soul. Keep this book beside you, and give it to your boss!

Jonathan Gosling, Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter Business School

Leaders of the future will need to have an intrinsic understanding instead of how networks operate and how to collaborate and build coalitions of the willing. For all these leaders, this book provides an invaluable roadmap. It demystifies the process of collaboration and shows how - through a structured approach - it can become firmly embedded in any organization. Refreshingly, however, it also recognizes that this is an art not a science ... I commend this book on the basis of proven experience of Unilever's "Sustainable Living Lab" - an open but structured online forum in which to collect ideas, share good practice, discuss possible partnerships, and ultimately co-create solutions to the many challenges Unilever faces. Guided by the ideas and suggestions in The Collaboratory, we can now take it to another level.

Paul Polman [from the Foreword]

Foreword

Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever

Introduction

Part 1: The collaboratory idea 

1. Defining the collaboratory 
Katrin Muff 

2. The 50+20 origin of the collaboratory 
Katrin Muff, Thomas Dyllick, Mark Drewell, John North, Paul Shrivastava, and Jonas Haertle 

3. The social lab revolution 
Zaid Hassan 

4. The collaboratory methodology at the Rio+20 conference 
Katrin Muff

Part 2: The many dimensions of the collaboratory

5. Enabling the transformative journey: the DesignShop 
Bill Burck 

6. Facilitating a collaborative space 
Bill Burck, Svenja Rüger, Patrick Frick, Aaron Williamson, and Grégoire Serikoff

7. Creating collaboratories in society 
Zaid Hassan 

8. Inviting stakeholders to engage
Caroline Rennie 

9. Creating and holding a space: learning circles 
Janette Blainey 

10. Whole person learning 
Claire Maxwell 

11. Building cooperative capacity for generative action: Appreciative Inquiry 
Ronald Fry 

12. Stepping into the emerging future: principles of Theory U 
Otto Scharmer 

13. Transformative scenario planning: a new way to work with the future 
Adam Kahane

Part 3: Examples of the collaboratory

14. The collaboratory in the classroom: Bentley University 
Anthony Buono 

15. Students leading collaboratories: University of St.Gallen 
Thomas Dyllick and Katrin Muff 

16. Creating connection, conversations, and courage: the Exeter collaboratory 
Jackie Bagnall and Stephen Hickman 

17. Transforming an organization: participatory leadership and the Art of Hosting 
Caroline Rennie 

18. Regional organizational change: community-building in action 
Philip Mirvis 

19. Transforming collaborative institutions: Australian business schools 
Eddie Blass and Peter Hayward 

20. Long-term stakeholder engagement: Initiatives of Change in Caux 
Louie Gardiner 

21.A meta-collaboratory: the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative 
John North and Anders Aspling

Part 4: How to get started

22. Designing a collaboratory: a narrative roadmap 
Katrin Muff 

23. Differences from other facilitation approaches 
Eddie Blass and Peter Hayward 

24. Concluding summary 
Katrin Muff

Bibliography

About the authors

KATRIN MUFF is Dean of Business School Lausanne. She is committed to transforming business education to serve the world (Project 50+20).

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