As many of my friends know, I am a big advocate of collaboration and believe that the only way we humans can transcend our immaturity as a species and grow up collectively is through collaboration. I do not mean by trivial cooperative acts like sharing knowledge with one another or being part of communities together but rather a more radical approach closer to true partnership.
The term “radical collaboration” occurred to me recently and I was surprised to learn that the first two definitions of the word “radical” were not what I expected. I thought the definition would be “extreme” which turns out to be the third ranked definition according to Merriam-Webster. Preferred definitions of “radical” include “proceeding from a root” or “relating to the origin” or “fundamental.”
So “radical collaboration” would mean real collaboration, not “faux collaboration” as we see so frequently among government agencies, companies and firms who profess to be in collaborative alliances with one another.
I recently met a man who appears to be part of a true collaboration. His name is Michael Noble and he is the Executive Director of Fresh Energy, one of 150 organizations that have formed a network they have named RE-AMP. An active network of 144 nonprofits and several foundations across eight Midwestern states, the RE-AMP network is working in concert to reduce global warming and pollution in its eight-state region by 80% before 2050.
The RE-AMP motto is ”Think Systemically, Act Collaboratively”
Member organizations of RE-AMP elect a steering committee, which guides policy formation, fundraising, and evaluation of the system as a whole. All leadership and administration for RE-AMP is provided by employees of member organizations so there is no RE-AMP staff and, hence, any bureaucracy.
Another effort to generate more spontaneous collaboration is the Global Collaborators’ Alliance (GCA), a network of over 125 people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds, professions and locations who have two things in common:
1. they think in terms of large scale transformation and
2. they are committed to and in action making the world a better place.
If you know of someone you would like to nominate to become a GCA Fellow, let me know.
Constructive comments on the topic of radical collaboration are most welcome.
This post first appeared on The Great Growing Up on October 2, 2012. It is reposted with permission.