This page is about  people “belonging” to something together, or collaborating around a shared purpose or project.

Please read on and afterwards you may like to tell me (via the contact page) more about yourself and the connections you see between your own interests and what I’m doing or thinking (as covered elsewhere on this site).

Collaboration and action-learning

Many of the practical things I’ve done have been in collaboration with other people, in an informal way. It may be easiest to understand my input to those collaborations if you think of me as some kind of independent scholar and see the practical projects as my various “field studies”.  Imagine me setting out in 2000 to study the first of a series of “self-funded, self-directed, action-learning modules”.

To imagine my situation further, think of someone “working their way through college” and also someone doing work they love while taking “day jobs”to pay the bills. These aren’t completely accurate analogies, but if you combine them then they are near enough to save you trying to fit me into some more traditional category. Various normal categories such as “working for an NGO” or “studying for a traditional degree” may be familiar to you but are not accurate in my case. The combined analogies come closer.

Formal and informal agreements and structures

Collaborations don’t require much in the way of legal agreements and formal structures as long as there are no connections to payments, nor intellectual property issues, nor the transfer of “physical stuff”.

Obviously when money is involved then things need to be done more formally and within the right legal structures.

Informal collaborations, networks and “membership”

The examples I have had in mind while writing this page are a series of informal collaborations. They have come about based on personal relationships combined with some shared purpose or objective. It is worth noting that people can collaborate effectively, even if they have different motivations, as long as they share commitment.

Regarding relationships and involvement in these collaborations, there has usually been a core team at the centre of a wider network. The people in the core teams have been strongly committed. The individuals have varied depending on the collaboration.

The problem with an organisational structure based on a core team and a wide network is that “membership” or “belonging” is too loosely defined.  It is impossible to say at any ethpoint where the boundary lies and exactly who is, or is not, involved.

In my future collaborations I will have tighter descriptions of involvement (or “membership”). There will be a recognition of the boundaries, (clarifying who is “in” or ‘out”) and descriptions of the roles that are being “energised” by the people who are “in”.

We’ll be exploring organisational structures, some with financial benefits, some with non-material benefits. Examples of non-material benefits include peer-to-peer advice and support, the sharing of information and skills, involvement in the creation of new knowledge, and the more traditional benefits of developing new skills and becoming know in a wide network.

Working together

If you want to be involved with something I’m doing, or if you’d like me to be involved in something you’re doing, please use the contact page to let me know what you’re thinking.