Sharing the fruits of collaboration

It’s easy to say we collaborate but what does effective collaboration look like? On the construction site it could be as simple – and profound – as contractors sharing their tools.

Stephen Hanman and Ian George from Collaborative Inquiry showed us that it can look like a fruit salad, rather than a hierarchical pile of apples in market stall display. They gave us a visual reminder that there’s creativity and strength in diversity. Don’t forget the lychees, fear not the prickly pineapple and embrace the kiwi fruit. Each piece of fruit has something to offer. Trouble is, they don’t usually get the space and chance to peel back their skin and share their full potential. According to Stephen and Ian, it takes three principles: trust, care and courage.

At a recent get together of the Victorian Facilitators Network, we heard a great story about bringing the ‘soul’ to the workplace. Work gets finished ahead of schedule, people are happier at work and home and yes, share tools. And it saved money for everyone involved.

As I rode around Melbourne the morning after, I looked at the building sites with new eyes. They seemed full of potential with lessons for anyone interested in collaborating. I can’t wait to read the book, From Me to We. Check them out. And don’t forget to ask Ian for his recipe for a great fruit salad.