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My sense is that a lot of these sustainability issues we have can be traced to the fact that too small a number of people are making decisions that effect all of us, based on too narrow a set of concerns. My hope is that collective intelligence tools will help us make sure that the really critical decisions we face, about where we get our energy and how we get around and how we live, can be informed by a much broader set of concerns – such as the welfare of future generations, the welfare of the poor, environmental impacts and social capital impacts – in a way they weren’t before.” -Mark Klein
At CONVERGE our core research team was allready collaborative and interdisciplinary, so why go down this route of forming a Collaborative Learning Network - the CONVERGE Alliance? Many concerned with the sustainability of our current society are awed by the complexity of our challenges. As practitioners and purveyors of a little bit of ‘good’ in the world, we need to be innovative when seeking solutions to these complex challenges and looking for new ways forward. Collaboration is a way to channel innovation. The more diverse the group, the more diverse the contributions, and in a complex world full of uncertainty, where the details of the challenges we face with regards to sustainability are unclear, we realised at CONVERGE that we need to bring together different minds who see the system in different ways.
We are aware that collaboration takes time, it takes hard work, thoughtful design, and most of us were not taught in school many of the skills necessary for effective collaborations (Howard Rheingold). But as Sawyer and others have proven, it’s worth the pain. “collectively we’re better than we would be if it was just one person because your leveraging the collective knowledge of everyone that is participating.” -Danielle Germaine of the Collaboration Project
The complex issues we are exploring with CONVERGE simply require MORE collaborative innovation. So we've started this network in an attempt to widen our net, to invite more great minds into our research. We think that this can only benefit our research.
Another concern for us, leading to the development of this network was redundancy. Redundancy is one of the great travesties of the sustainability field. “I think the main problem that we face in addressing global challenges is that there’s extensive organizational redundancy. Web-based collaboration is highly useful for mitigating some of that redundancy.” (Ali Wyne) Of course one of the causes of this redundancy is the ‘information glut’ whereby due to the information access the web provides, individuals are more likely to start up a new organization to tackle problems without being rigorous in searching for other organizations with similar or identical missions. (Ali Wyne) In many ways we accuse ourselves of this, however we see that opening ourselves up for collaboration is a great opportunity for reducing this redundancy, and importantly we are committed and willing to seek out other organizations.