It is never easy to figure out the collaborations needed to improve the productivity of our education and workforce development systems. Part of the challenge involves the different ways that people involved in the systems – secondary school educators, higher education educators, students, parents, employers, nonprofit organizations — view the challenges. Each participant is looking at a complex, invisible system from their own perspective.
How we develop a shared understanding? We encountered this challenge most recently in Fremont, Nebraska, a community about 40 miles outside of Omaha. In meeting these challenges, we shared some valuable tips that we have learned over the course of pulling together these complex collaborations.
- First, we need a shared understanding – – a shared conceptual model – – of the entire system. The Lab provided to Fremont a helpful look at how to think about and improve the collaborations within this complex system.
- Second, we need shared experiences to create common ground. To do that, we designed a 3.5 hour workshop in which 45 civic leaders in Fremont focused on opportunities for improving their talent development system.
- Finally, we need shared commitments to act. Only by translating ideas and action can we develop the trust needed to power these complex collaborations.
The workshop we designed in Fremont provided a pilot test of introducing Strategic Doing into the Fremont economy. Based on what we learned, the results look promising. We are already scheduling a 2.5 day training in Fremont and Omaha that will build the core skills that civic leaders need to guide these collaborations.
You can check out a video here, produced by Azlyn Clark, a third grade student at Wheeler Elementary School.
The Founder of the Lab at UNA and co-author of Strategic Doing: 10 Skills for Agile Leadership, Ed’s work has focused on developing new models of strategy specifically designed to accelerate complex collaboration in networks and open innovation. He is the original developer of Strategic Doing.