Welcome to my corner of thought space. I’m glad you stopped in.
For the past 10 years, I’ve journeyed deep into the study of collaboration. I’ve looked at the alchemy of teams, but also how we think collectively, the forces of culture, and ways organizations learn.
That journey reached a milestone in 2012 with the publication of my first book: The DNA of Collaboration.
The experience of publishing was exhilarating. Each new idea, page, and chapter opened a new horizon, bringing new possibilities into view. But it’s been hard work, too. I’ve felt like a hiker cresting a ridge, only to find new ranges beyond.
Making space for Possibility is a set of challenges that’s grown more difficult in the 21st century. Often, it’s a daily struggle. Deep dives on problems and solutions will constantly fight with demands of the moment.
Teamed with thinkers I met on the internet, mostly via Twitter and blog comments, we’ve persisted.
We’ve tapped the work of thought leaders, too.
Inspired by the work of Margaret Wheatley, Peter Senge, John Kotter, Steven B. Johnson and Peter Block, we’ve routinely tapped possibility in our search for better solutions. For one, it’s helped us frame better questions. And as we work to create fertile ground for these discussion, we’re finding the right conditions for germination and growth of our new ideas.
Ambitious? Perhaps. But I think worth it.
Here’s a quick recap of the highlights.
- We’ve looked into organization culture, exploring dynamics of change in the workplace;
- We’ve explored the challenges facing knowledge management as it seeks to adapt to more dynamic work groups;
- This led us to the modern learning organization, where our ability to collaborate and willingness to engage introduced new perspectives on how to attack problems in teams, the grounding frame for my book;
- We’ve pursued deep dives in public education (see the #ecosys wiki);
- Led by President Obama early in his first term, we looked into open government, in hopes we might spark new thinking where progress had stalled;
In terms of newer and bigger ideas?
- A thread on complexity exposed new ways to look at the world that’s woven through all our social ecosystems. It’s about the interplay of diverse stakeholders, exploring patterns and guiding outcomes, with new ways of looking at problems; this topic has been excited, because we’re just learning how that line of thinking works in practice.
- This led to the inner workings of critical thinking, chipping away at the core of problem solving in connected systems and organizations;
- We discussed the many benefits of collaborative learning;
- In the process, I expanded my personal appreciation for philosophy, with a renewed respect for Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Wittgenstein. It was a rich and rewarding detour that brought me full circle back to modern questions on thinking about thinking.
Starting in 2016, I launched conversations on Medium.com, exploring how we communicate our most intricate ideas, and how we might improve our relationships:
- When answers don’t make sense, due to failures in our communication or mental shortcuts;
- The demise of respect, and how it impacts our relationships;
- The importance of community as a foundation of our culture, and our potential.
I’m now exploring the power of visual and written metaphor in our collaborative pursuits, as elements of stronger, deeper connections.
- My first medium series introduces the concept further;
- Check out my amberwood instagram site for a few in-flight examples.
We’ve made progress, to be sure, but there’s more discovery ahead. Challenge me, and I’ll return the favor.
I’ve gotten to know so many of you, and I truly value your feedback and insight. Whether as a reader, colleague, or collaborator – and now, in many cases, as a friend – I truly appreciate your long term investment of time.
I look forward to where we might go.
So thank you again. Please come back soon, and often.
Chris Jones, Charlotte NC