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Change Starts with a T

posted Mar 27, 2017, 6:29 AM by William Matson   [ updated Mar 27, 2017, 6:31 AM ]
We all know that building collaboration takes time. The push and pull between new partners can seem to go on forever. It may help to visualize this process using the letter T. 

An article published in the journal Nature details how researchers who operate in a competitive environment can - over time - come to work together very effectively. The article, based on a lessons learned in implementation of a successful international urban water research project, details five principles that are key to making collaboration work: 

1. Forge a shared mission 
2. Develop "T-Shaped" collaborative partners 
3. Nurture constructive dialog 
4. Give institutional support 
5. Bridge research, policy and practice 

Researchers found that adoption of collaborative behavior didn't follow an arc or a bell curve; it came in the shape of the letter T. The lessons from their experience: 

1. Expect new collaborators to attempt to dominate the collaborative process as they engage 
2. Over time, the give and take of constructive dialog will lead to a growing respect for others around the table. This mutual respect will allow collaboration to flourish