Art and Science of Collaboration

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Art and Science of Collaboration - Photo 1The book Go Lean…Caribbean opens with the thesis (Page 3) that the problems of the Caribbean are too big for any one member-state. So rather, solutions should be sought by accepting interdependence; shifting the responsibility to a region-wide, professionally-managed, deputized technocracy that can result in greater production and greater accountability. This deputized agency is the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The book therefore advocates that all Caribbean member-states (independent & dependent-territory) lean-in to this plan for confederacy, convention and collaboration.

Confederacy  refers to the federation, the legal structure that will represent/include all 30 Caribbean member-states in an integrated entity to forge the required solutions.

Convention is easy! Convening … means “showing up”.

On the other hand, collaboration is hard! For the purpose of this commentary, collaboration is defined as “a group of people who represent different aspects of an issue, working together to explore their differences and come up with solutions that couldn’t be achieved on their own”. This effort is definitely heavy-lifting, especially in this age of complexity where it is difficult to build consensus and compromise. This effort is hard, but not impossible! To succeed, the required hard-work or heavy-lifting must be guided by prudence and best practices.

It is hereby acknowledged that collaboration is an art and a science. The following summary applies:


Consider the perspective of a constitutive communication approach:

  • Everyone involved in a collaborative effort has a different perspective…
  • How we see ourselves and others, and how others see us…
  • What we say is less important than how we say it…


  • Collaborative Advantage – Good things that come from the success of the effort
  • Collaborative Inertia – Bad things that can come from a lack of this effort, the natural state of affairs
  • Collaboration Design
    • Structure – Get the right people in the right setting
    • Process – How people interact

This Art and Science of Collaboration is gleaned from this featured VIDEO here:

VIDEOThe Collaborative Challenge: Making Quality Decisions Together in the Age of Complexity

Published on Dec 13, 2012 – This video was developed by Matt Koschmann, a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. The purpose is to explore the topic of collaboration and explain a constitutive communication approach to enhance our understanding of collaboration.

This and many other blog/commentaries drill deeper, double-down, on this quest for collaboration as necessary for long-term Caribbean solutions. The book and blogs posit that collaboration in spirit equals sharing in action. As a result, a lot of focus has been concentrated on sharing schemes, the Sharing Economy, that would be apropos for Caribbean implementation.

The quest to elevate Caribbean society includes embracing collaboration and sharing tools. If we are able to marry the efforts of all member-states in unison, a lot can be accomplished and the impact can be profound. This impact is pronounced in the CU‘s prime directives, identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book promotes “sharing” and collaboration as a community ethos, so as to mitigate the perils of “going at it alone”. This alludes to the emergence of the Sharing Economy that now proliferates due to advances in technology. These previous blog/commentaries detailed some examples: More Business Travelers Flock to Airbnb Car-Sharing Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic from London to Berlin Incubator firm (Temasek) backs Southeast Asia cab booking app GrabTaxi

CU Blog - Art and Science of Collaboration - Photo 3

The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic CU. This roadmap posits that many issues and challenges for a Sharing Economy can only be managed with feasible economies-of-scale; thusly there is the need to master the art and science of collaboration. While the stakeholders, 30 member-states and 42 million people, should be able to unify and resolve many common problems, it is not the general public that is expected to lean-in to these principles, but rather their leaders: politicians and civil servants. This is part of the Go Lean effort to improve leadership and foster better leaders.

This is the theme of another book, a Bible-like publication on collaboration, The Collaborative Organization by Jacob Morgan. This author is the principal and co-founder of Chess Media Group, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm on collaboration. This 2012 publication serves as a strategic guide for executives and decision makers seeking to deploy emerging technologies and strategies in the workplace.

The About the Book summary from the Author is published as follows:

I believe that Collaborative Organizations can make the world a better place. We keep talking about and hearing about the value of collaboration for businesses but that’s selling it short. Collaboration can positively impact the lives of people inside and outside of the workplace. If we can create greater engagement among employees, make their lives easier at work, connect them to people and information from anywhere, and provide a place of growth and learning then we go far beyond just business benefit. Employees will feel less stressed out at work and at home, argue less with their spouses, feel a greater sense of purpose and belonging at work, and have more time to spend with their loved ones and families.

I realized that while this idea was unique and powerful it was not enough to drive action within the enterprise. I knew that in order to go from idea to action that business leaders needed something more. This is why I wrote The Collaborative Organization which is the first comprehensive strategy guide to emergent collaboration in the workplace. This book was written not just to benefit the organizations but the employees as well.

The book is supported by data from a research project that Chess Media Group (my firm) conducted and includes dozens of case studies as well as mini guest contribution pieces from executives and leaders who are leading collaboration at their organizations. Inside this strategy guide you will learn:

  • How to map uses cases to feature requirements
  • How to evaluate and select the right collaboration tools for your organization
  • How to structure collaboration teams to lead this initiative
  • How to deploy tools and prioritize features
  • How to gain and sustain employee adoption
  • Measuring success
  • How to evaluate your organization’s maturity in collaboration
  • How to structure governance
  • How to market and roll out this initiative to your company
  • How to evaluate and mitigate risks
  • and much more

CU Blog - Art and Science of Collaboration - Photo 2

In line with the foregoing VIDEO, the Go Lean book details the applicable community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies as a roadmap to foster this empowerment among the business and governmental leaders in the region to fully explore collaboration and the Sharing Economy:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices &   Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius – Nurturing Leaders Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship – Incubator Support Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Confederate 30 Caribbean Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Customers / Stakeholders – Governments, Businesses, and Citizens Page 47
Strategy – Competition – Shared Systems –vs- Premise based Page 51
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Foster a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Shared Portal: Page 74
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Caribbean Postal Union (CPU) Page 78
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Bicameral Legislature – Compromise Conferences Page 91
Implementation – Year 1 / Assemble Phase – Consolidate Organs into CU Page 96
Implementation – Trends in Implementing Data Centers – CoLocation Operations Page 106
Implementation – Assume Mail Operations – Collaborate/Share for all Caribbean Page 108
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization – Level Playing Field with ICT Page 129
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Shared/Single   Currency – Cooperative Central Bank Page 127
Planning – Lessons Learned from the West Indies Federation – Collaboration Quest Page 135
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract – Share e-Government   systems Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership Page 171
Advocacy – Ways to Manage Federal Civil Service Page 173
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Improve Homeland Security – Shared-Collaborative Defenses Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Ways to Reform Banking – Cooperative/Collaborative Central Bank Page 199
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Foundations – NGOs to Share Delivery of Social Agenda Page 219

The roadmap posits that the CU should foster and incubate features of the Sharing Economy and other expressions of collaboration. The Go Lean book quotes the assessment of a scholar (Kent State University Professor Emeritus Dr. Kwame Nantambu) on Caribbean affairs and the need for collaboration (Page 135): “History has shown that only when a people come together to address issues that affect them collectively can they ever hope to resolve their problems. Caribbean people have common problems so that common sense should dictate that the only way to solve those problems is to come together collectively to address them. There is no other option.”

The Caribbean must change … to adapt to a changing world. We cannot compete alone, but together, collaboratively, we stand a fighting-chance to “snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat”. Failure is not an option; our Caribbean children are counting on us. Otherwise, more and more of them will be Canadian children, and American children, and British children, and so on…

The trends are already there. The Go Lean book opens with the declaration (Page 3) that the Caribbean is already in crisis. For some member-states, their population has declined or been flat for the last 3 decades. This is only possible if despite new births and the absence of war, people are fleeing. This scenario, human flight, is a constant threat to prosperity for all the Caribbean despite their colonial legacies. Our youth, the next generation, may not be inspired to participate in the future workings of their country; they may measure success only by their exodus from their Caribbean homeland.

As echoed in the foregoing VIDEO: “if there was ever a time to think differently about how we do things, this is it!

A collaborative approach to forging solutions to this common problem is perhaps our best hope. We can do the heavy-lifting; we can make the Caribbean, a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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