Christina's post on web thinkers coincided with with this Sir Ken Robinson video on collaboration from Toronto's Artscape. You can see the trimmed 6 minute video here. The type of thinking, our idea orientation, our posture of engagement, whatever you want to call it, makes an enormous difference in our relative ability to learn, grow and undertake valuable projects together.
Do we think we know everything (or at least everything that matters)? That will invariably influence how we interact with people and evaluate ideas. Do we work from a posture of humble unknowing? That will change us in other ways. People who are watching digital culture have plenty to say about how technologies like this one are changing us.
On Tuesday Rob and I attended a Sig@MaRS meeting featuring Louise Pulford from the Young Foundation in the UK. Among our many conversational pathways coming out of that meeting was a sense that the real test of collaboration is the ability to work constructively with a wide range of diverse people, ideas and perspectives.
Current technologies seem, at least on the surface, to foster less regional and rigid thinking because we are more aware of what is happening elsewhere. However, the highly individualized intake that digital media allows contributes to highly divergent consumption styles and less real-time collaboration, potentially affecting our ability to work with actual people in face-to-face settings.
Technology alone cannot make us better collaborators. There are deep cultural, moral and personal influences that underwrite our ability to work together on projects that benefit all of us. And there are postures of mind that prevent us from doing so. The networking and information sharing power of online technologies may be a significant factor in that process but does not act in isolation.
We will get better at collaborating and thinking laterally as we collaborate and think laterally—both as individuals and across organizations and institutions. Cultivation of these abilities will be critical, whatever the medium of interaction.