A Foundation for Collaboration
According to the Collaboration Framework, “Valuing diversity hon ors the uniqueness, gifts, and talents each person, group, and organization brings to the collaboration."
The Pollinator Stewardship Project would never have been as successful as it has been if our team members hadn’t collaborated the way we did. Each group within our collaboration team had to be able to operate according to its own organizational priorities and within its own structure, while still contributing to a collaborative process. Extension professionals use a model called the Collaboration Framework, which encourages collaborators to, among other things, keep lines of communication open and make sure team members clearly understand their responsibilities and the priorities of certain tasks. These behaviors are more likely in groups with an underlying value and respect for diversity while working toward a shared vision and set of outcomes. Although we weren’t previously aware of the Extension Collaboration Framework, we believe that our pollinator collaboration team has followed the framework’s diversity, shared vision p rinciples, and evaluation processes to measure progress and identify why stumbles may have occurred. According to the Collaboration Framework, “Valuing diversity hon ors the uniqueness, gifts, and talents each person, group, and organization brings to the collaboration. It opens the door to gaining an understanding of how all the elements fit together and how each is important to the whole. Diversity brings a critical balance to any level of collaboration.” (Bergstrom et al., 2014, p. 5)
Col laboration Team Demographic Diversity
The pollinator collaboration team is diverse in some conventional ways, such as age, geographic location, and experience — all of which helped us create content that we hope will appeal to a wide audience. We also discovered more complex and challenging differences among us, raising awareness of certain organizational patterns, working styles and preferences, and how these affect the groups’ abilities to collaborate. Our team includes people from multiple generations — from 20-something Millennials to 70-something Baby Boomers — all of whom bring a range of attitudes, thought processes, and problem-solving approaches to our discussions and planning. The team members also live all over the United States, from Colorado to Texas to New York City. Even though we piloted our campaign in Texas, it was valuable to have this national perspective, because we knew our radio listeners would live within a certain radius, but our web audience could come from anywhere.
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