Perfect Storming

Published on World of Associations News /Union of International Associations UIA, by Tim Casswell, March 01, 2011.

Collaboration. Waves of crisis continue to loom. Just when we thought the financial crisis was the most imminent and dangerous, we are struck by political revolution in North Africa and the Middle East. The threat of climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, population and demographic timebombs, cultural polarisations, fundamentalisms, extremisms, accelerating materialism and consumerism, making efforts towards sustainability rather pathetic, are all forces that continue to profoundly affect our lives.

It is not just the power of these individual forces, but the complexity of these waves interacting that seems to be creating a perfect storm. 

We are moving into a time of genuine unknowing. Whether for simple financial reasons or respect for the need for handling complexity in a comprehensive way, more and more organisations are establishing partnerships, engaging in joint ventures, forming coalitions, and collaborating on projects. We are all inextricably linked. Whether we choose it or not this is an age of collaborative adventure.

Collaboration is not easy. We are prone to focus and exclusivity, looking for our unique selling point as our mission, justifying our raison d’être. It is hard to engage in conversation with organisations with a different culture. But this pendulum swing towards dialogue and cooperation is exciting. We are listening in new ways because we are intensely curious, anxiously curious about what is happening.

We don’t know where we are going but let’s get together, link our boats, and get alert and curious, generous and collaborative, imaginative and daring to surf this wave of change. It will be the ride of our lives … (full text).

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