For every grade level team, for every Professional Learning Community, and for every Professional Networked Learning Collaborative in the future, there is or will be a tipping point in which people stop hoarding information and ideas and begin sharing. When this threshold is reached, the Collaboration Cascade begins. (Not be confused with an Information Cascade which I posted about in Information Cascades in Professional Learning Communities)
I choose the term Collaboration Cascade to describe the point at which subject/grade level teams (PLCs or PNLCs) reach a tipping point or threshold when the collaboration of some can cause a cascade of collaboration and cooperation from those who have not been participating or who have been hoarding their information, knowledge, and insight. This is the point of the Collaboration Cascade, a “cascade” of collaboration as more members begin to move from non-participation to participation, from hoarding to sharing, from non-cooperation to cooperation.
The tipping point or threshold at which teams reach the collaboration cascade will be different and unique for each group, governed by the unique group dynamics of that particular team, PLC, or PNLC.
The self-interest of the individual competes against the group dynamics that require members to collaborate, cooperate, share, and participate. For many members their collaboration is contingent on the collaboration of others. In other words, some members will in essence say, “You go first.” Their collaboration will require others to first demonstrate their willingness to collaborate. The question is what conditions must exist to create the tipping point or for members to reach their threshold to create a Collaboration Cascade?
I put the question, “What conditions must exist before you will step-out and share your ideas and collaborate with others? What makes you share?” to my Twitter PLN.
Here are some of the responses.
@maverickwoman I was born to share- I don't think about it- its like
an internal software driving my behaviour- a natural connector
@JBrandon building off the ideas of others, and not being afraid of people telling me my ideas are too "out of the box."
@nashworld trust and familiarity period. experience & expertise pale in comparison in the PLC model.
@tjacobucci To share ideas, I have to know that they will be of value to others, that it's not the same old thing they've already tried.
How would you answer? What would create a Collaboration Cascade in your team, PLC, or PNLC?
1. What role does fear play in holding back collaboration, cooperation, sharing and participation?
2. The philosopher Epictetus said, “What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.” What role is perception playing in preventing a Collaboration Cascade?
3. In what ways might you provide leadership or an example to influence a Collaboration Cascade?
4. What is the underlying principle at work in reaching the tipping point for a Collaboration Cascade?
5. In what ways could you demonstrate the benefit of the Collaboration Cascade? In what ways might you show that you are willing to, “Go first?”