Warm Collaboration (S. 2, Ep. 3)

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About this episode

A word of warning: collaboration can easily become a mechanistic allocation of effort according to roles…Warm collaboration is not cloned, not a formula. It is built on values of what matters in life and the high value placed on life giving and life supporting values. Care and love matter.” – “Finding a Way,” Nora Bateson & Mamphela Ramphele

In this episode, we explore the concept of warm collaboration. In Nora Bateson and Mamphela Ramphele’s article “Finding a Way,” warm collaboration and warm data are important parts of an approach to environmental and social change centered in relationship. These concepts offer a way of seeing the world that draws on complexity, instead of seeking to simplify. They show us a way of thinking in which people are not numbers and a way of working together in which people are not roles.

Jessica and Bob reflect on warm collaboration with each other and with Sherril Knezel and Brigitte Scott, their collaborators on the Connection Communities in Asset-based Community Recovery project. Sherrill, founder of Meaningful Marks, LLC, was the graphic recorder for the project, and Brigitte, national project leader for the Military Families Learning Network, helped develop the project. Connecting Communities brought together military family service providers, Cooperative Extension educators, and others to discuss their COVID-19 experiences within an the Asset-based Community Recovery Framework. The stories shared in those discussions were brought together in a resource communities, organizations, and community leaders can use to help prepare for and recover from future crises.

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Transcript

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Kalin Goble: Welcome to Practicing Connection in a Complex World, a podcast exploring the personal stories and collective practices that empower us to work together, to help each other, our families, and our communities improve our resilience and readiness in a rapidly changing world. To start our conversation, here are Jessica Beckendorf and Bob Bertsch.

Bob Bertsch: Hi and welcome to the podcast. I’m Bob Bertsch with Jessica Beckendorf. We’re super excited today to talk about a loose concept called warm collaboration. This was a concept that I ran across reading the work of Nora Bateson. We’re going to talk more about where it comes from and what we think it is. It’s really great and exciting, Jessica to be in an exploratory space with something where we’re not exactly sure what we’re talking about, but we’re going to hopefully find out together today.

Jessica Beckendorf: Yes, this is a topic I’m still learning about. It’s really exciting to get to discuss this with you and with our guests but also to continue exploring it.

Bob: I think it would help us to understand it a little bit better to back up a little bit and talk about another concept from Nora Bateson, and that’s warm data. Nora Bateson, by the way, is a filmmaker, and writer, and educator. She leads the International Bateson Institute, which includes her work but also her father’s work and her grandfather’s work in the fields of really the interconnection of the fields of biology and cognition and art and anthropology and psychology and information technology, all of these things working together to study patterns in our lives and see the whole picture.

I first came across Nora’s work in her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, which really is a beautiful reflection and study of systems and of complexity. Through that book and through her blog posts, I learned more about warm data. I’d like to go ahead and read a quote from a blog post by Nora Bateson about warm data to set the stage of what she thinks this is. Nora writes, “Warm data is information about the interrelationships that integrate elements of a complex system. It has found the qualitative dynamics and offers another dimension of understanding to what is learned through quantitative data or cold data.”

I’ve heard Nora described the contrast between cold data sort of a scientific data that we think about and warm data this way. That cold data is when we pull something out of its context to measure it and study it. Warm data is when we’re studying something in its context with all of the interrelationships and connections present.

That was a pretty powerful image to me because I imagine that, like as somebody who’s done academic research, like we’re always trying to isolate [chuckles] situations, it seems like, especially when we’re doing quantitative or more hard science “research”, not necessarily social science research, which might be a little bit different. That idea of trying to control the variables right and explain something means pulling it out of context. Really, what warm data is saying is like, “No. If you really want to explain something, you have to explain it in its context. That’s where it exists. That’s where it is part of the ecology.”

Jessica: Another way Nora Bateson has described this is in an article that we’ll have linked in our show notes. It’s called Finding a Way where she talked about the difference between a cold version of the lifeboat stories. The lifeboat activity gives you some scenario to deal with. It’s that there are 50 people in a lifeboat that can only hold a few more people, but there’s 100 people in the water.

This activity is meant to take you through a series of how you decide who else is going to be saved and who might die and what the criteria might be? Do we save the elderly? Do we save the young? Do we save the frail? Whatever those choices end up being, how will the people who are on the boats be fed? Like is cannibalism an option is one of the questions that comes up.

What she says is that those are really cold questions and that a warmer version of the lifeboat story is, there’s still 50 people on the boat and a few available spots yet, but there’s still 100 people on the water, so you start out with those numbers. This time though, the people in the boat work together and share ideas and start to figure out a way to make it work to try to save everybody. Rather than arguing over what kind of criteria who might live and who might die, who are they going to leave stranded. What might happen is people might start linking hands. They might start taking turns where some people will get into the water while others get into the boat and making sure that they’re all staying linked.

What that does is it recognizes whole human beings and doesn’t reduce them to the numbers or the categories they might fall in. Like earlier I said, there’s the, do we save the frail or the elderly? No, it’s recognizing people as whole human beings with all of their experiences and all of their history, their culture. That’s the kind of the warm version of the lifeboat story, and I love the contrast between the two.

Bob: That’s really powerful. I feel like there’s certain elements that are emerging for me as we talk about warm data. There is this element of seeing– especially people but also other living beings and other elements of an ecology as whole, as not just isolated, but their interconnectedness to everything and everyone else, so seeing that whole picture. There’s that part of it. I also think that there’s– If we start thinking that way, why in scientific research do we isolate things and pull them out of their interconnectedness in order to study them? Well, one reason is that it simplifies things. We don’t have to see at all.

That idea of being able to see the whole complexity of a situation, all of the connections, and all of the individual beings in that system is another thing. That I think leads to uncertainty. It’s difficult to go forward or figure out next steps and some of those things when you’re looking at that complex scenario. Simplifying things makes it more clear and more linear, and looking at the full complexity makes things more uncertain. As we’ve been thinking about this–

Jessica: Also more real. Sorry.

Bob: No, that’s a great point. Go ahead.

Jessica: I was just going to say that the simplifying, isolating, I think it can be helpful in some contexts but people are complex and the issues that we deal with are complex. Partly because people are complex too, and added complexity when you’re dealing with people of different experiences, but yet we’re interconnected. We all have different ideas. When you can look at an issue with all of its complexity and recognize that the complexity and the beautiful uniqueness that people bring to complex issues, then it’s just makes it so much more real.

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Bob: Jessica, I know that you’ve been involved in an experience that is related to this kind of work and the idea of warm data and warm collaboration. Can you talk about how those elements, the complexity, and the interconnectedness have come up in that experience?

Jessica: That’s such a good question, and I hope I can answer it [chuckles] well, because I will say that, as I reflect on it, I think it’s complex. I’m not trying to be difficult here. I was attending these online sessions called people need people. There were some trained facilitators through their Bateson Institute. I am not one of them. I was an attendee. Long story, I happened to connect with somebody who was a trained facilitator and she invited me to attend these. They were wonderful. I couldn’t attend them all.

It’s on hold right now also and I’m very sad about that because as I got into it, for me each session, even though they were held early in the morning on Saturday mornings when I like to be in bed, I didn’t want to miss any of the sessions. I didn’t want to miss any of them because I could feel that we were all building something together. I would say we were building understanding while we were building relationship, while we were connecting in a way that allowed us to learn from each other not just be in conversation and listen to each other, but to actually really learn from these sessions.

It’s hard for me to describe because it’s something that I felt. It hasn’t produced maybe some tangible results yet in my life. Not that it needs to but I learned so much. I felt connected not only to the people in that meeting but I felt connected to, with the risk of sounding cheesy, I felt connected to the world through these conversations and through I would say collaboration because really we were building an understanding together.

Bob: Well, this is a good place to talk about Warm Collaboration I think because you brought up collaboration and the people need people experience, and this emerges out of the idea of warm data, that as people we’re more than just our roles and things like that. Let me read another quote from Nora Bateson and Mamphela Ramphele from the Finding a Way blog post that we mentioned earlier.

Here’s what they write, “A word of warning, collaboration can easily become a mechanistic allocation of effort according to roles. Warm collaboration is not cloned. It’s not a formula. It is built on values of what matters in life and the high value placed on life-giving and life-supporting values. Care and love matter.” I think most of us can relate to that idea of what we might call cold collaboration or just the way we have done collaboration in the past of being a mechanistic allocation of effort and what we’re looking at and trying to define and discover is something more and something different.

Jessica: Yes. I see that happen all the time in my community development work, where there’s an issue and people want to come together to find a solution. They get together, they all get in the room. Maybe they’ve even done some work to try to bring as many people in as possible, but they get together in the room, and then maybe they do a little bit of dreaming up front where they’re like, “Wow, if everything went perfectly and we were able to succeed in this issue, what would the outcome look like for us?”

Maybe they’re able to do a little bit of that. Then they proceed to assign tasks to all the people and they break, go and work on their task. They come back together and give updates on their task. It keeps cycling from there.

One of the things I’ve seen happen over and over again, and I wonder if this is partly where burnout starts to happen, the cycle just realizing that right now, because this thing that we were so passionate about in the beginning ends up getting reduced to some tasks in a role that we play. People are not their roles. They’re more than that. I’m not saying that we should get together every time and do new sets of dreaming together, but we also are not leaving room for just relationship or not leaving room for warm collaboration for lack of [chuckles] a better term. We’re coming together and we’re all playing a quick role. We’re doing some tasks. I think that it’s reductionist.

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Bob: We wanted to share a story of a collaboration that we were involved in. We worked with Sherrill Knezel who’s a graphic recorder, illustrator, and educator in Wisconsin. She uses her expertise in visual literacy and expression and graphic recording to help organizations tell the heart of their story through images and texts. She’s the founder of the company, Meaningful Marks LLC, a graphic recording firm. We also worked with Brigitte Scott, our colleague from the Military Families’ Learning Network. Brigitte now leads the project and has worked on program development and evaluation and research for the network and has a great interest and insight into qualitative research and community change.

We worked with Brigitte and Sherrill on a project where we invited others to collaborate with us in helping professionals from around the country, in the US here and some around the world as well, military families, service providers, and extension educators. We all came together and used an asset-based community recovery framework to try and elicit some warm data and do some warm collaboration centered around our COVID-19 experience. We assembled what we learned into the Connecting Communities in Asset-based Community Recovery Resource, which features the themes that emerge from the warm data and the graphic recordings of the stories and insights that were captured by Sherrill.

We’d like to share with you our conversation with Sherrill and Brigitte about that project and about our collaboration experience to help get more at this idea of warm data and warm collaboration.

Thanks, Sherrill and Brigitte for joining us. It was so awesome to collaborate on the Connecting Communities Project with you all. I’m really curious what parts of the project really resonated with you. Sherrill, you got to be there for all three workshops and capture what was shared in the breakout groups. Were there particular things about the process itself that stuck out to you?

Jessica: Thanks for asking me. First of all, I’m happy to be here. I just felt the process throughout was such a connective and generative activity. Being able to be at all three conversations I think the thread that ran through for me was story that connected people. It was the common experience of it all and it really felt like people came to the space that we gathered in ready to share those positive stories.

I think that was a credit to both of you for creating that kind of space originally to an invitation to bring people together like that. The stories of inspiration and I think what was most effective to me was just the positive things that people really want to use going forward. The discovery of gifts that people didn’t know they had or really only came to light because they were connecting with people in a new way, in a vulnerable way. The whole idea of mutual aid and working together was really powerful for me.

Bob: Brigitte, were there things that stuck out to you and maybe a little bit about your background and evaluation and your perspective on these things? I’m really curious about it because when we’re evaluating we’re collecting data in a particular way, and this was maybe a little bit different than how people typically think about data collection.

Brigitte: First of all, I just really appreciated, Bob and Jessica, your willingness to give this a try. I was very impressed by the educational and personal space that it opened up for everyone. It was a lot different from the typical programming that we do. We’ve tried several things before with discussions with folks and see how this goes. We’ve met varying degrees of success, but this one really stuck. This experience really stuck.

I was just so excited that people were able to be there and open up and feel like they could be in professional development, but also just a personal learning space. It’s a little different from what we’re used to in MFL. I think from an evaluation perspective, I’ve been pursuing different aspects of developmental evaluation for MFL for eight years now and I’ve always followed Tamarac. They’ve done a lot of work with collective action and when this asset-based community recovery model came out, it really clicked for me. I was really excited we were able to bring it again into this educational space.

Then with your creativity and brilliance, getting these workshops formulated and launched, the experience-type data that people were bringing forward was very new. For MFLN, we’re often focused on the types of things people learned and hoping that they’re willing to take that learning forward into their work.

I think with the kinds of stories that people were sharing, the way they were sharing them, the ability to reflect with others, for me as an evaluator, I was sitting there thinking, yes, this is a formative experience. Having this social space to share is a formative experience and we’re not following up with people to say, “Hey, did this workshop change your life?” I got the feeling that it was a really valuable space for people and I hope you did too. I think that seems to be coming out in some of the evaluative questions you were asking.

Jessica: Connecting with what you were just saying, one of the chat comments that came in was a person saying that they felt like they had a new community or they felt like they’ve found any community. Even if that only happened with one person, that just really affected me. It was a good outcome and that’s exactly one of the things we were looking for. Is to try to have that feel of community that we were all in this together, working together on our stories and learning from each other.

Bob: I think it’s part of what the project revealed and this is partly a function of just my inability to control the scope and just add stuff in. There was sort of richness to it, and part of it started with what you mentioned, Brigitte, Tamarack’s Asset-based Community Recovery Framework as the scaffolding for that. Then the inclusion of our facilitators for our small groups. We had volunteers come in, who weren’t necessarily part of the planning process, they’re coming in with an outside perspective and bringing some freshness to it that way.

Sherrill your work, I think, added that extra level as a graphic recorder for people to be able to get that sense of co-creation and collaboration because something’s actually getting created right in front of them that their ideas are contributing to. It’s not, “Hey, we’ll collect your data and we’ll write a journal article about it later,” or something like that. It’s happening right in the meeting. Has that been your experience as a graphic recorder in other contexts too?

Sherrill: Yes. I again, credit both Jessica and you Bob for involving me from the beginning the process of curating the questions. Just because I have been in spaces all this time, listening to how conversations can either be generative or just not go anywhere, I appreciated working with you already at the beginning stages and working up with a template for the questions. What I’ve noticed in this space, when we were in the conversations, there was even different energy before the breakout rooms.

Then when people came back and it speaks really to that community that happened and that connection that happened in those breakout rooms about the power of story. As a big group, they were sent off into these smaller spaces that they didn’t really know many people. They had to be vulnerable and share their stories. Then when they came back, a lot of times another person was sharing someone else’s story. It just was so many levels of connection and I think therein lies the power. The visuals are really just, again a beautiful way to feel seen and heard in a space that is digital and virtual. That co-creation, and seeing things develop in front of you is really a great way to do that.

Jessica: Sherrill, I would add to what you said and they were coming back into the rooms, they were sharing what they learned from someone else’s story. I thought that was really a beautiful thing. Then sometimes the person whose story it was, would speak up and say, that was me, and here’s something that’s a little bit deeper for you all to chew on.

Brigitte: I was only able to facilitate one session and I was struck by the vulnerability of the people sharing and the stories they were sharing. I just thought that was really special. I think an interesting thing was going on as well because we’re talking about warm collaboration, but you could probably transfer that a little bit over to something like warmer learning, maybe.

We had two-part series on disaster and hazard management, and then many of those sessions were focused on the disaster management cycle which is in some ways cold. That might be unfair, but there are measurable things that have to get done. We need those things to be done. You bring in the asset-based community recovery, which is– I don’t want to beat this to death, but a very warm model.

Everyone had exposure to that one version of it in the sessions, and then the workshops open up a deeper space for thinking. People have the opportunity to share in the breakout rooms, listen, and then a facilitator came back in. When you’re relaying something, in my mind, it’s a level of analysis. You’re breaking it down and sharing it back out. You get to hear that concept again.

Then Sherrill, you widely accepted that writing is a level of data analysis. Well, art is too. As facilitators were speaking, we could see your mind at work and what got pictures and what did the pictures look like and how did you even write the actual word or draw the word I should say. All of those different exposures to a person’s story were iterated over and over and over again. I just thought that it was really unique and really special for our participants and I think for everyone who is involved. Great experience.

Bob: I’m glad you brought up the warmness of it and getting back to that issue because when Nora Bateson writes about warm data and warm collaboration, it’s all about the relationship. Warm data is viewing that data that thing to be that is typically pulled out of context and measured or monitored.

For cold data, is viewed in context. It wasn’t necessarily each of our natural contexts that we work in every day, we can come together to do that. We were able to provide a space for a new context and those connections between people, those relationships, and sharing the stories over and over again I think warmed it up, so to speak, because it’s about that relationship with each other.

Sherrill: Jumping on that, it reminds me of Renee Brown’s work too, and just connection and courage and bravery but really using narrative data which is warm data obviously. When people can tell their own story or listen to another’s story, that again is powerful and true data.

I also want to point out, maybe we’ll get to this a little bit later, but the process that the way that you used the visuals from each of the sessions and then chopped up and reassembled, and just use that to sift through the data was really unique and innovative. As a visual practitioner, that was great for me to see your creativity and the way that you worked with and delve into the data that way to see the big picture from all of those sessions. Then allowed us to collaborate again, to create the visuals that you used going forward.

Bob: I think that was a way and Jessica, thank you for your work on that, but that was a way to keep the warmness, because Sherrill, you had created these beautiful beautiful graphic recordings of each workshops, so three different workshops. Then we wanted to come back and categorize and code those into some themes, find those themes evolving. I don’t want to call it typical, but the way my exposure to qualitative data has been in the past would be, we would put that into some spreadsheet and text or something and search out the most mentioned words, or try to see if we could figure out the themes.

Again, pulling all that context and beauty and layering that got built up through the graphic recording and through the shared experience out of it. There was a little bit lost because we were, like I said, cutting graphics out and pulling them apart and then reassembling them into different containers or codes, so to speak. I think that was really important that we didn’t lose all that.

Jessica: I did the initial pass of taking all of the little chopped up pieces from Sherrill’s drawings and putting it together, we were using the chopped up pieces of Sherrill’s artwork to arrange this, one of the things that was happening is I was remembering the discussion from that specific meeting because I remembered Sherrill drawing it on the board. Whereas, if I’d seen the same words in a spreadsheet, I would have categorized it sometimes in a different category.

There were times when I took something that I think, to a lot of people may have looked like it would be very clearly in one category and I had moved it into a different one because the conversation that happened around that piece that Sherrill had drawn, the conversation that had happened around that was a little more related to this category than the one that it looks like in most. It only happened a few times, but it really was helpful to use the visual to do that arranging.

Brigitte: I think that speaks again, to the iteration and the multiple points of contact everyone had with each other’s stories. The multiple ways the stories were shared or voiced, and then they were illustrated. Then Jessica, that you were able to look at a word that was maybe even taken away from an illustration, but you remember the story. I think that’s the deep learning and deep appreciation that happened as a result of that process. To carry it over and to strengthen your thematic analysis for sure.

Sherrill: I agree with Brigitte in that that is– First of all, Jessica, that makes me extremely happy as a visual practitioner to know that. I love digging into even the brain science behind that, of why we remember, why visuals, they capture not just a word, but almost a feeling or the emotion that was going on around it. It’s like when we smell a smell that was in our and grandparent’s house, baking bread or cooked cinnamon, and it takes us back to that feeling and then environment. Visuals can do that and so that’s why I love to see them used in these ways. I work a lot in inclusion spaces, educational spaces as well. Just using, like Brigitte said, different modalities, making sure that you’re covering some kinesthetic stuff for some visual stuff, all of those layers help us remember and assign meaning. That’s why I think this is just such a powerful way to collaborate and work through a project.

Jessica: I have a question that I’ve been wondering about, Sherrill, because I’ve been following your work ever since we started to get to know you. I see a lot of really cool, really meaningful projects that you’ve been working on. I’m just wondering if there are some overall observations or threads that you see that are happening with all the groups you’re working with, including ours, that have to do with– For instance, do you see a really big interest in wanting to be this vulnerable? What are some of those overall observations in all of the super-cool work you’re doing?

Sherrill: That’s a great question and thank you. First of all, I have as a graphic recorder, definitely chosen to work in the spaces that I do and work with the groups and organizations I do.

Absolutely. The overarching theme that I’m seeing in all spaces is that people are really wanting, when they come together, they’re looking for honest and authentic connection, so how to do that. The facilitators I work with, like you guys did work behind the scenes to make sure that that happens, that we’re creating a space for that. In conversation, what I’m hearing over and over is that we need to be making sure that we are providing access points for everyone. Scaffolding learning and also the asset-based view.

Yesterday I just recorded for education and equity conference and it was really about, specifically with Black and Brown and indigenous students, making sure that we are seeing them through their asset, their strengths, and not their deficits. That’s the same that corporate clients talking about diversity and inclusion, it’s all about creating spaces where people feel welcome and they feel belonging and they feel okay to show up as their authentic selves. Which is a huge human thing. [chuckles]

Bob: To me, that’s what warm data warm collaboration is. It’s getting back to the human. I feel like that’s where the connecting communities project itself as framing it as a co-creative project. We probably didn’t hit even very many of the benchmarks of a truly co-created project from the very beginning, but just by calling it that and thinking of it that way, we work towards present.

The people who participated had input into what the end product ended up looking like and being. I think that education theory would tell us that enhances the learning. You feel involved. You’re not just consuming passively a curriculum that someone else thinks you should know. You’re involved in the learning by sharing your story with others.

Brigitte: I think this project too, in my mind, it opens up different educational opportunities and we’re very focused on our live professional development events. They’re important spaces because they are a point of contact for others and connection. Referring back to what I mentioned before, about the participants in the workshop had these multiple opportunities to have contact with ideas, and thoughts, and stories.

What if we can create some programming that provides those points of contact in asynchronous approach and then the live pieces could really focus on what’s important about those pieces to the participants, to the learners to bring forward, to talk through? Again, to give them that space, that time that allow them to take the driver’s seat, which is again, really important, meaningful for me, for professional development. Let’s see where this goes.

I guess it just feels to me like real collaboration is so creative that if you end up where you thought you were going to end up, maybe it wasn’t really a collaboration because nothing new was created, being open to those iterations and not getting attached to any one iteration in the messy middle. I think the best projects have the longest and most complicated messy middles, but you came off the other side with such a really impactful experience and beautiful resource guide and new connections, Sherrill. I just wanted to thank you. Thanks for always asking new questions and bringing the network along for some really interesting and helpful conversations and growth opportunities.

Sherrill: I’m going to jump on that visual of a messy middle because that has been my experience with so many things when it comes to graphic recording and working with facilitators. It starts at like, “This is going to be great. It’s going to be awesome.” They’re like, “Oh, maybe not, maybe not.” You go on to like, “Well, this is not going to work.” Then it goes up but back up the other side too. Usually, it ends up like that was great. That was fabulous.

What I think makes it successful when we’re collaborating is that all parties are open to be surprised. That “You’re just expecting to bump into wonders.” Someone else’s quote, not mine. When you can be open to that, that’s a beautiful thing. I think just that’s how everybody approached this project and I think that’s why it was successful. I was honored to be able to just bring the skills of visualizing the conversations because I think whenever people are in a space together being able to feel seen and heard whether that’s through text or drawings is really important too. I think that was the measure of success for this project is that people felt that way.

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Jessica: I’d like for us to talk a little bit about how we can practice warm collaboration, like what are the practices that would help us get into warm collaboration with others? I think for me, a couple of things come to mind first of all as a facilitator, maybe there’s a reason why I think of this first and that’s creating spaces that would be conducive to warm collaborations. That would mean that they’re inclusive, that they’re safe, that the facilitator or the person who convened the meeting models, vulnerability, they use powerful questions.

There’s an article you shared with me on What Does Working “With” (Not “For”) Our Communities Look Like by Dale McCreedy, Nancy Maryboy, Breanne Litts, Tony Streit, and Jameela Jafri. Oh my goodness a lot of people wrote this article, a lot of great thought. It was probably a warm collaboration. [laughs]

A couple of the things that they had, some recommended actions as well. A couple of the things that I thought were super important also is as you’re designing a space in the context of designing a space that you understand the cultural protocols of the community that you’re working with are of the people who will be in the room. and that you get together. When you get together, you formally articulate everyone’s values and goals so that we can clarify expectations together. There’s more actions that you can take. I think when it comes to setting up a space, those are really important to me.

Bob: Yes, I agree. Space is really critical to doing this and space in all aspects including just the time that we allow ourselves as a group to explore relationships and bring our whole selves and figure what we want to do together. You know, when you’re talking about spaces, it brought to mind some, some work that I had done trying to organize categorize some educational practices and different educational practices and I was inspired by this idea of spaces too.

I think some of these might be helpful. I think it might also be helpful to think of them, not just in terms of how we might design them as an organizer or a facilitator, which is super important, but also how we might help hold and create these kinds of spaces as a collaborator just as in the space. Whether you designed it or not, or you’re, co-designing it or whatever, but just as somebody working with other people, how do we create and hold space?

Here are some of the ones that I thought were important space for people to think and reflect space for people to learn together and learn from one another space for people to connect informally with each other, that gets that whole selves idea. In something that we’ve brought up in the podcast before from Plastrik, Taylor, and Cleveland, about the bandwidth of information that we have about each other and how important that is in network building.

Space for learners to find and express their own voice and not making the assumption that everybody has come fully formed to this conversation. I hope you’re getting that sense from this podcast today because Jessica and I definitely did not come to this conversation fully formed in how we’re thinking about in warm collaboration. Space for learners to develop as people, explorers themselves and develop new skills and, and new insights into themselves.

Those are five spaces that I was thinking about in terms of educational methods or learning methods, but I think they can apply in this collaboration space as well. I think it’s important too, that whether you use those categories or spaces to think about them, that there are particular practices. There are decisions and things that you can do, whether it’s just a check-in question at the beginning of all meetings or something. You know what, but there are methods and practices that you can do in the space, in the collaboration space to create these five spaces. There’s also practices that we do that reduce the space for collaboration and learning.

Consciously and intentionally thinking about those things. What am I doing in terms of “designing” the collaboration and meetings and things like that might create space for warm collaboration, or might actually reduce space for warm collaboration and what am I doing as a person sitting in those meetings as a collaborator to create and hold space for warm collaboration and what practices am I doing that might be reducing that space? I think that’s important.

Jessica: I mean, I think this is a good time to continue this exploration with anyone who listens to this episode. We love to hear more from you about given what we’ve described on warm collaboration, how would you practice warm collaboration? What are some possibilities you see, or some ideas you have around that?

Bob: We’d love for you to reach out to us. You can email us at mflnnetworkliteracy@gmail.com. We’ll put some contact information on the podcast page as well for this episode, which you can find at militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/series/practicingconnection. Jessica, this has been super fun. Thank you so much for sharing this with me and exploring this idea of warm collaboration.

Jessica: Yes, we should explore topics without having them fully formed in our mind as to what our understanding is more often, I like this a lot. It’s fun.

Bob: If listeners, you want to weigh in on whether we should do that or not, you might have a different opinion, but it was awesome. We also wanted to thank our collaborators and our guests today. Sherrill Knezel and Brigitte Scott at four for sharing that conversation with us and for their awesome collaboration on that project that we discussed. Thanks to Nathan Graham who composed all the music for the podcast and performed it as well. Kalin Goble who recorded our episode in introduction, Hannah Hyde and Terry Meisenbach for all. Their help with podcast marketing. Thanks to you as well for sharing this experience with us today, keep practicing.

[music]

[00:48:32] [END OF AUDIO]