What does a giant space robot made of lions have to do with networked eco-systems and organizational capacity building?
In the face of increasingly complex challenges, organizations are recognizing that, impact of their efforts can be scaled by collaborating, instead of competing, with complementary organizations.
As a community builder, my work is increasingly focused on the development and maximization of multi-partner networks and organizational capacity building. I am often called on to facilitate tense situations to help organizations and partner networks find common ground and maximize opportunities to leverage the activities and efforts of individuals organizations for the greater good of the eco-system.
As you can imagine, talking through the theory behind this can get a little dry.
That’s why I have started to employ the use of VOLTRON – a 1980’s children’s cartoon about a force of space crime fighting robot lions with a jazzy theme song – to illustrate the awesome potential for organizations thinking about engaging in a networked eco-system approach.
The VOLTRON Force is made up of 5 robot lions who fight space crime. Each lion is an autonomous unit with its own unique character and particular skill set and expertise. Each individual lion can tackle small to medium size challenges on their own.
Every episode, a super evil bad guy comes along that requires all the lions to collaborate to overcome a complex challenge. When this happens, each individual has a predetermined process to slot seamlessly into the infrastructure of the larger unit to form VOLTRON. Each individual forms a critical piece of the larger whole, maximizing their efforts as a single networked lion fisted entity – stronger than the sum of its parts.
By establishing backbone infrastructure and protocols for collaboration, and nurturing trusting relationships, organizations can continue to operate as autonomous service providers, maintaining a unique identity, while leveraging a larger eco-system of skills, support, resources and profile.
Fostering these networks takes time, trust, shared commitment and boundless enthusiasm. It’s important to get people excited about the process and the potential, so that when they hit the inevitable road blocks and the friction inherent in collaborating with multiple stakeholders, they can see past the immediate challenges, towards the rewards in the future.
1980′s synthesizer and lighting breathing lion-fisted robots are just what we need to get people excited!
Examples of Crime Fighting Collaboratives:
Examples of Networked Eco-Systems and Organizational Collaboratives: