A new model: Collaborative Man® a social technology seen from the personal sphere

Posted on May 7, 2010


I’ve developed a new model during my effort to explain the substance of Collaborative Man®. In the following I’ve tried in short to frame each of the elements visualized in the model. The presented model is focused on how a person could view the technology – what does it take to become a collaborative man?

Collaborative Man® is a social technology with an overall message: “We can only understand together”. Beneath this message are four main positions, that can be regarded as personal views. Further the technology comprises a position about the understanding of modern learning praxis and a position that holds an understanding of collaborative work. The term ‘social technology‘ focuses on relations between persons in a systematic way, where the system comprises different ways to think on how to mentally approach collaborative work situations. As an example of another social technology I can suggest ‘Theory-U’ by C. Otto Scharmer.

In the following text I will very briefly run through the different elements (positions) of Collaborative Man® presented in the model.

1. I am only a position: This view is in part developed from the social constructionist (social-C) theory.  The “truth is negotiated in the relations between people” and “what I say is only right to me”. The latter due to genetics, experience through life (childhood etc.) – informal and formal knowledge, abilities and personal views in conjunction with the influence from endless numbers of experienced contexts. This complex of unique experience shapes every persons way of perceiving – thus producing unique experiences. Everything is relative – nothing is absolute (only to your self) – and everything can be regarded as being dependent on the specific context.

2. I can learn from all (…living creatures…): vs the opposite view: I know the rights and wrongs – I am right. You could bring forward the theory ‘Punctuation’ from learning psychology as a way of giving perspective to the position. Further subjects as trust, power of difference and appreciative inquiry, including the first position (1.) should be involved when explaining this no. 2 position.

3. I can only understand with others: This position is based on the three main positions in Collaborative Man®: 1) massive connections, 2) extreme amounts of data and 3) short-lived data + the two first positions (1. and 2.) as precondition views. This position is also the overall message in Collaborative Man®.

4. The potential in questions: This position shall be seen from a development point of view confronting “the statement” – this is how it is! Questions open doors in the human mind. The questioning approach can be conducted as the coaching asking approach with four different time aspects.

5. Listen – think – speak: One of the most simple and modern learning models comprising a practical approach. The model holds social, personal and cognitive learning theories. I developed the model as part of the work with Collaborative Man®. The understanding and competence to take part in collaborative work also has its offspring in this position. To support the understanding of the position you could present Humberto Maturanas og Niklas Luhmans use of the biological term ‘autopoiesis (self-creation) – as an image of the person who decide what to think. This image plus the latest brain research, that has proved that persons are influenced emotional by our surrounding relations. Finally an explanation on the “three” – listen, think and speak and their importance to learning processes.

6. Collaborative work: vs Cooperative work. The understanding of collaborative work is among others supported by the above presented four views (1. – 4.) and the learning process (5.). The competence to take part in or support collaborative work is crucial to become Collaborative Man®. Area of use: Development (mainly) and problem-solving. A collaborative work process should be supported by an agent.

For further understanding you may consider the fluent/firm perspective: A decision shall be taken at some point => discuss collaboratively what must be firm and fluent => define space and time where fluent and firm shall be handled => work => summarize => conclude collaboratively => some has to make compromises. Plan on 60-70 % solutions – the surrounding tempo predicts faster solutions. 60-70 % in the planing phase – and in the running phase we will learn the final 30-40 % in accordance with the relevant context. In any case we will first know what is “really” needed when the plan collide with reality (context). If we work collaboratively.

Collaborative Man®