The best things I have done in my life – and not just children and family – have involved collaboration.
Looking back, I don’t see these about working with equals but my betters – working with Ann on the campaign Jubilee 2000, Agnes on our book Consumer Kids, Philip at the National Consumer Council, Simon, David and all at New Economics Foundation – these are amazing people, stars no less and conjurers of magic beyond my wit.
It was great then to skype talk to Rachel Botsman in Australia whose book and work is about collaborative action, particularly online. Remarkably, her publishers seem to have encouraged her to exclude co-ops from her book, but we soon found 101 connections.
Rachel is a wonderfully innovative and entrepreneurial voice, and she hopes to develop a collaborative movement worldwide and where better, to my view, than alongside the ethics and practise of a wider co-operative sector? I hope we can work together.
So what, if anything, have I learned about collaboration from those I have worked with?
1. The best collaborations I find are based on difference. Ignorance is a great start. Not knowing is a better motive for working together than knowing the same things.
2. Confidence is not about safety but about being willing to take risks.